Tuesday, March 31, 2009

That Spot in the Road

The daffodils have started coming up around the cross and stone. They were planted in the fall of 2007 by Randy Frueh, so this is the second year they have come up. The yellow blooms brighten that tragic patch of grass as they are full of symbolism. Daffodils have meanings of hope, faith, honesty, truth, and forgiveness. They are vigilant in returning each spring. With their return, they remind everyone that their beauty is capable of following on the shirttails of even the harshest winters or tribulations.
Sorry if they are hard to see, I still can't bring myself to get out of the vehicle, so the pictures were taken from my car.

~ To answer the question in the comment, Marc trimmed the grass around the area into the heart shape for the last 2 years. I think we have it trained now because this is how it looked yesterday with no trimming yet. ~

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Two Years Passed

As this day begins to draw to a close, the pain in my heart still has not lessened. But how could it when I just kissed and tucked 2 girls into bed instead of 3. How could it when we had to visit our middle child at a cemetery and kiss her pictures. How could this pain lessen when I would still do anything to trade places with my Abrielle.
When I awoke this morning, it was like a weight was on my chest and the tension in my neck was so tight I could hardly turn it. It felt like it was a chore to even get out of bed. I was glad to have Becci here because I knew Marc was feeling it too. It was as if there was an elephant in the room and no one wanted to acknowledge it. I choked down the tears until Elly came out with Abby's stocking hat and gloves. They were on our cedar chest from Christmas pictures 2 years ago and I just couldn't bring myself to put them away. That's when they started flowing. Later I spent some time in Abby's room, which I still can only bring myself to do maybe 3-4 times a year. I looked at pictures until they became unbearable and had worn myself out from too many tears. Beth came out later along with my parents, which was a nice distraction for all of us. This also gave Marc and I the chance to go see Abby just the two of us. On days like this when we take Mady, she's the one acting like the grown-up and consoling us. While the comforting is nice, I would rather she grieve too.
Some friends came by later, which was such a nice surprise. They knew better than to call first because they know me too well and I would have told them we were fine. We welcomed the company.
As we carried Elly upstairs to bed with her Pinky, she started squirming to get down. Marc put her down and she ran to get her other crocheted afghan that we have always called Greenie. I said, "You need Greenie too?" She grabbed it and said "Abby Blankie". This was the first time we have heard her call it that. In fact, she had never been too concerned if she had it to sleep with or not, just Pinky mattered. I do enjoy the messages from Heaven we get.
Thanks for all your prayers, comforting words, and support as we still mourn the loss of our precious Abrielle.

Friday, March 27, 2009

A Message to My Abby

My heart has been growing heavier as that fateful day draws closer, so today I am going to speak to my Abby...

It has been 2 years since your brown eyes danced with life, but there are some things I want you to know~
You will always be my middle child, the filling in our family sandwich
You will always be Mady's little sister, her playmate and her shadow
You will always be Elly's big sister, even though you never got to hold her
You will always be my bravest, strongest, most adventurous girl
You will always be my Mommy's Girl
You will always be a Granddaughter, a Niece, a Cousin, and a Friend
You will always live so strong in our hearts that it will seem like it was just yesterday that you left
You will always hold a special place in my soul that can never be filled
You will always be the one to help me keep my faith, because without it, I won't see you again
You will always bring tears to my eyes at the very thought of you. I will not let those tears dry because it is in that pain and grief that you live the strongest
You will always be our Abrielle, no matter what. Just because time passes, nothing can take that away. You are not gone, of that I am sure. You have just gotten a head start to that beautiful gathering place we will all join you at.
I love you Abbers and miss you every day~
Hugs and Kisses ~

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Little Miss Abrielle

Just sharing another happy memory...

