Tuesday, July 31, 2007
I woke up this morning feeling exhausted and ill. I had been up late last night and then up three times in the middle of the night with Miss Lily. I'm not sure what is going on as she used to be the best sleeper. My thoughts are she is afraid Brien and I are going to go away like Hannah did and she wakes up to check on us and make sure we are still around.
Every morning I wake up to the knowledge I'll be living another day without the Monkey around. There are so many things I miss already. I miss her Minnie Mouse on helium voice talking and singing in the car. I miss her made up songs and her silly made up languages. I miss holding her hand and snuggling with her in her bed at night. I miss "Ooo, ah, nosey nosey nosy" as we bunny kissed each other good night. I miss her infectious smile and giggle. I just miss her.
This morning Lily and I left the house to check out a potential daycare center. I was anxious being separated from Brien for that amount of time and about driving with only Lily in the car. Oddly enough, as we were driving down the road, Lily began very excitedly pointing at Hannah's seat calling out, "Na-nuh, Na-nuh! Gunky Na-Nuh!" which loosely translated means, "Hannah, Hannah! Monkey Hannah!". I can't help but wonder if maybe Lily was seeing Hannah with eyes grown-ups don't have. I confess to being comforted with thoughts of Hannah visiting Lily in that way.
I had a rough moment when I stopped for gas. Hannah and I would always make faces at each other through the windows as I pumped gas. I would peek through the window and we would laugh and laugh at each other. Lily plays it with me, but of course, it's not the same, and I don't expect it to be.
The daycare center was fantastic, but almost $70/week more than we have been paying, which is a little steep. Yikes! However, the visit was quite pleasant, meeting up with Dani and my friend Windy and her two sons, Grant and Mason. Lily took an instant shine to Grant and apparently the feeling was mutual. :o) Grant carried Lil around all day and when he wasn't carrying her, she was following him around like a puppy dog. It was so sweet!
Lil and I even went out to lunch with the Nichols and Dani and then later, Dani and I ran some errands. The trip to Ukrop's was much more difficult than I anticipated. I walked in and was immediately assailed by memories of Hannah. But, who am I kidding, Hannah is everywhere. I ran into one of Hannah's short stay nurses while there and she and I had a lovely talk. It turns out they want to not only hang Hannah's drawing in the short stay area, they want to hang a photo of Hannah as well! I'm so touched that she had that great an impact on so many!
Meanwhile, this is a frog we discovered hiding behind the back splash on the pond. Can you see him? Hannah would delight in telling you all about camouflage and how it was working with this fancy guy. :o)
Finally, here is our little buddy resting his legs on the step while he hangs out. This evening I caught him on a lily pad. :o)
Speaking of lily pads, I find I remember the oddest things. The other day Hannah asked for fried bologna for lunch. As it was cooking she looked in the frying pan and said, "Mommy, you're making me lily pads for lunch!" She was extremely tickled at the thought. :o)
Things I've learned today:
1. I can survive being separated from Brien.
2. Brien doesn't need me hovering around him.
3. When I cry, it helps me feel better for the rest of the day.
4. Humanity is not as awful as I thought--the number of love, prayers and more I receive daily continue to amaze me. And, you wouldn't believe all the wonderful packages that continue to arrive! I'm loved and my baby was loved. I'm touched.
5. I crossed the grocery store milestone today and survived it.
6. It really is just a matter of taking it one step at a time, one hour at a time, one day at a time--I felt much better today than yesterday.
7. I worry I am still in denial about Hannah's death and that that means it's only going to continue to get harder and harder every day and that scares me no end.
8. Lily is an absolute pistol who will be keeping me running for years to come. ;oP
9. Journaling my feelings and thoughts is one of the main ways I am keeping myself focused and grounded.
10. I need to go to bed when I feel tired and listen to what my body is trying to tell me.
And with number ten in mind, I'm off to bed with prayers for another peaceful day tomorrow.
P.S. Thank you Tiburon for the new header. I just LOVE it!! Isn't it wonderful?
Monday, July 30, 2007
Dani, her mom and dad, and her Aunt Nini and her family all purchased flowers for Hannah's flower bed. Dani and her mom, Claire, visited a local nursery and Dani arrived with a slew of flowers. We now have seven lilies of differing varieties, balloon flowers, a mandavilla, verbena and more!
Lily worked very hard on planting the flowers, digging in the soil and placing any rocks she found in the bucket.
It was stifling hot today and exceedingly humid as a result of some early morning thunderstorms. We had extremely violent storms with thunder so rumbly it shook the entire house and set off car alarms. There was also torrential rain which flooded the backyard and parts of Brien's workshop. I'm not sure which was worse, the two hours of booming or the fact my arms ached to have Hannah in them as she would have been so terrified of the storms and I longed to comfort her as I always have before, snuggling with her under the covers and covering her ears with my hands. It was a horrible way to wake up. But, for a brief moment I was glad she wasn't here so she didn't have to suffer through the storms with us.
