Wednesday, April 29, 2009

the tulips again...

The petals from Keely's tulips have fallen off. Their time for the year has passed. For some reason, I hate seeing them gone. They lasted longer than I thought they would, given my lack of gardening skills. They were there for Keely's days and for that, I am thankful. I just loved looking out the back door and seeing that vibrant color. I will miss that until next spring. For now, the angel from her funeral (courtesy of some friends at church) and a garden stone from her funeral with a beautiful verse (courtesy of friend's of the family) will keep the planter full until the tulips bloom again.

"God, grant me the serenityto accept the things I cannot change;the courage to change the things I can;and the wisdom to know the difference." the stone in our planter

Thursday, April 23, 2009


I'm going to have to get used to this. It will come up for the rest of our lives. On one hand, I'm so happy to include her but I wish I could include more than her name or memory.

Filling out my oldest son's preschool application, it asks siblings to be listed along with their age.

Keely, sister, deceased.
Callum, brother, 1 year old.

deceased. It's so bizarre that word is next to my child's name. Is that something you get used to?

"One of the hardest things in life is having words in your heart that you can't utter" James Earl Jones

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Keely's balloon release

I've put off this post because it seems so emotionally taxing. That's horrible, isn't it? I always want her birthday to be a day to celebrate her life and the balloon release always brings tears. What is it about a bunch of balloons sailing off into wherever that brings out such emotion? Boston talks about them sailing to Heaven, to Keely; maybe that's it. Maybe it just feels good to be "sending" her something.
The day she was born and the day she was buried were unseasonably cold days, dark and dreary. It was that way on last years balloon release as well; coat weather. This year was different. It was a bit chilly but so sunny and bright. It was windy and the balloon sailed quickly. I passed off the camera to my sister and she took some beautiful pictures...
Keely's little brother slept through the whole thing and big brother was so proud. Boston chose the Powerpuff girls balloon; he was insistent that Keely would just love it. I think she did. Callum chose the butterfly balloon (with a little help from mama). We gave them kisses, said a prayer and sent them up to the birthday girl. We then celebrated life with a carrot cake made by mama and Boston, complete with a butterfly and sprinkles on top. Somehow, getting a picture escaped me :( But I will remember it.

Before we let them go, we all attached beautiful cards that were signed and colored by those that love our girl. We took pictures of each one to keep for her memory book. Her daddy's was kept private; just between him and his little girl. My father wrote a poem for her. Here are a few of the 25 we sent into the sky that day....


"Take to flight with angel wings,

and soar into the sky.

Your fair, sweet life was quickly gone,

to a greater call on high.

A short, sweet note in the song of life,

Earthtime you never knew.

A chorus sings of solemn peace,

way beyond the blue.

With God's grace, we'll someday see

Lights of eternal glow.

And greeting us at Heaven's gate,

the path that you will show.

To that great, loving throne on high,

where the Father waits for us,

May the circle be unbroken

for all the fair and blessed."

written with love by Keely's Poppy 04/2009

a little praise for People

A gossip magazine junkie as it is, a story on bereaved parents would certainly catch my eye. Any story on "How they're coping" in reference to bereavement (in this case, John Travolta and family) instantly puts me on the defensive because I don't like the idea that grief is being judged. I can see how one could read into that headline as "what they're doing to get by" but I read it as "how well we think they're doing" or "how well they should be doing". Doesn't make much sense, but it's a gut reaction. I skimmed the article while waiting for my turn in line and see a little box with a subject along the lines of "when will they get over it" or something of that variety. Again with the defenses, but I was pleased upon reading it that the answer was true: "never". So often articles of this variety will do a huge disservice to the bereaved community by offering a timeline. So often, others will offer up a timeline of their own so as to relieve their own discomfort at continuing grief. Kudos to People magazine for offering a little insight into the fact that grief doesn't go away, we just deal with it more privately. The small box spoke of hidden tears and it rang so true. My prayers are with every bereaved parent in the world to have to deal with the loss of your child under the glare of public eye seems hugely unfair so my thoughts and prayers are with the Travoltas as they walk this journey.

"No person is ever truly alone.
Those who live no more,
Whom we loved,
Echo still within our thoughts,
Our words, our hearts.
And what they did
And who they were
Becomes a part of all that we are,
Forever. " Richard Fife

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I miss my girl

Sometimes I just need to say that. I miss my girl.

Sometimes I just need to mention her name without a real reason. My Keely.

Sometimes I just want to tell her I love her the way I'm so blessed to be able to tell my living children. I love you, Keely. I miss you, Keely.

"love is all you need" Paul McCartney

the real reason taxes suck...

I did our taxes back in January but in honor of tax day, I thought I'd complain.

I hate filling out the dependents section.

How many children do you have? 3.

How many children do I have to SAY I have? 2.

I know it's purely technical but it drives me insane. I so badly want to put 3. I don't want to claim her as a dependent. I don't want any extra money. I just want to acknowledge her even on stupid tax forms.

Next year, I'll just hire an accountant and not have to worry about it.

Monday, April 13, 2009

tears in church

I watched the clock for the past two weeks....what was I doing this time two years ago today. As we entered church, I watched it closer. At 10:45 am on April 12, 2007, the funeral director arrived at the hospital and we had to say our goodbyes. It was at that time, two years later, that we arrive at our church service and hear/sing "Where the roses never fade".