Our little Abrielle loved to wear dress and hats, they were just fun for her. Needless to say, as you can tell by the picture, she definitely got her wear out of them. This one is a bit short, but it sure didn't matter to her. We always thought it was funny that she liked to wear dresses because she was far from lady-like. I always said she could easily have been a boy.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

New Years Challenge Donations

Wow!! The New Year's Challenge brought in 85 boxes of ziplocs, 4 stuffed animals, and $60 in donations. Thanks Betty Ann Dean for organizing this and thanks to all that participated.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Our ER Visit

When we started the Foundation, we did so with the intentions of helping other children and never really thought that one of our girls would need to receive a stuffed animal. Yesterday, Elly had to be taken to the ER for dehydration. She had been vomiting for 2 days, unable to keep anything down. She had been refusing liquids yesterday and had become limp. We could not get her fever to come down and she had only had 2 wet diapers all day. Finally after a phone call to a friend, we took her in to the ER. There they tried forcing fluids like we had been, only to have them come back up. At first when we were asked if Elly wanted a stuffed animal, we said no, save them for the other kids, but then we changed our minds. We decided our little girl was not exempt from the comfort the animal would give, so they brought her out a teddy bear. We were glad they did too. She had to have blood drawn and an in and out cath to get a urine sample. After everything was tested, she was given a shot to stop the vomiting and we were sent home to force fluids. We are keeping our fingers crossed that this will do the trick and we can avoid an IV (the doctor on duty doesn't like doing IVs on little ones). She seems to be doing better today, no vomiting yet, and she has finally started drinking.

Elly has kept a hold of that teddy bear she received all morning too. We are very appreciative of the work of everyone that has helped with the Foundation for bringing some comfort to our little girl.

Monday, March 23, 2009

A Story of Success

I am going to direct everyone to another blog so you can read for yourself one little boy's experience in the hospital and the animal he received.

This is what the Foundation is all about..."Making Life Brighter for Area Kids"

Friday, March 20, 2009


Those of you that attended the sentencing hearing and civil suit last year know that we showed one of Mady's artwork and one of her writings to show the effect on her. I don't know if I showed anyone these or not, but thought I would share them today.
This first picture is of a poster Mady made for Earth Day last year. There is a paper attached with her writings of how she can help save the environment. It talks about the usual recycling and picking up litter, things like that. If you look at the poster you will see a scene of a park, complete with a slide, divided trash cans, and a tree with a squirrel. When you look at the other side, you see what brought Marc and I to tears. It is a green pickup shown in three different frames, rolling.

My poor Mady never lost consciousness that day. She saw everything and it is still etched in her mind. It came out on an innocent Earth Day poster a year later.
The second picture is of the writing we shared that day. We did not want to share any of her journals that day, so we opted for this paper that I found while emptying out her backpack on evening. Needless to say, it brought more tears.

The glare from the camera makes it a little hard to read, so here is what it says,

"I'm think about you. It's hard to get you of my mind. I can't live without you."

I share this with everyone today for different reasons. One is for myself in my healing process. I know I have stated how I have dealt with blaming myself all this time. I think if I specifically named all the different aspects, the list would be really long, but I also carry my daughter's pain with me. I hurt because she hurts. I take the blame for her suffering too.

Another reason I share this is for the simple message of "Please Don't Drink and Drive".

Thursday, March 19, 2009

St Gregory's Fifth Graders

Remember the post about the 5th graders at St Gregory's dressing up like presidents and raising money for the Foundation? Well they wanted to help out even more. I took all my stuff in and the kids decorated cards during class. They made a bunch of great cards and had fun doing it.

Plus, Mrs Halley went shopping with the money they raised and found a bunch of really fun stuff! The kids had made a list of things they wanted her to buy and here's what all she found.

Thanks 5th Graders and Mrs Halley!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

New Year's Challenge Fundraiser

New Year's Challenge participants at the Community Center are raising money for the Foundation and gathering other donations. Thank you to all those participating!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Abby's Book

I have a little notebook that I have carried in my purse for almost 2 years now. I use it to jot down notes to help me remember things. I use it to put my thoughts down. I use it to write poems in. It's kind of a catch all for me. One day at church, Mady wanted to draw so I gave her my little notebook. These are from the summer or fall of 2007. Here's her drawings that I carry with me everywhere.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Did you watch ER?

I know I've talked about watching ER before and Thursday's episode was another one that hit close to home. The entire show was about organ donation. It showed both sides of the process, which was nice for me to see. It showed the donor family struggle as they had to come to grips with the fact that their loved one was gone and being supported by machines. They then had to make the decision of donation, which in the end they did. The show also gave me a glimpse into the other side as the recipients tearfully celebrated their good fortune of being selected for an organ and the life saving surgeries that followed.
Please everyone, tell your loved ones your wishes to donate, so that you may save lives too.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Makeup Time

Thought I would share another memory today of happy times with Abrielle.