Pop very kindly assisted Lil in her planting, digging holes and putting the plants in the ground. He was such a trooper given the temperatures and humidity we have been saddled with the past few days.
By the time she was finished, Lily was a filthy mess! She had so much fun digging in the dirt I didn't have the heart to stop her to keep her from getting dirty. These soiled piggies are only a small portion of the ragamuffin we call Lily. :o)
Here you can see the end results from one angle.
And here's the other angle. The great thing about perennials is they come back every year! This garden is going to be so delightful next year when the flowers sprout and spread! The bee balm and miniature gardenia should be draws for butterflies. I look forward to seeing them visit next spring and summer. Additionally, Dani and Claire were careful to try and purchase plants that should bloom throughout the summer. Yay!
To Dani, Claire, Al, Nini and her family, I say, Thank you!! Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
Here's Brien's little workshop with the gate around the frog pond and Hannah's flower bed.
Here's a slightly different view. I know Hannah would be irritated with the fence as it would keep her from getting into the pond to conduct her "experiments" and from "cleaning" out the dead leaves and debris. On the other hand, she would LOVE the flower garden! :o)
Lily keeps searching for Hannah and begging to go outside to find her. At night she insists on saying goodnight to her sister. I'm happy she hasn't forgotten Hannah and yet, it is very difficult for me. I know women survive this. I know this for a fact as I have spoken with my cousin Rita who lost her little girl when she was two, and with Grandma, who lost Uncle Johnny when he was 14. I have had contact with many mothers who have lost their children and they too have survived. My question is, HOW??
How in the world can someone bear this much pain and anxiety? I know I'm doing fairly well, yet, I can't look past tomorrow. I can't think of the future without having massive anxiety attacks and feeling completely overwhelmed at the thought of a future without Han. For me it's like standing on the edge of a cliff and looking down and knowing if I fall it will kill me. The thought of life without Hannah scares me to death!
I find myself automatically doing things I have always done to keep Hannah safe. I threw my arm out as we were getting ready to enter a parking lot from a store, to keep Hannah behind me and to hold her hand.
In Staples this afternoon, I found myself looking at small containers of office supplies thinking how much Hannah would have loved them. Brien did the same with a digital camera he was looking at this evening.
In short, Hannah is everywhere, and while in some ways this is a comfort, it is also very overwhelming. I pray we get to a place where this is no longer a problem and that memories are only vaguely bittersweet and not overwhelmingly painful.
Lily is helping me through this time so very much. I am eternally grateful to have her and Brien to focus my energy on and give me a sense of purpose.
And now, as I'm so very tired this evening, I'm off to bed where I will be serenaded by the frogs and toads. Keep your fingers crossed there are no storms this evening!!
*Don't miss all the froggy pictures below!! :o)
This first picture is for Woli to show her how beautiful the water lily she purchased is. It is a very lovely peachy color and bloomed magnificently!
Now, the true purchase of this post. We have frogs--everywhere!! With the new fence around the pond, Holly's hunting grounds have been closed and the frogs and tadpoles are rejoicing. :o)
In the picture above, there is a little green frog against the bricks to the left of the lily. This little green frog has become quite bold in the past few days, sunning himself on the lily pads and resting in the shade of the bricks. Some days we will see him in the water with only his eyes and nose poking out. He is quite sweet and makes me smile every time I see him. In fact, I find myself scanning the water for him the minute I reach the pond!
This evening as we were walking Nana and Pop out, we discovered green tree frogs--EVERYWHERE! They were all over the house and we had an incredible time watching them walk from place to place. Yes, walk, not hop. Those sticky pads on their "finger tips" are pretty nifty to watch in action. :o)
Isn't this one so sweet? I wish the picture were crisper. Oh, well.
This guy was hanging out on the window so Brien ran in the house as quickly as possible to get a photo of his tummy. These little frogs really lifted my spirits this evening and left me wondering which was Hannah. :o)
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Please forgive me if this post takes a maudlin turn, I'm feeling very weepy and vulnerable this evening. My tears have been stuck for days and this evening I can't seem to turn them off.
Friday morning, Brien, Lily, Jessie, Bob, Joe, Mom, Nana, Pop, Josh, Dana, Grandma, Bill and I all set off for the Cascades. As many of you may recall, on our last visit to Blacksburg, Hannah was so excited to hike to the falls she could hardly contain herself. She found a walking stick in which Lawrence carved an "H" and notched with a tally for the hike Hannah had completed.
As you can see, after you have hiked the two miles, the view is simply stunning when you round the final bend. The breeze off the falls is a breath of fresh air and the roar fills your ears. I have to say I was very apprehensive and edgy the entire hike, partly because I was doing it without Hannah and partly in anticipation of the true purpose of our hike.
As we slowly made our way to the top (I confess to dragging my feet), Lily wanted to get out of the backpack and walk a bit. She took Hannah's walking stick from me and began to use it. It was SO sweet and she really seemed to know what to do.
