Special days are always tough and today I woke feeling like I had been rolled through an old fashioned wringer washing machine. My whole body aches and my eyes feel like they are hanging out of my head. Savannah's eleventh birthday was one of my hardest yet, it's not getting easier as time marches forward. I thought it would by now.
However, yesterday, amongst all MY sadness and feelings of longing for my baby were feelings of gratitude, love and support.....and I have to be grateful for that. I'd like to share my day and share how my friends, who are like family to me, made Savannah's birthday almost as special as if she was here.
A girlfriend of mine, an old school friend, whom I've reconnected with read my blog about Savannah and how I don't know what it is that eleven year old's like these days....her daughter is the same age as Savannah, so she emailed me................."I've just finished reading your articles and I often think about the things that you are missing. Rather than feel sorry or guilty that I am experiencing all the wonderful and sometimes annoying parts of living with an eleven year old, for better or worse I wanted to share with you some of my experiences."
Vicki wrote the most beautiful long email about her daughter, what books she reads, what TV shows she watches, what music she listens to and how messy her room is, amongst other information that is so priceless to me. I cried as I read it, tears mixed with sadness and fascination and wonder at a little peek into what Savannah might be like if she was here. It was difficult to write a thank you note back. It was hard to convey in words how much her email meant to me and how grateful I was she took the time to write it. How very very special of her and something so simple! :)
While eating my breakfast my neighbor Renee stopped by, giving me the biggest hug and a beautiful frame about mothers.....I gave her a wet shoulder from all my tears. Then after breakfast I took Dempsey to our local park where we raced each other on the swings, Demps giggling the whole time at how high she was going, with the wind whipping her long hair....and I felt grateful. Toys R Us was next where she picked out a toy for her big sister. I let her roam the aisles until she found the perfect gift. "I think Savannah would like this Mommy," she told me....and I had to smile when I read the tag hanging off it's ear......it almost sounds like heaven I thought to myself. :)
Then it was off to Von's Supermarket to pick out Savannah's balloons. Dempsey drove the florist insane with her constant changing of balloon colors......but then hey, she's a female right :) I carefully drove home with a trunk full of helium balloons and Dempsey itching to get in the door and draw pictures and a note on them for her sister. I wrote on them too, with love from mommy and daddy.......
Demps drew a different animal on each balloon and a message to Savannah
A friend arrived with a cheerful bunch of sunflowers and and a letter about physics and how there's a concept about Energy.....how it's believed that someones energy is not lost after they die, just transformed....how my angels energy is probably creating miracles everywhere, along with others who have passed. It was beautifully written and so heartfelt, I was grateful that this friend took the time!
Then Peter arrived home to an impatient Dempsey at the door, eager to send the balloons to heaven to her sister. To me, letting go of the balloons symbolizes her soul being freed from her body. And so we stood in our yard, watching the balloons float away higher and higher, blown this way and that by errant winds, until we couldn't see them anymore.
And I imagined that Savannah was waiting for them, up in heaven where there is no pain, with my adored Mom and my sister Tarnia and I felt grateful for Dempsey’s ear to ear grin as she loudly yelled “Happy Birthday Savannah!”
Peter and I shared a quiet dinner, he, not sharing his thoughts as usual with me, and me accepting that was OK, even if it is painful on special days. And then our doorbell rang and we received the most delicate bunch of pretty pink and yellow roses for Savannah from a special family in Australia who send them every year.....again I was grateful and cried reading the message they had sent. I rang my Dad in Australia and for once, he got emotional, and we both cried, then he told me he loved me and to take care. It meant so much to me.
We got emails, texts, cards and phone calls.....and I survived the day the best way I could, which is all we can do really on those terribly hard days like birthdays.
And this morning after re-reading all Savannah's messages it occurred to me one emotion, apart from the tears and sadness and heartache, that was present in abundance yesterday, was a feeling of being so so GRATEFUL. I know I can't bring Savannah back, I can't change what happened to her, but I can choose to be grateful for my beautiful friends who made her day special for us. I can't imagine her birthday with no-one acknowledging it....how painful that would be.
So today is my new year! I'm going to take the energy and love and strength that my friends gave me yesterday, from all those who are important in my life who made a difference to us on Savannah's birthday, and be happy and grateful for what I do have right here in front of me.
And as I'm typing Demps is giggling in the background with a friend as they play our Wii, the birds are chirping, the sun is shining.....and thanks to my friends support, so am I today! My blue cup is sunny and overflowing! :) :)
This article was published on the website http://www.hellogrief.org/grateful-in-grief-reflections-on-my-daughters-birthday/ Hellogrief has some great articles that can help anyone travelling through the journey of grief. x