I think girls and makeup go hand and hand and my two were no different. Mady was quite protective of her makeup sets, but would share as long as she was the one applying it. That didn't mean that Abby never got into Sissy's makeup without her knowing and did it herself:) Here is a makeup day at our house.

Round one of "lip" application.

Waiting patiently for Sissy to make her look beautiful.

Ok, so maybe not so patiently.

More "lip". You can never have too much.

Purple eyeshadow is the favorite choice of both girls. (I'll have to fix that.)

Look how pretty we turned out after a makeup session with Sissy!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Struggle Has Begun...

I was hoping that somehow Abby's second Heavenly Birthday would be easier than the first, but it doesn't appear it's going to be. It seems as that fateful day draws closer, I am having to fight harder to ward off the depression and maintain my composure. The mask that keeps my emotions hidden feels too heavy to put on some days and it would be so much easier to just stay in bed and let the day go on without my input. As much as I want to, I can't. My other two girls need a Mommy to take care of them and not a blob under the covers. It might seem strange to some that it is a battle to put your feet on the floor each morning, but that is what depression and grief do to you. I am winning that one, as I am getting up each day, going to work, and trying to handle the other normal daily occurrences. But there are other struggles I am not winning yet. It seems my mind is in a fog. I struggle to remember things and have difficulty concentrating. I am trying to stay busy to ward off these issues, but that's not working yet. The sleepless nights are returning along with the vivid flashbacks. The tears, loss of appetite and muscle tension are here. I am not telling this to receive any type of sympathy, just want everyone to be aware for two reasons. One is because I am obviously not myself, so please bear with me if I seem distant or forget something. It is nothing personal by any means. It is just my internal battle. The second reason is because I want to make everyone aware that grief is not gone after almost two years. Society leads everyone to believe that there is a set time frame to grieve and after that you are healed. That is not so, as I am discovering. I was hoping the one year mark was going to be that magical day, but when I woke up one year and one day after losing Abby, the hurt was still the same. I am not sure when it eases up, but I hope that someday soon I finally begin to experience some sort of relief from the daily pain of losing my little girl. As the 29th approaches, please keep our family in your prayers. And please pray for the Halley family as they experience Brian's first Heavenly Birthday.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

March Bagging

We had several different stations going for Saturday's bagging to help keep things organized. One group removed hearts that said "kiss me", "hugs and kisses", and other Valentine's sayings and removed tags that said Happy Valentine's Day. Another group labeled all the coloring books and crayons.Two groups worked on bagging, one bagged the regular animals while the other bagged the handmade ones with a special card. Another group worked on the handmade cards and the Abby's Hugs cards.
We were able to get all the animals bagged up quicker than what I thought, thanks in part to the cards that Upward Bound made for us.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

New Counter

It was pointed out to me this morning that the countup counter at the bottom of the blog was incorrect. While it was calculating the number of days correctly, for some reason when it was converting it to years, months, days under it, it was not computing correctly. So, I have found another clock to use for now. It's not exactly what I want, because I don't want the hours, minutes, and seconds on it, but it will work for now. If anyone knows how to fix the other one or where there is a link to the kind I want, please let me know.

Upward Bound Trio Day

I attended Upward Bound's Trio Day on Saturday morning to speak about the Foundation and to have them decorate cards for their community service project for the day. There was a group of over 60 high school students, so they were able to make several cards for us, which worked out perfect for the bagging later that evening. Here are some pictures of the students making cards.

Thanks for all your help Upward Bound students and I hope that all of you get the backs of your drivers licenses signed to become an organ donor.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Sissy's Song

There is a new song out by Alan Jackson that brings me to tears called "Sissy's Song". It was written about a young woman that worked in the Jackson household and died suddenly in an accident. Here is the song on YouTube. Just have your kleenex ready.

There would just be a couple of words changed to make it perfect for us, plus Abby always called Mady "Sissy".

Here is Alan Jackson talking about the song.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Baa, Baa, Black Sheep

Ever since the girls were little, I would sing (not that I'm any good) to them as I rocked them. One of the songs that I always sang was, and still is, "Baa, Baa, Black Sheep". We even had a book of the song that Abby loved to read at MeMa's house. So, how perfect was the donation of little black sheep I received from Suzi White and the ones I got from Randi Nielson earlier. Thanks guys!