In spite of ourselves we made it to the top. Lily was a wreck and was passed from person to person before she finally fell asleep in the pack on Bob's back. We all sat and rested and reflected on the peace and beauty of the moment. I will admit I was stalling but the distant thunder rumblings made me realize I needed to hurry along.
Brien and I had determined Hannah should be released over the waterfall and to accomplish that, we needed to hike the fire road to the upper falls. The trail runs along the top of the ridge here. B and I scurried along, choosing to do it on our own. There had been much rain during the previous days, leaving the ground wet and muddy with small mountain springs running across the path in many places.
About half a mile later, we reached the upper falls and they were just beautiful. They are far subtler in their beauty than the Cascades themselves, but gorgeous in their own right. B and I found a place where the water was moving swiftly towards the upper falls, a place that was dappled with sunlight despite the ominous thunder rumbles.
We said good-bye to our Monkey and Brien sprinkled her in the sunlight. As he did so, the most amazing thing happened, she began to sparkle! It was absolutely beautiful. And, as if that weren't enough, some late blooming rhododendrons dropped their blossoms into the water on her as she flowed and tumbled over the falls. It was peaceful, wonderful and beautiful.
The minute we finished watching and turned to leave, there was a HUGE boom of thunder and the skies opened up! Wow! We raced down the path to the rest of our party where we met up with Bob who had a now WIDE AWAKE Lily strapped to his back. Have I mentioned recently how much Lily does NOT enjoy getting wet?!? Bob looked at us and I said, "GO! Go as quickly as you can!!" Apparently he did, as Grandma later informed me he went running past her to the parking lot. Thank goodness for steady-footed Bob. By the time he got Lil to the car she was a teeth chattering mess. But, she didn't cry! Wow!
Meanwhile, the rest of us became drenched! I didn't mind though. The world was being washed clean and the air smelled fresh and fertile with the fecund smell of soil. I was a soaked mess and loved every minute of it. I could just see Hannah racing down the path ahead of me, twirling and laughing in the rain, demanding I inspect her fingers to see how pruney she had become. :o)
I take comfort in knowing she is with Papa and a host of other loved ones and beloved pets and I know she is having a ball. I just wish I could share it with her or that she were here to share everything with me. The absence of sound makes my house seem so HUGE and empty.
We are going to notch Hannah's walking stick every time we visit her at the Cascades. My heart is lighter knowing she is somewhere so beautiful, somewhere her heart was as well as mine and Brien's. I know she will never lose her wonder of the peace and beauty of the location and is pleased to be there for all time.
If only I didn't miss her so very much...
Lily was a DOLL today! She is such a little imp and I take such pleasure in everything she does. Oaky, that's a lie. I'm not very thrilled when she tries to tear my earrings from my ears, that does hurt a bit. ;o) In spite of that, she's such a funny and delightful little puss. She walked around with my HUGE Crocs on her feet this evening and then picked up a crayon to decorate them, a la Hannah. She was delightful this afternoon, charming the pants off all of us. She even took a bath, in the tub by herself, all without crying!!! I was stunned given Lil's extreme dislike of all things wet when not on her terms. Sticking your hand in a puddle? Not a problem. Mommy has the lid off the toilet tank to check the continuously running water? Oh yeah, hands are in. Bath? Not so much! Tonight was a lovely surprise!
Everyone has pretty much gone at this point. Joe returned to Omaha (Hi, Joe! We miss you!), Dani is staying with some friends of ours, and I practically kicked Mom and Jessie out of the house for the week, knowing B and I need to learn to stand on our own. (Mom, Jessie, I can't wait for you guys to get back here!!) Poor Lil walked around this evening calling, "Joe? Joe? Issie?? Isssssssiiieeeeeee!" trying to determine where everyone had gone.
In what has become our new routine, Lil asked to see "Hannah" this evening, requesting I open the blinds while she looks for the star she has determined is her sister. This evening she said, "Night night Na-nuh. Love you!" Wow. She has never said "love you" or anything close to it, instead choosing to blow kisses to show her love. Hannah got her first "love you" and wouldn't she be thrilled. You know, she always did say she was Lil's favorite person. ;oP
Oh, and just so you know, neither Brien nor I were deemed worthy enough for the words... :oP
Saturday, July 28, 2007
I have a few observations from the past three days:
1. Having massive amounts of time alone with my thoughts in the car was terrible. Thursday and today were very very difficult for me. My thoughts kept replaying last Thursday and I was suffused in anxiety and guilt. How could I allow this to happen to my baby? What kind of mother would let her child get far enough away from her that she could be allowed to drown? How terrified was Hannah when she realized she couldn't breathe and was she screaming in her head for me? I begin to think I am, without a doubt, the world's worst mother and my anxiety even now overwhelms me.
2. Waking up is HELL. It is a daily reminder that my sweet Monkey is not going to be running down the hall to snuggle in bed with Brien and me; that she's not here physically to be with us anymore. It sucks and I wake up every morning physically ill.
