The Hardest Days
I will admit that I am not doing well. The past few weeks have been incredibly difficult but I wanted to share with you some of the things that have been happening and how we were able to celebrate our girl for her birthday. Having to be here on the day when she should have turned "two numbers" which she had been so excited about last year has been a new and special kind of pain....one that I can't believe that I am living with. I feel most days as though my heart has been shattered into pieces and that the strings that continue to connect it are those who have been here are in my sacred space with me. There is just no way to explain the profound impact of loss that is felt when you lose a child, if you have not been there. No amount of empathy can explain that.
When I saw this photograph, I was stopped in my tracks. My mom shared it and it made such an impact for me because I thought that I had lost all of the photos from the day of her 9th birthday and her party. This photo is from the last birthday treat that I will ever bake for my girl and shows just how beautiful and happy she is. I miss her so much that this photo reminded me of the amazing life that I used to have when she was with me.
This year her birthday looked very different.
I had a seat saved for her and she joined us in her urn on the table. I missed taking a photograph after she had joined us. We were very lucky that we got to spend her birthday with some amazing people. Not only were Shane, Althea, Huxley and I present but we also had my mom and dad, my grandma, three of her four best friends, their moms, my best friend and her fiancé, and my brother present. It was so nice to have so many people care enough about our girl enough to be there and be present for her day.
We celebrated by shooting off ten pink cannons. This was great as it was a fun way to celebrate our love for Adeline and to do something to physically acknowledge her birthday. We also had yard signs from Berry Creative Yard Signs, LLC. If you are in the Peoria, IL or surrounding area, please check out this company and their amazing owner Ashley for your yard sign needs.
After shooting off the cannons, there was rock painting and a few friends and family offered us some beautiful gifts. First I want to acknowledge those who were present in this video. Shelly (Leah's mom) generously video taped it for me. Then you will see Uncle Tyler (my brother), Huxley, Althea, Jo, Cari, Jamie, Sofi, Leah, grandma Rara (my mom), Papa Paul (my dad), Holly, Delaynee, Grandma Dot (my grandma), me, and Shane. I am so thankful that each one of these people took time out of their day to spend time with us and to celebrate our girl that morning. We had to get together early and some drove an hour to be there with us.
I awoke the morning of her birthday to this adorable cake that was posted with pictures of Adeline and her bestie Leah. Leah celebrated Adeline's birthday by making her a cake.
The kids and some of the adults made additional rocks for our rock garden.
Earlier in the year during Dr. Seuss week, Sofi and Leah were Thing 1 and Thing 2. Adeline had been Thing 2 with Sofi being Thing 1 the year before. Sofi and her mom brought me this awesome t-shirt to let me know that Adeline will always be a part of the girls' lives.
The back of all three of the shirts was dedicated to Adeline with this beautiful angel wing design.
Cari and Jo brought us this beautiful sign. Isn't it the best?
My friend Daneen left this beautiful unicorn necklace for me at the door while we were gone later in the afternoon.
My friend Holly's mom (Adeline's friend Delaynee's grandma), Kathy gifted us this beautiful ornament. I will admit that it is too beautiful to be put away each year so it is going to get a special space on her wall.
My aunt, Shirley, gifted us with this cute little shadow box that lights up.....and this adorable unicorn ornament (that we have instead placed inside of her rock garden where we keep small unicorns).
It was so thoughtful of those who were not at her birthday events to still think about our girl. I couldn't handle a big event for her birthday this year so it was just her closest friends and mine and then her grandparents that live in IL and uncle.
My childhood best friend Jean and her mom Julie gifted me this adorable unicorn.
Her day was perfect for what it was. We were also gifted very generously with a reading from a medium from my friend Lynne where we got questions answered and were able to feel a little peace of mind with the way that events unfolded. There were certainly some odd things that happened and some things that really showed the connection to our girl.
We also decided the on her birthday we would decorate our house for the holidays. This was something that we can do as a family. Our new elf came out as well. She was a tiny dancer on this first night thanks to the generosity of my friend Ashley who sent my kids a great box of elf goodies to help our elf come up with the right ways to play.
