It isn't the big things that get you it's the small unexpected things. Here it is five years down the road and I can still be brought to tears by an unexpected event. For the last several days I have been preparing for Wendy's graduation from PIMA medical in phlebotomy. It never dawned on me how I would actually feel to see everybody in cap and gown this evening.
We began the evening by going to Peter Piper Pizza, a regular hang out in the past for our family. Lots of parties and special events had taken place in the one by our home. (It closed about a year ago so we went to a different location) But of course I was flooded with a ton of memories as I walked in the door but that wasn't what got to me tonight. I did just fine for dinner and as we headed to Gilbert high school for the graduation. When we pulled into the parking lot I began to see some of the graduates in their caps and gowns and my heart began to hurt. We were supposed to get the happy ending! Heather was supposed to graduate from PIMA in October 2009 in medical coding and billing! Heather was supposed to have the cords for perfect attendance and highest honors! This was so not fair.
I kept my composure together as I walk in the parking lot
and saw more of the graduates. At that moment in time I was so flooded with
memories of Heather I could barely breathe or think. My mind was racing to how
happy she was to have been enrolled in PIMA, how she wanted perfect attendance and
to graduate with the highest honors. I also remembered the night that she died
how every classmate in her class came to her ICU room to say goodbye as well as three of her teachers.
Graduation began normal just like any other one until they
got to the point where they did the memorial for the massage student that got
killed last year. It was an accident in which an elderly lady hit the gas
instead of the break and drove through the wall of the PIMA massage school
killing the student. The staff had taken a cap and gown, the pins, the
cords and a certificate bearing the students name and put them in a framed
shadowbox and presented it as a gift to the mother. My heart began to hurt as I
did not have a cap and gown or cords or certificate with Heather's name on it
from PIMA and I began to feel the sting of knowing that I might not ever have
|gifts for pretty girls|
|The ring with Snooks photo bombing|
Graduation ended and I couldn't decide if I should write a letter or if I should actually go up and talk to the president myself. I tried to reason in my head that it really didn't matter and I should just let it go but to me Heather's mother it did matter. I wanted to see her in her cap and gown! I wanted to see her walk across the stage and receive her certificate! We had not been invited when Heather's class graduated and there was no mention of Heather which meant she was forgotten and that is every mother’s nightmare. I finally decided I would go up and talk to the president and just explained him how hard graduation has been for me to sit there and watch someone else's child be remembered when mine was forgotten. He was very moved by my story and I gave him my phone number and email, but wasn't really sure if I would hear from him again. When I checked my email tonight I had a very lovely email from Mr. Luebke telling me he was going to make things right and honor Heather. I just cried when I read these words. She wasn't forgotten after all and I would get her cap and gown, pins, cords and certificate.
I could think of nothing better to give Wendy as a gift for her graduation from PIMA than the blue topaz stone from a pair of earrings that Heather wore to the ball. (The earrings were a gift to Heather from Harry and I could not keep them but thought it would be a lovely way for the girls to have her birthstone and something that belongs to Heather.) I chose a setting from the Shane Co that had black, rose and white gold to have the stone set into. In a way it would be a gift from Heather as well since the earrings belong to her. I am very proud of Wendy for her accomplishments at PIMA, she graduated with honors and with perfect attendance, and she also did it to give back to the medical community that help to try and save her sister that she loves so much.
|The ring made from Heather's earring|
Honestly to me tonight was more emotional than the fifth anniversary of Heather's death. I have learned in this journey that it isn't the big days that you expect to be the hard ones, it's life's little unexpected moments that can send you crying and falling to your knees. Something as simple as a graduation brought back a lot of memories and may actually give me a gift that I wanted but thought would never happen.