3. Milestones are a blessing and a curse. Each milestone we pass--the celebration of life, one week passed, the trip to the Cascades, our first trip to Blacksburg without Han--is an accomplishment and we are encouraged we make it through without completely falling apart. Yet, they also mean we move further along the path of the reality of life without Hannah and it is horrible. We know we are going to make it, but it's SO hard!
4. Blacksburg is a very difficult place to be without Hannah. Blacksburg is still my heaven on earth and the place nearest and dearest to my heart. I'm sure I speak for Brien when I say he feels the same. We had passed this love of the 'burg along to Hannah and without her around exclaiming over all the joys she was seeing, my heart broke.
5. A broken heart is an actual physical ache and pain. I have walked around with a huge stone in my chest for the past three days--I can FEEL it.
6. Hannah is most definitely surrounding us here in Williamsburg. I was so excited to get home because I can "feel" Hannah all around me here, if that makes sense. It is almost a physical presence. I can go in her room and smell her and see and touch all of her most favorite items and feel closer to her.
7. A four and a half hour car ride is very LONG without the Monkey around talking, playing her Leapster, making observations of everything she sees. We had a very lonely ride Thursday and today.
8. Lily is going to break my heart. She keeps walking around asking, "Na-nuh? Na-nuh? Peese, Mommy?! Peese!" We open the blinds and look for Hannah and say "Night night, Na-nuh. Night night," every evening and it just kills me. Last night at Grandma and Bill's house she was looking at something over my shoulder and kept calling for Hannah, as if she saw her. Maybe she did. She will also pick up my cell phone, which has a picture of Hannah as my wallpaper and will put it to her ear and say, "Heddo? Na-nuh? Heddo??" Oh how she misses her big sister. Every evening I tell her a story about a little girl named Hannah who loved her little sister Lily so very much and then tell her a Hannah story.
9. The kindness and generosity of both friends and new-found friends has the power to reduce one to tears. Oh my goodness, Edie was a godsend during the first few days, as was Terry. Then of course, there were Kathy, Bridget, Sarah, Cammie, Chuck and Erik. I'm uncertain what I would have done without any of them (to anyone I have forgotten and/or left out, please forgive me!). Then of course, there are my cyber-friends. They are all amazing and have come together for us, both those I know and those I have only just met. The house is filled with the most amazing fragrance of lilies and the gifts for us and for Lily in remembrance of Hannah just keep flooding in. We have received the cutest teddy bear in a monkey costume, a star named for Hannah, a frog that croaks, a DVD of Hannah, and many many other offers. Hannah has NOT been forgotten.
10. I do however worry about people forgetting. Right now, the sting of Hannah's death is so very fresh and so many are making subtle, small changes in their lives. They are taking time to look for the beauty in everyday life, they are taking moments to find their inner Diva and enjoying Fancy Hannah clothes and jewels. But, what happens when a month has passed? A year? Will Hannah's memory and legacy be lost? Will that mean her life was insignificant and has lost its importance? This is now one of my biggest fears. I want what any mother wants, to have her baby's life mean something.
11. Wearing fancy Hannah jewelry helps me feel closer to my baby. I have been wearing my Diva jewels the past few days, including some bracelets I purloined from Hannah's jewelry box. She loved to accessorize and I hope to follow in her footsteps.
12. Another day passed does NOT mean this is getting any easier. Some days are far easier than others. As with Papa, this is a very consuming grief and I worry it is only going to get deeper before it lessens. The first day of school, Hannah's birthday, the holiday season are all going to be horribly difficult and I pray for guidance to get through them all without too much anxiety and grief.
13. Finally, I don't want Lily to have to live up to Hannah's ghost; I don't want her to get lost and for all her accomplishments to be overshadowed by what Hannah did first. I'm sure Lily is going to be my saving grace and I want to enjoy her and her toddlerhood and all her quirkiness and I worry this overwhelming sadness will prevent me from doing so. But, oh, what a funny little kid she is! She had to share a room with B and me while we were in Blacksburg and she was hysterical this morning. I was awakened to, "Mommy? Mommy? Are you seeping, Mommy?? Mommy, are you seeping??" It was all I could do not to laugh! She has also added yet more words to her vocabulary and this morning, after dropping her blueberries all over the floor called out, "Oh, dear! Oh, dear!" Too funny!! :o) Then, of course, there are her "shooooes". Lily has those cute little Croclings and she will put them on by herself--9 times out of 10 on the correct feet even!--and say, "Coc coc, shoooes! Coc coc shooooooes!" :o) She just slays me some times!!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, PAUL!!!!! We sure do miss you bunches and bunches!
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
It is interesting how Lily's little personality has come out to shine within the past few days. I always knew she was a funny little kid with a wicked sense of humor but it has become so apparent the past few days. Her vocabulary has also grown by leaps and bounds the past couple of days.