Don't forget to come help us bag on Saturday night at 7!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

A Little Help???

Maybe some of you have heard me talk about it before, but since we lost our Abrielle, our eyes have been opened to some things we cannot explain. We find our "pennies from Heaven" in the strangest places, places they could not have been dropped. We have a small rocking chair in the living room that I keep hidden behind a recliner that seems to think its place is pulled up to the coffee table, waiting for a bowl of cereal and its shows to be turned on. I thought I was literally losing my mind when I realized what kept happening, but now, I welcome the moving chair. We find the letter "A" carved in rocks and shaped in the clouds. These are just a few of our experiences. Maybe our minds are trying to see things, trying find ways that our little girl is reaching us, I don't know. We see them none the less and here is one more example. Elly loves drawing on the Magna Doodle. She writes with the pen, scribbles, and then erases it to do it again. We right her name with her and draw pictures with her. When she uses the big magnet shapes that are in the slide out tray, she usually just covers the whole surface in black, erases, and does it again. She is content to scribble away on this toy alone and that is what happened last night. I did not even catch what was on the screen until the next morning. Here's what I found....
I think Elly might have had a little help drawing last night and it wasn't from Mady because we asked.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The High Road

Sometimes it's hard to take, but time after time I have chosen the "high road" when dealing with hurtful comments about losing my Abby. The thought that some people can be so inconsiderate and down right cruel in what they say just astounds me and brings me to a couple of different conclusions. One is that they are ignorant to the soul-stabbing pain that losing a child causes and the gaping wound that is left behind. Another is that they are so self-centered that they can't see beyond their own noses to even attempt to feel compassion for another human being. A third is that they enjoy attempting to bring down another person's spirits and keep shoving them back into the pit of grief no matter how hard they are trying to climb out. So with that being said, I am at a crossroad yet again. Do I take the high road? (Of course.) The comments left on the blog have to be approved by me, thankfully, so others won't be subjected to the meanness, but I still have to read them. Mean, hurtful comments are left anonymously for me to delete. The blog has different options that I can take and have considered. One is making the blog private, meaning I have to invite anyone to read it. Another is not allowing anonymous comments. While these would solve the problem, I feel it goes against what I am trying to do in this blog. I want to keep the public, not just a select few people, informed of the happenings of the Foundation and I want people to feel free to leave notes and messages. Another option is to block out the specific computer by its ip address (which I have), but part of me does not want to do this either. I want this person to be able to see what good things the Foundation is doing, the lives being touched, and the spirit of Abrielle living on. I want them to see and understand that the Foundation will be around forever (I know Mady will take over the reigns someday to keep her sister's memory alive) and it is not a pity-party thing we made up for the short time, despite what they think. So as I choose again to just delete the comments, I hope the author takes the time and hugs their kids, tells their family they love them, and tries to learn compassion. That being said, please feel free to leave comments, notes, messages, whatever on this site as it is open to the public now and always will be.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Random Acts of Kindness

My sister Beth called last week to tell me this wonderful story about a donation she was given for the Foundation. A coworker had went to the store in Red Oak after Valentine's and saw some bears on clearance. She decided to buy them to donate. While she was waiting in line, a lady in front of her made a comment about her having lots of bears in her cart. She exlained the Foundation to her and the lady wanted to pay for them for her! How amazing is that. Beth brought these cute and cuddly bears to me this weekend.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Our Little Gymnast

Another memory to share...
Both Mady and Abby were in Kip Kittens Gymnastics. At the end of their fall/winter session in 2006, they had a performance for the parents and received awards. Abrielle absolutely loved going to gymnastics. She had so much energy that this was just perfect for her. She had black leotards that she would wear and no matter what, her little panties would stick out the sides. I tried to get her to wear tights underneath or pants over the top, but nothing doing. So, I finally quit trying and just let her panties hang out. Doing Somersaults.

Playing on the rings.

On the bar.

On the balance beam.

On the rope swing.

Abrielle with her award. She was so proud!

We lost Abby in the middle of the spring session and Mady made the decision that she did not want to do gymnastics any more. It was something they had done together and I understood. I was actually kind of relieved because I really didn't think I could go watch Abby's classmates without her there.