Friday, February 27, 2009

time to plan

It's the time of year that I am now planning two birthday parties; two very different birthday parties. Our beautiful little rainbow baby has blessed our lives here for nearly a year and a year and 12 days before his birth, we held his big sister in our arms.

Though this season brings tears and memories, I love it. I love the "excuse" to mention her name and use her image or beautiful words to mark her memory. I love getting together with family and friends to release balloons and messages to Heaven. Though I think I'll forever underestimate how emotional the balloon releases are, I love them. The significance and how very lucky we are for the constant reminder that so many other love her, remember and have her etched in their hearts. Her legacy continues.

Today, I will begin the invitations to her birthday party. I'm not going to use the painting of her because so many have not seen it yet. It's still a very private thing to share. I will spend hours choosing the right words, the right verse or poem to commemorate her day. I think this year, we're going to ask the others celebrating with us to write a little note to her or about her before the balloons are released. I'd like a photo of each writing to keep in her memory album. I need to decide what I'd like to put in the newspaper this year in her memory and if I'd like it for her angel day, birthday or both.

Two weeks after her birthday will be her baby brother's first birthday and though she won't be helping him open his presents, she will very much be with us.

"God gave us memory so that we may have roses in December" rectoral address May 3, 1922 St Andrew's University Scotland

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

a little stranger

A long weekend away took myself and my boys to a Children's Museum this past Saturday. We had a lovely day, played and learned, enjoyed the crowds of other excited children. My oldest son's favorite was the train exhibit. We had to check it out 3 or 4 times. One of the last times we were there, he made friends with a little blonde girl, probably just under 2 ***sigh*** A blonde bob with dark eyebrows, just maybe she looked a little like our girl would've at this age. Bittersweet to see Boston and what might've been, but seeing it with the comfort of our sweet rainbow boy eases the blow a bit. Not a day goes by that we don't think of, miss and love our sweet girl. One day, baby, we'll be back to you.

"How can life feel so alive
and still feel like dying" Mason Jennings

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

it still takes my breath away

The names we've chosen for our children aren't the most common names so when I do hear them, it really catches my attention, even with my living children. When we chose Keely's name, we knew there would be other Keelys because we chose it to honor my sisters. I love her name and, of course, can never picture her with any other name and certainly it should be hers alone ;)

I have begun to look around for birthday party decorations for my rainbow boy (hard to believe this time last year he was still residing in my belly!). Upon a quick internet search for birthday party favors, there it is... My breath catches immediately upon seeing it... her name. her name. How dare someone else wear her name? How dare someone else have a birthday, wearing her name? I can't help but look. A sweet little girl named Keely, celebrating her 4th birthday. Suddenly, the jealousy and hurt at a stranger choosing her name melts away. That's not my Keely. I'm glad for those people who get to celebrate the birthday of their little Keely at a party, not a cemetary. A little jealous? Maybe, but it quickly fades. I don't want someone else's Keely or someone else's girl. I want mine and that isn't in the cards in this lifetime. So here I sit, very blessed in this life nonetheless but missing my girl and thankful for my boys all at once. It's very possible, though I'm not sure how those who haven't said goodbye to their children too soon could understand. I don't think I could've.

And so, like many of my posts, the rambling has begun and the point probably lost but I feel better having said her name. And, thank you, to the strangers and friends that take the time to read her name, think of her name or think of her, keeping her very much alive.


"Keely Aimee, I'm sure you dreamed you'd do far greater things

But, Keely, I wish you wouldn't dwell on what could and couldn't be

I know how dreams can let you down

I've had some rude awakenings

But Keely, I still go back to sleep

In the dead of night you spring to life for me"

Keely Aimee, The Good Life

Saturday, February 14, 2009

quotes I love

"just one step, I beg you please
just one more step, my knees are weak
my heart is sturdy but it needs you to survive,
my heart is sturdy but it needs you"

Dashboard Confessional

easter dresses

We decided to start shopping around a bit for Easter outfits for the boys today. Going into the mall, I knew what emotions the dresses would bring out. In the week after Keely's death but before her birth, we had Easter. She was still with us physically but she was soaring already. We celebrated, mourned and prepared for her birth and burial...and the Easter Bunny. She never got to wear the frills of easter or a matching hat. She never ran out of her sparkly shoes, diving for an egg but those dresses, hats and shoes remind me of her and that she never did those things.