I've been trying to put my finger on it, and all I can figure is Hannah was so bright and shining Lily was content to let her lead the way and do most of her talking for her. Lily still asks for Hannah (it's only been a week after all), but she seems to be doing much better.
One of Lil's new loves and passions is "bloons". We had a balloon bouquet for Hannah and brought them home and Lily has just loved playing with them. She will grab the balloon, squeeze and launch it to move it around the living room (or kitchen, or play room). The "bloons" become a problem when Ella is around because, well, she loves "bloonies" too! Lily is fine to share her cup or her food, but not her toys, and "bloons" are definitely in that category.
Ella came over yesterday and Lily immediately began hoarding all the balloons, screaming if it looked as if Ella was going to even come near her. Oh, and the snatching! Good grief!
(I can hear Lily and Lissie playing downstairs even as I type, Lily laughing and laughing and Lissie dancing her around. It's a beautiful sound. :o) )
But, back to Ella and Lily. The two of them fight like cats and dogs, and I would be hard pressed to determine who instigates more, although, my money is on Lily. She was having dinner the other evening, sitting in her booster, all buckled in and chowing down when Ella appeared, pushing Lil's baby doll stroller. Lily went ballistic! She began screaming and tantruming right there in her seat, throwing food and desperately trying to get out of her seat so she could snatch the stroller away. The child is going to be the death of us!
She has a very wicked temper and can go from placid to enraged in 0.00000001 seconds! Whew! Generally, we just step over or around her and move on. We try not to laugh because we really aren't trying to encourage more of them. ;o)
These last two pictures are of Ella and Lily having it out. Ella had this gorgeous new hat that Lily determined she NEEDED! She snatched (hm, I seem to be using that word a LOT here...) it off Ella's head and needless to say, Ella was NOT happy with that. Ella began screaming and squealing for her parents to get it back, while Lily was squealing and screaming at the top of her lungs to get her parents to intervene and give her the hat. All any of us could do at that point was laugh and take pictures. :oP
Pop, Brien, Joe and Bob put up a fence around Hannah's pond yesterday. I need to get a picture to post. It is a beautiful white picket fence that would have made Hannah VERY grumpy because she wouldn't be able to get into the pond to get into the water. *grin* But, this fence protects Lily from herself and the frogs from Holly the frog slayer. I think it was therapeutic for the men to get out and build yesterday and I'm so pleased with the results.
Brien and Joe went to get Hannah from the funeral home last night. Another milestone crossed. When they walked back into the house, there was the little green tree frog, once again peeking in the sidelight watching us all.
We are headed to Blacksburg this afternoon to hike up to the Cascades tomorrow to send Hannah over the waterfall which I KNOW she would love. When I woke this morning, "Candle in the Wind" was going through my head and I knew I had to watch Hannah's slide show. I watched and cried. I also laughed and rejoiced my Monkey was such a funny little kid and so well loved. I miss her like I never thought it was possible to miss someone and I know this trip to Blacksburg will not be easy as we had such a good time while we were last there. It will be yet another milestone to move beyond.
I look forward to surrounding myself with the peace, beauty and tranquility of the mountains Brien and I and through us, Hannah, loved.
I'll be back Saturday evening, so until then, thank you all for your continued thoughts and prayers. Maybe we'll see a frog along the way. :o)
This morning was rough. When Lil got up, Brien went in and got her and brought her in to snuggle with us for a few minutes. Typically, she is a squirmy worm, trying to get away and get into LOADS of mischief. Today, she just laid there with us and snuggled. It was fantastic, but of course, it reminded me of all the morning snuggles we had with Han. I didn't manage to eat breakfast this morning as I had no appetite and in fact felt rather ill. Instead, I sat on the couch and read all the comments on my blog which made me feel SO good! So many people making positive changes in their lives due to Monkey! I then began to check out the other blogs out there dedicated to the Monk.
Before I knew it, I was sucked in, spending far more time on the computer than I ever intended. I realized that if I'm not careful, this could become an easy escape for me and that I'll get lost in the internet. So, I'm limiting myself to the computer just two times a day for now. I'll log on in the morning, first thing, and then again in the evening before bedtime. As I've said before, I'm more than a bit of a mouse potato and this will be good for me. I found myself sitting there, morose and not quite knowing what to do with myself. What is normal anymore? My mom is a godsend, and is planning on staying here as long as we need her. On some levels I think I may need her here forever and yet, Brien and I need to make our way on our own. I told her as much this evening. As I told her, it's not unlike when Hannah was born. She was our first baby, we were scared and didn't know what to do and things were so easy when the other grown-ups were around. But, they had to leave and we had to learn how to be a family with Hannah.
Now, Hannah is gone and things are so much easier with the grown-ups around. But, they have to leave so we can learn how to be a family without Hannah. Both scenarios were/are quite terrifying, yet must be faced. Brien and I must know we can do this on our own. However, that's not to say that I want Mom to leave. I know she has things she must do at home, but I want her to come back fairly quickly as I know I'm using her as a safety net. Brien's brother Josh and his wife, Dana, arrived today and Dani, Robin, Jess, Bob and Ella, and Joe continue to be a HUGE support (oh, Mom and Dad too!). And yet, they too will need to continue living their own lives as well.
