So as I expected, yesterday came and went, and it was not nearly as bad for me as the previous few days. Jeff and I both found, over the course of the entire weekend, that down time was the killer. As long as we were busy and focused, and not allowing ourselves to psychologically travel to the 'dark side', things were okay. If we were not busy or otherwise occupied, it was an ugly scene. The good news is that my ugly scenes and Jeff's ugly scenes did not come at the same time, much the same as during the early grieving process, and we were able to help the other work through to a somewhat better place. I would like to extend thanks to those who sent emails, left comments here or sent messages via FB to offer thoughts and supports over the weekend. It means to much to know that people are thinking about us.
When I woke up yesterday morning, one of the first things I thought was actually not specifically about Gracie, but that exactly one year ago from that moment, my husband was still trying to sleep in the hospital cot that looked and sounded like a bird nest. Seriously. It dipped WAY down in the middle and was, of course, lined with a plastic cover for sanitation purposes. He sank way in and every time he moved, it sounded like he was laying in a pile of leaves. :-P It provided a little bit of comic relief when we needed it, and turned out to be one of the first thoughts in my head this morning.
We had a picnic-style dinner with our parents and Jeff's brothers and their families last evening. (My sister's cats stood in for her since the commute back from Namibia was not feasible...) Between dinner and cake we went to the cemetery to release balloons. I blew up the balloons that I had and then put the names and dates on them for some of Gracie's angel friends. (I was limited in balloons, so I was limited in the number of babies. I apologize if I did not get yours...) We left the other side of the balloons blank for our family to write messages to Gracie.
The weather forecast for the day was mostly cloudy with the chance of showers and thunder storms all day, but it was absolutely beautiful when we went to the cemetery. When we got there, there was a bag waiting for us that contained a birthday card, a tiara and a wand for Gracie. The card was not signed and we have no idea who left them for her, but it was such a nice surprise.
After the cemetery we headed back for some cake and homemade ice cream. I think the homemade ice cream is going to be my hubby's tradition for each birthday party for our children from this point forward. He had a great time with it! Jeff's cousin did Gracie's cake. I really had no idea what to ask her for, so I just gave her a list of generalities (with regard to decorations) and this is what she came up with for us... It was perfect (tasty, too) and we loved it!!
All in all, it was a decent day, but it didn't come close to the kind of celebration that we should have been planning for Gracie. I worry that we will not be able to honor her this way every year, and I worry that if that is the case, that we will feel an overwhelming sense of letting her down. I suppose that it's something we will have to deal with one year at a time...I just hope that I am wrong, and that we will be able to do something special for her every year to outwardly signify how much she will always mean.
So, that was Gracie's birthday in a nutshell. The days leading into it were really much worse than yesterday...which is what I was expecting. But we made it through, still standing.
I would like to ask that Annette, Acacia's mom, and Bryston's mom (Jen) drop me an email (sand0113 at gmail dot com) so I have your email address...I have pictures to send to you... Thanks so much! Wishing you all a peaceful week!!