Only in my mind, I pick out which one I would've chosen for her this year and think of the size she might be. How much might she understand now? Would she be afraid to sit on the Easter Bunny's lap for a photo or brave beside her brothers? There is a pink, ballerina style dress with tiny delicate ruffles that would've been the one this year. Her wisps of white hair may've been long enough for pigtails.

My heart is filled with love and blessings. My two beautiful boys and husband light up my life but the part of my heart that belongs to Keely aches for her and I miss her so terribly. 2 years later, the wonders continue and on they will.

I won't buy the pink dress. There will be 1 empty space on the Easter Bunny's lap. But, we will visit her grave and leave a bunny or an egg, her brothers are in charge of that. We will miss her, but love her more and appreciate the presence of each other more. Easter, this year, falls the day after her birthday so her baloons should still be there with the flowers still fresh. And her basket will be full as is my heart. If only for my arms...

"The pain passes, but the beauty remains." Pierre Auguste Renoir

Thursday, February 12, 2009

for you, baby girl

In loving memory of Keely Rae, I've completed my first "Angel in Oil" painting. I decided to use my profession as an oil portrait artist to honor the memory of my little girl and the memories of her angel friends by doing free portraits for their heartbroken families.

How blessed I am to be a part of the lives of these angels.

I have also been honored since June 2007 to be a photographer and area coordinator for Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep infant bereavement photography; also in Keely's name. Because we know, all too well how important those photos are...


Wednesday, February 11, 2009


The end of winter, with a few frigid days followed by warmth takes me back to 2007. The day she died, I was in the doctor's office in jeans and a sleeveless shirt with my hair tied up in a bandana. It was warm and the sun was bright. Just before we knew there was a problem, the dr was teasing me about need new jeans (I was using the old rubber band trick). The day she was born, it was freezing. I didn't bring a jacket to the hospital; I didn't care about the cold. The day we came home from the hospital, it was terribly windy and very chilly. I can remember the wind blowing the car door hard as we tried to load up our things. I remember being wheeled out, empty armed, to wait for Sam to bring the car around. On the way out, there was a new mother. We had both just given birth and were going home but the home she was facing was much different than mine. I will never forget her face. She watched me go out, probably wondering why I looked the way I did, why I didn't need a carseat. I wanted so desperately to tell her. I wanted her to know Keely's name.

The day of the funeral started out chilly and got even colder as the day rolled along. The one time the sun was shining was after the funeral, on the way to internment at the cemetary. Sam was carrying her tiny casket out, I was behind him carrying Boston as he slept and the sun crept through the window. By the time we got to the cemetary, there was a light mist and a cloudy sky. It was very cold, especially for April 14th. I remember worrying that her flowers or ribbons would blow away.

And so, the days of in between, when you aren't sure what to expect of spring will always remind me of my girl and the days we said goodbye. Her days are creeping up to us again. How did 2 years pass us by? In the midst of remembering, we will celebrate and in the midst of celebrating, we will remember.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

my walk to see Kee

2 inches of ice and 14 inches of snow tried its best to keep me from Keely's grave. She is laid to rest on the back side of the cemetary, just on the other side of a tall hill. It was 3 degrees yesterday morning so we took Nana with us, knowing the boys couldn't get out in that cold. Unfortunately (though not surprisingly) no plow had touched the roads and the gates were still closed. I left the car running with my precious boys and my mom in there and began the trek over the hill. The wind was brutal and my feet rarely broke the ice beneath. Very dramatic sounding, eh? It was beautiful. Despite the cold, the sun was shining brightly and the snow absolutely glistened on my walk up. As soon as I made an impression on the snow, it was as quickly gone with the wind. From the time I stepped out of the car, I could hear her chimes. Such a nice sound to chase. I made it up to my girl and found her little angel statue completely submerged in ice and snow in a hard block. I dusted snow off of the garland and untangled her windchimes, though I'm sure they were just as tangled by the time I got back to the car. I had a peaceful moment, just me and my Keely, said a prayer, gave her kisses and made my way back to the car. Only the bunnies had been to see her; I could see their tracks in the ice. But she is with us, even when we can't brave the weather.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Her Name

We chose Keely Rae's name in honor of my 2 sisters (Stephanie Rae and Erin Keely) and for it's beauty.

The meaning of the name Keely is "Beautiful".
The origin of the name Keely is Irish.

The meaning of the name Rae is Diminutive Form Of Rachel Or Raymond (counsel protection)
The origin of the name Rae is English

Perfect for our Irish/English beauty