Brien, Mom, Dad and I all went around to look at all the flowers Hannah received and to determine who sent them. It was wonderful to look and to smell and to surround myself with the beauty of them. Hannah would have LOVED them, especially the two arrangements that had glittery flowers! Who knew they could make flowers glitter?!? We then decided we needed to share such a bounty with others.
We took an enormous load of flowers to both the local Hospice House and to the hospital ER, as well as to our local vet's office. Vet's office? Yes, you see, they all loved Hannah so dearly they actually closed the office yesterday so they could all attend, leaving only one person behind to answer the phones. The trip to Hospice House was lovely. B's Granny stayed there two weeks in July of 2005. The nurses there are truly angels on Earth and we wanted to share Hannah's beautiful flowers with them, as well as with the patients in the house.
While we were there, I looked into information on bereavement counseling and found Compassionate Friends. They are a support group for parents who have lost children and they meet every second Monday. Mom and Dad are already lined up to watch Lily August 13.
The second stop of the day was much harder to make. As I had written before, Hannah's stay at the hospital was wonderful due in no small part to the wonderful nursing staff. Only Hannah could make a stay in the hospital seem like a trip to the resort and these fine ladies indulged her to the MAX! We had a GORGEOUS spray of sunflowers (so so beautiful!) I wanted to share with the Short Stay nursing staff, and I had a couple of sprays I wanted to give to the ER staff as well. As we walked in, I was delighted to see Rachel, one of the nurses (and, a truly wonderful friend whom I met through Jessie, whom she met through a Mom's board--gotta LOVE the internet!) walking towards us. She walked with us to Short Stay where I got to thank Heather (a day nurse) for all she had done for Han. I was told a picture Hannah had drawn for them, which they had taped to the front of their nurses' station, was going to be framed and hung. How much would Hannah have loved that?? Rachel also wanted us to see some of the nurses who were so deeply touched by Hannah last Thursday so we had an opportunity to thank them for everything and to share a touch of Hannah's beauty with them. It felt good!
Walking back into that hospital and that ER was tough, but I'm glad I did it. I have one more milestone under my belt than I had before. I had a nice little chat with Rachel (everyone always asks how I'm doing and really, I don't know I how I'm doing) about my current state of mind and body.
My good friend Kathy called this morning to check in and told me she thinks I'm strong and that I won't crash, that this is most definitely going to be a long and arduous road for me, but that she thinks I'm going to make it through. As I was mentioning this to Rachel she said, "Kind of like a fall down the stairs, not a fall from a cliff." Yes, that exactly. I'm going to try and post some pictures and a Lily update during my morning check in, because boy do I have some stuff to share. :o)
This evening was beautiful and cool with a nice low humidity so we sat on the back deck in the dark watching the fireflies and listening to the sounds of the crickets chirruping and the frogs and toads singing. It was all so very peaceful.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
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Monday, July 23, 2007
I wish I had the time to respond to each and every one of you all. Your outpouring of love, sympathy, support, and prayers is incredible. Who knew one special little girl could touch and inspire so many?? I've read stories of butterflies, lilies and frogs. Of finding wonder in unexpected places. Of people putting on their fanciest of Hannah duds to join in a celebration of life for one absolutely amazing little girl.
As a mom, I'm greedy for my children. I want for everyone to love them as much as I do, to be inspired by them as much as I am. From all the comments I can tell so many of you have stayed to explore and get to know my sweet Monkey and have fallen under her spell. What a remarkable legacy that is.
As you all know, I was absolutely dreading today. Dreading it. We some pretty amazing things planned but who knew how it would go off, it was to be so different from any funeral ever. That, and it wasn't a funeral but a celebration. And, boy was it.
I worried no one would come in their Fancy Hannah clothes. What a waste of anxiety. I've never seen such glitz, glitter and glam. There were trails of feathers from molting feather boas leading from room to room. There were baskets of Mardi Gras beads waiting at the door for guests who arrived under dressed. There were bowers and bowers of flowers, many of them LOADED with sunflowers and lilies. And, who knew you could spray sparkles on flowers? Hannah would be so tickled!
I'm not quite sure how many people were there, let's just say it was standing room only. Someone put the estimate at 500+, but who knows. So many people touched by one small yet precocious child, coming to send her off. There were balloons, photos, a DJ (yes, a DJ!) and laughter.
I had promised myself, for Hannah, I would make it through the service without completely losing it . Amazingly enough, I didn't! There were many small children there and it was fantastic. I read "Fancy Nancy" and a couple of them came up close so they were sitting at my feet as I read so they could see the pictures. In fact, as one of the little girls was leaving, she said to me, "Thank you for inviting me to Hannah's party." Wasn't that just perfect?