As luck would have it, The Nutcracker fell on the day before and the day of Adeline's birthday. Being in the building was a challenge for me but I was there and present with Althea...even volunteering but staying out of certain areas where the memories of my girl flooded me so quickly. The first night, I walked in late and the littles were dressed in the same mouse costumes that Adeline wore. I started tearing up and knew that it was going to be a rough night helping. I happened to walk into a room when they were getting the littles ready in the angel costumes that Adeline wore and I started sobbing. I am pretty sure that at least 4 and possibly 6 other moms cried with me. The heartbreak that I felt remembering that just two years ago I was there with my girl and she was so excited to perform with a professional ballet for the first time.
That being said, Althea did a wonderful job and danced her parts beautifully.
I am so proud of her resilience and her love of dance. I am proud that she was able to make it through these two days dancing when I know that dancing on her sister's birthday without her had to be incredibly challenging.
I am also thankful for all of the friends and family that went to watch her dance. On Saturday Shane, Huxley and I went to the afternoon performance along with Pastor Sue, Kaciyah and Annette. Then for the evening performance I was able to attend again (this time in a front row seat) along with my parents, grandma, and uncle Tyler. On Sunday Leah (Adeline's BFF) and Shelly, my aunt Shirley, friend Patrice who brought her mom and her granddaughter Mae, friend Daneen and her two daughters Nataleigh and Roxanne all came to see her.I am so thankful that she has a strong network and that my tribe is willing to help out when I am not able to be at something. I truly feel blessed even in the darkness because I have so many wonderful people in our lives.
I am so thankful that so many showed up for my girl and made her feel so loved. This was from The Nutcracker in 2019. (Due to the COVID-19 virus there was no Nutcracker in 2020).
Althea even had some special dance friends bring her a gift to let her know that they were thinking about her and that they wanted her to know that they were acknowledging Adeline's birthday. This was one of the kindest gestures that I have seen for my children.
Finally, we were able to sponsor an advertisement in the Nutcracker program in memory of our girl.
Quick Thanksgiving Week Recap
Thanksgiving was busy and I got to host for the first time. Don't worry I am not going to bore you with all of the details. The Friday after thanksgiving we hired a photographer, mainly because I wanted pictures of the kids with their grandparents.
This family picture is great and we even incorporated our girl into it.
When I saw this gem, I sobbed. We are smiling and there is so much happiness and joy and I just think that this is such a beautiful and fun moment that the photographer was able to catch. The only downside is that our girl is not here with us. That being said, I went through all of the phases and felt a little anxiety at the fact that we look so happy during such a difficult time in our lives. Then I realized that Adeline would want to see us happy. A child that was so full of joy would want us to radiate the happiness that she had.
Health and Wellness
Yesterday I had a CT scan for some lung nodules that were then exposed to the fire. I have had a persistent cough since our fire and have experienced some chest discomfort and pain. I noticed when I saw the lab reports that it looks as though my blood pressure is really high when it is typically really low. I had to think about the past few weeks of hell that I have been put through and know that for my health I really do have to just let things go.
I have an aunt who has consistently been putting me through unnecessary hell since the fire. She has put her nose into things and changed things that I would have wanted. I was generously offered a paint class with some friends for instance and their initial thing was to paint a unicorn which I would have loved and I would have still had hanging on my wall. My aunt told them that I wouldn't want a unicorn and to change it. Now I have a cute bunny painting, but it is not hanging anywhere because I don't really like bunnies. I am so thankful that they thought of me but had my aunt stayed out of it I would have been happier.
I was initially going to plan two celebrations of life. My aunt called me saying my cousin was crying two months after I had talked with this cousin. So, I changed to one celebration of life and then my aunt canceled coming and so did my cousin who told me that she didn't know why I would want to have a celebration of life...she chose to do all of this on the 7 month anniversary of Adeline's passing.
I was again presented with hell from my aunt's other daughter who was sent a screen shot of a post of mine on Facebook. Someone was obviously spying for her which makes me sick to my stomach. She started a bunch of drama with my uncle who canceled going to Texas with us for the holiday as I was accused of something I did not do. When you read my post, it absolutely does not say what I was accused of saying. Then my aunt refused to give me back the unicorn that she has that was made out of Adeline's hoodie. She has literally not wanted to do anything but cause me hell and all because for some reason she seems hell bent on making my life harder. I have to let all of this go for my health and well being, but I am still furious that she is refusing to give back the unicorn as Adeline obviously did not mean to her what I thought she did when I gifted it to her.