It has been a while since I've posted. Too long. I'm not even sure anyone reads this blog anymore, but I still want to record some of the happenings of our family regarding Annie. It's just nice to have a place where I can put some of my feelings and thoughts down. We celebrated Annie's birthday in March and it was a really sweet occasion. Last year we were out of town on her birthday so we just did a simple celebration with the family members that were with us. This year we were home and able to do more to honor her special day.
Our families joined us at our house where we assembled sibling kits for PCMC (Austin's eagle project). We then watched a video that I made of Annie's life. We sang Happy Birthday and ate cupcakes and homemade icecream.
To end the evening, we went into the backyard to release balloons. Some wrote messages on their balloons before we sent them to heaven.
Before we let them go, we sang "Families Can Be Together Forever." Each balloon had a little light in it and watching them float into the night sky was beautiful (the pictures really don't do it justice).
The kids loved it. I loved it. I hope Annie loved it.
Ellie asked me that day as we were picking up balloons and getting ready for the party, "Mom, when you send a balloon to heaven, how do you know that the right baby gets it?" We had five babies in our ward die in a 2-year period, and I think in Ellie's mind, heaven is filled with babies. This girl is always thinking and wanted to be sure that her little sister was going to get her birthday balloons that night. It reminded me of a tender moment I had with her a few months after Annie passed away. We had been in a store where they sell balloons. I bought Ellie and Hadley each a balloon and tied them to their wrists. Ellie managed to get hers off her wrist and, as I was buckling Hadley into her carseat, she accidentally let it go. This wasn't the first time Ellie had lost a balloon and, judging from past experiece, I knew that she was going to throw a major fit. I could hear the panic rising in her voice as she watched her new balloon float out of reach and just as I braced myself for her wail, she stopped, and said to herself, "It's o.k. I'm sending my balloon to Annie." I had to swallow the lump in my throat as I hugged her tight and together we watched her balloon disappear from sight. Ellie melted my heart that day. Ellie was only three when Annie died. I did not know how much of an impact it would have on her life. I have overheard her say to her friends, "One day, I went for a walk at the hospital, and when I came back, my sister had died. I was so sad." I have listened to her play "house" and tell others that she was the mom and that her baby had died. Just last week, she said to me, "Mom, why did you take Annie back to the hospital after you brought her home?" She was thinking that if we hadn't taken her back, she would still be alive and here with us. Ellie was so young during Annie's life and death, but Ellie is processing and grieving just like the rest of us. I'm so grateful that I can teach her that "Families Can Be Together Forever" is not just a song we sing. It's something we believe and she will see her baby sister again.
(Ellie blowing out the candles on Annie's cupcakes...and yes, she is wearing a dress-up outfit!)