I had family drive in from Blacksburg for the day (TONS of 'em). Mom had friends drive in from NC and Blacksburg for the day (again, TONS of 'em). There were so many gathered in love and fellowship I thought my heart would burst. Fred and Carol did a lovely job with the service and the best part was the butterfly release. It was the most glorious thing I have been privileged to witness in years. We had 24 butterflies and I gave them all out to family and watched in awe as they were released. They flittered and fluttered about, lighting here and there, many of them on people. Hannah would have LOVED it all!
I tried very hard to greet everyone I could, but there were just so many I'm afraid I missed quite a few. I'm so sorry for that. I did however have an opportunity to finally meet Ruhiyyih. It was so wonderful! I knew her the moment I saw her and was actually quite anxious for her to arrive. :o) I have to confess, as we were leaving, I saw her again and found her talking on the phone, and I'm afraid I very rudely interrupted her phone call to her mother, Bonita. I'm so sorry about that but it was such a pleasure to speak with her.
I know I'm very giddy right now, running on nothing but grit and exhaustion, but my spirits are so incredibly buoyed by the beauty of the day.
My friends, Chuck and Erik, put together the most most beautiful slide show of Hannah. You can access it here: http://www.westcraigenterprises.com/test/images/hannah_0003.wmv , but be sure to have tissues handy. A note, if you are using Firefox or another browser, this will only work in Internet Explorer--so sorry. You will need to copy and paste the link into IE.
Thank you all for simply everything and please continue to keep us in your thoughts and prayers because I know I'm bound to crash and burn before you know it.
P.S. This evening, as I was walking out some friends, I happened to spy the sweetest pot of daisies sitting on the castle rocks around our flowerbeds. That in and of itself is interesting and mysterious as no one seems to know where the came from. More importantly, there was a toad sitting on the sidewalk gazing up at those daisies. She's all around us, my friends, isn't she? :o)
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Today Brien and I took a walk along what we now refer to as "Hannah's Trail". Everyone else had gone to church, but B and I just weren't up to facing people. As we walked, we talked and we remembered and we mourned. I remembered the last time I walked on the trail with with my inquisitive Monkey who found wonder in simply everything. I began thinking about how much I was bound to miss now that Hannah is not around to draw my attention to those things I would otherwise miss as being unimportant.
Today, I made a pact with myself: I will take the time to find the wonder in all things, big and small. I realize that right now I'm still in an extreme state of shock and that will, my Pollyanna spirit and sheer gut determination are seeing me through. I'm honest about that. I try very hard not to think about the fact Hannah is gone. I work hard on not remembering she won't be flopping down the stairs at any moment. I'm exhausted and am eating when told to because, quite frankly, I'm just not all that hungry. In fact I spend most of my days vaguely nauseated. In spite of all this, this morning I made a promise to Hannah and to myself. I'm going to do everything I can to make Hannah proud of me. I'm going to get out of bed every morning. I'm going to shower and fix my hair and put on make-up because Hannah loved it when I made myself "beautiful". ("Are you going to blow your hair dry now, Mommy? What color eye shadow are you wearing today, Mommy? May I have some??") I'm going to get outside and move! I'm going to get out and explore and do things I should have done with Han but didn't, either due to time constraints or because I thought something more important had come along. I'm going to lose weight and be healthy because I can't live the rest of my life with the echo of Han's "I just love your big fat tummy, Mommy" lingering in my ears. :oP
(An example of another very interesting specimen discovered by Miss H that would otherwise have gone ignored by Mommy.)
I have planned so thoroughly for tomorrow. I have chosen to welcome everyone and explain our choice of celebration style and will then read "Fancy Nancy" as it seems to epitomize Han's love of all things fancy. We will end with the butterfly release and hope to have some uplifting moments in between. And, honestly, I'm an absolute wreck. Tomorrow is the day I have to formally acknowledge Hannah won't be coming in to snuggle me in the morning. Tomorrow is the day people will begin to stop coming by and visiting. Tomorrow is the day this madness, this crazy dream, will all become real and I will most likely crash. I don't want to lose this bubble of numbness I'm currently in--there's something comforting in just not feeling.
But, I'm prepared! I went shopping with Robin, Dani and Kat this evening. We made a mad dash to Tar Jay and I found two pairs of extremely fancy flip-flops, complete with sparkles and heels. I found some very sparkly jewelry and a purple boa and tiara. As we were checking out I noticed a little girl in the next line over was wearing a princess costume/outfit. I looked at her and just smiled. As the were walking past I called to the little girl, "I LOVE your outfit. You are just BEAUTIFUL!" And, she really and truly was. She looked at me and smiled and I heard her daddy whisper to her, "See, I told you." It was such a beautiful moment.
(Hannah's day lilies getting ready for their new home in Hannah's Garden.)
There was also the most divine sunset this evening. Something else I'm willing to lay at Hannah's feet. Beginning today I will take the time to look at the world through Hannah's eyes and see the beauty and joy and wonder that is all around me.