"I am going to a city
where the streets with gold are laid
where the tree of life is blooming
and the roses never fade
Here they bloom but for a season
soon their beauty is decayed
I am going to a city
where the roses never fade
Loved ones gone to be with Jesus
in their robes of white array
now are waiting for my coming
where the roses never fade
Here they bloom but for a season
soon their beauty is decayed
I am going to a city
where the roses never fade
where the roses never fade"

It wasn't a big scene; no loud sobs. I wasn't embarrassed. Just some peaceful tears for my beautiful girl, in a Home I hope to see someday. My husband's arm around me and a kiss from each boy, I felt completely blessed. I feel Keely was there with us too. The song was to remind us where she is, how she is. Our little blessing, waiting at the gates. We would see her here on earth only one more time; at the funeral home for a final kiss and to close the casket. The single hardest thing I've ever done was close the casket.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy 2nd Birthday in Heaven, Keely Rae!

Today is the day, 2 years ago, that we held our sweet girl in our arms. The first and last time.

Two years ago right now, I was in labor. A quiet, solemn and painful labor, but not because of the contractions. At 8:55 pm, our sweet girl was born to earth, already in Heaven. How I long to hold her again. And I will, someday.

Today, we will send balloons to Heaven from your monument here on earth. We will miss you, love you, celebrate you baby. You are our girl.

A link to her birth story:

"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the number of moments that take our breath away" Anonymous

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Well, we survived the 2nd angel day. We survived, but not without a good, long cry; maybe a few. It's popular belief that the days leading up to the actual date are worse and that's proven true for me in the past (I feel like I've been doing this 20 years). I think that's why I was caught off guard when, this year, the actual date was much worse than anticipated. It's not just a sad feeling or thinking back to that day, both of which I had/did and both of which suck, to put it not so eloquently. It's an actual, physical pain. Grief is very much physical and exhausting. My stomach hurt, my arms ached, my head pounded. All day, I just wanted the date overwith but when I looked at the clock that evening at 10:45 pm, I panicked. I suddenly realized her day was almost over. Her day; one of the few days a year that I feel like I can truly show my emotions and how much it hurts to miss her and it was almost over.

The day itself was beautiful. Depsite a forecast of rain, it was 69 degrees and sunny while we took fresh flowers out to the cemetary. A dozen fresh, white roses, 4 pink mini callalilies (one from each of us) and my mom took a dozen pink tulips. As we laid them on her grave, the first butterflies of the season came fluttering by. Last year, the first butterflies we saw of the year came by to visit on her angel day. Maybe I read too much into "signs" but that's a pretty good one. I'll take it. That evening, as we returned home from the cemetary, the storm clouds rolled in and it poured rain. I found that all too appropriate. I love this house in the rain. We left the windows open and felt the wind. We spent some time going through her memory trunk and talking about those days, the little things we remember.

We were overcome with remembrances of our little girl. I was greeted on facebook with 25 messages remembering Keely and her day. It's unbelievable how much that helps, how much that means to me. We received some beautiful cards in the mail (I'll post photos soon). We have a lovely day planned for her birthday celebration. While these days are sad because they are the dates we lost her, they are her days and can't be all sad. Her life had much meaning and her lessons are still being learned. We are so lucky to have had her. We are so lucky to have our boys with us. We are so lucky.

A huge, immense thank you to everyone who remembered our girl, through a card, a prayer, an email or a thought. The love was very much felt and very much appreciated.


"Loved with a love beyond telling,Missed with a grief beyond all tears."

Thursday, April 2, 2009

2 years ago today

It's been two years ago today at 11:20 am that our sweet Keely Rae grew her wings. I will remember every moment of this day, every smell, every sound. In one split second, everything changed. One second that I will relive until my own second comes. My heart hurts, my arms ache.

People like to tell you things to make you feel better. I probably did the same thing to my friends who lost their children before I joined the club. Even with the best of intentions, there is nothing that can ease the sorrow aside from just allowing grief to happen and letting the bereaved know that you're there for them and sorry. One popular thing I've heard is that time will ease the pain. That's just not true. I told myself it would be true for a long time. While day to day life becomes more bearable, it isn't the pain easing, it's our handling of it that gets better. We get better at masking the tears in the card section at Target or better at not glancing at the pink layettes in the mall. We get better at holding back our tears but the heart hasn't mended and it won't.

Today is her day and my heart is broken. Right now, 2 years ago, I was a completely and totally different person. Two years ago right now, her heart was strong.

Mama misses and LOVES you, Keely Rae. You are my heart, my moon and stars. Watch over us. Your brothers and daddy miss and love you. We'll see you soon, baby girl; in the blink of Heaven's eye <3

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

the clock keeps ticking...

...and with each tick, the pit in my stomach grows, my heart aches a little more. One second closer to another year gone. One step farther out from having held our little girl in our arms. One more moment since her heart made a final beat. How did 2 years pass? It's a bitter pill to swallow to know that every year, for the entire rest of my life, April 2 will freeze time. I will be a little old lady, Lord willing, making my way to the cemetary to visit my girl just as I did this morning. We brought her some fresh pink azaleas from the bush out front; they still had dew on them. The sun was bright on her spot today but I can feel my heart sinking with each passing moment. Each minute until 11:20 am tomorrow will be a "last" from 2 years ago.

I had someone say to me this week, "that must've been a hard day". And a hard day it was, but the ones after that were worse and now, two years out, there are still hard days. The hardest ones are the ones that I allow a little acceptance of our reality in. This is it. For all I have and all I'm blessed with, she's missing. A vital, needed member of our family is missing. These are her days, the days to remember. The boys will help me remember and I will teach them. I'm sure they know far more than I could begin to fathom. I will always have my memories and they'll take from their sister more than a flashback from a certain smell but an engrained knowledge from a very young age and for our rainbow boy, even from birth. What a gift my children have given each other; the boys will give her a legacy and she will give them knowledge distinct to that of a bereaved family. May each of them wear it well.

Behind every smile, there are tears and behind every tear, there are smiles.