Oh, and for those wondering, I saw another frog. :o)
Once more I must tell you all how much your show of love and faith means to me and my family. Inevitably one of us will have the blog open, reading the comments again and again, gaining solace from the fact there are some many people out there who were touched by our sparkling Diva.
I don't know about Brien, but I have spent today in a mostly buffered, highly animated state. Once again, this morning was tough. Waking up is sheer, unadulterated hell because you are newly reminded Hannah is not going to be tiptoeing through the door to come snuggle down in bed with you.
We went to the Farmers' Market this morning, because, after all, it is Saturday. Hannah would have wanted it no other way. For those of you who had experienced Hannah in the flesh, you know she was a walking, breathing, miniature adult. That child could hold her own in a conversation with any adult. To that end, she found giving tours to be a great way to interact with the grown-ups in her life (whether she knew them or not! :oP).
So this morning, Mom, Terry and I were on our way to the Farmers' Market to get flowers for our special girl--ones we knew she would adore. As we were walking along I could hear a running tour speech in my head, "Over here is Seasons restaurant. How many times have we eaten there mommy? Oh, and Mommy, do you remember how I played on these stairs over here with Lily?"
Then, we reached the Farmers' Market itself and the voice became more insistent: "Mommy, do you see all those BEE YOO TEE FULL sunflowers? Could we maybe get some, please?" If I wasn't hearing her, I was surrounded by memories of her. It was a very difficult morning. I cried and cried and cried.
But, we got a bunch of sunflowers Miss Fancy Pants would LOVE.
I also found a stall selling Lissianthus and lilies. Hannah so adored those big showy lilies I just knew I had to have at least a few. We purchased two HUGE bunches of gorgeous Lissianthus and I'm unsure as to who actually did the flower arranging, but the flowers were absolutely goregous!
I'm sure Hannah would have walked home from the Farmers' Market with a smudge of pollen on her nose from sniffing this flower.
We received a number of very lovely, very simple professional flower arrangements today, but the following two meant so much more to me. My new principal, Margaret, came by this afternoon, holding a small jelly canning jar she had filled for Hannah. She told me she went through her flower garden thinking to herself, "She'll like this and I need a little of that and some of this...".
This bouquet came from the MacGregors next door. These are particularly poignant for me because they came via a young man Hannah's age, a gentle boy she had played with for a year. When we moved in and didn't really know anyone, Brock called over the fence, "Hi! I'm Brock, this is for you," giving Hannah a spray of black-eyed Susans. Brock hand picked these today to give to her.
Family and friends surrounded us for most of the day and into the evening. It is so wonderful to be so well loved, and to have a child that touched some many so deeply. Through these visitors, I've been able to escape, sort of pretend it's not real. I won't have to face the truth of it until Monday afternoon and that will be soon enough to let the pain and anguish begin to flow.
You may be wondering about the frog. Well, it's interesting really (a favorite Hannah phrase!). The night Hannah passed away, Thursday evening, Brien noticed a small, tiny really, tree frog just crooking his head to the side and looking in the house through the side light by the front door. Last night, there was a toad outside on the same side light.
This evening, this little guy was settled in with a cozy seat on one of Hannah's lily pads. Oh how excited she would have been to have witnessed this. And then, B and I started talking, three nights in a row, three frogs. Hm. Is Hannah coming to us through the frogs she loved so much? Brien seems to think so! :o)
But you know what folks, no matter how much you hurt or ache, Life is still going on and I need to remember to take the time to celebrate Lily's little joys and discoveries.
She is having a struggle with wondering where Hannah is, especially as part of her night night routine. Lily would simple BELLOW for Hannah who would come running and laughingly give Lil a huge squeeze and a Hannah sized bear hug for bed time. So this evening when she called out I reminded her Hannah is in heaven with the angels and Papa. We open the blinds so she could see where Hannah might be. Spying a super bright star, I pointed it out to Lily and told her that was Hannah's star. I closed the blinds and she insisted I open them again and she continued to look around for her big sister. She went to bed this evening snuggling with the Build-A-Bear bear Hannah created for her the week before she was born.
My heart is just BREAKING. It has shattered into millions upon millions of tiny shards and I have no idea if it will ever be fixed again. The real crux of it is, I'm so enchanted and delighted by the things Lily does that my heart feels full and happy, and then then next moment my heart is an empty, weepy mess.
And now, to show you that life does indeed go on, and to show you what I must go on living for, I present Miss Lily on her Flying trapeze!
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And, if this post made absolutely no sense, whatsoever, please forgive me. I have just taken a nerve pill and am beyond coasting on fumes. Good night everyone and god bless you all. You are all an amazing bunch. Keep those prayers and comments coming.
If you can remember a time Hannah was particularly sparkly, or if you have something that just reminds you of Hannah, please share your stories the comments. Thank you all. Thank you Thank you Thank you!!