Monday, February 14, 2011

Family Circle Ceremony

Saturday I spoke at the Family Circle Ceremony at Childrens Mercy Hospital about our story of organ donation.  The Ceremony started with pictures of the 2011 Donate Life Rose bowl Parade Float.  This year's theme was "Seize the Day" and was a kite design.  Scott Seetin, kidney recipient, spoke about helping with and riding on the float along with his story of receiving a kidney.  There were three news stations in attendance and I did an interview with KCTV5.  I have not found the link to that story, but here is a link to one on Fox 4.,0,1974393.story

Also, here are a few of my words from my speech.  

"Organ donation has always been something that I felt strongly about.  From the time I was 16 I made sure the back of my driver's license was signed and told my parents that I wanted to donate if something should happen.  After Marc and I were married, I let him know my wishes and we agreed that donation was something we would do for each other.  We never could have imagined that it would be our little girl's organs we would donate instead of ours."

"After the mind-numbing shock of losing our daughter wore off, the giving the gift of life brought not only tears to our eyes, but also smiles to our faces.  Somehow, knowing a part of our Abby lives on, improving the life of someone else, brings a certain feeling of comfort.  It is a comfort that brings a sense of purpose from our tragedy.  No matter if I am speaking to offenders at prisons as a victim of a crime, to high school students about drinking and driving, to people about the Abrielle Neff Foundation established in her memory, or to other grieving families, the one fact I make sure I never leave out is that in death Abby was a hero.  She saved lives through donation." 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Talking with Elly

The Preschool is currently gathering donations for the Foundation since Abby was a part of their class.  Yesterday we made some purchases for Elly to take to school that included 3 stuffed animals, a baby doll, 2 card games, and 2 color wonder sets.  Elly understood that these were for kids at the hospital, but kept trying to keep one for her own, which of course did not happen.  She even tried this morning as we were sorting them into the separate boxes outside the classroom.  Then we talked about all the pictures of Abrielle the teachers had put up.  She pointed to each one, "That's Abby"  "That's our Abby, right."  "And there's Sissy too."  "Who's that kitty?"  We talked about each one of those little pictures.  It really pleases me that she recognizes her big sis, even though sometimes she does think it is herself in the picture.   

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Sorry for the long time with no post.  I don't quite have a steady routine for myself yet, so computer time is usually what gets missed.  This is going to seem like a rambling post as I try to catch up on several things, so bear with me.  
Santa left gifts under our Abby Tree like usual for the Foundation.  There is no way that I can not have Abby involved in the Holiday and the girls love seeing what gets left for kids in the hospital. 

Avenue City School collected donations for the Foundation at Christmas time again this year and we really thank them!

We are planning a bagging either the end of February or the first part of March.

The Celebration will be June 12th at Beal Park.

Next weekend I will be speaking at CMH at the Rose Ceremony about organ donation.  It is the ceremony we attended last year to receive our certificate and rose from the Donate Life Rose Parade Float.  This year I will be sharing our story of donation to others receiving the honor of having their loved one represented on the float for the first time. 

I have been trying different methods to help battle the depression that has plagued me since losing Abby and exercise has really seemed to help with my struggles through the Holidays and beyond.  There have been so many times that I still feel I get those little gut shots of not having her here, but have held things inside instead of expressing them on here, which I am not sure has been good for me.  Basically my heart has been hurting, but I have been keeping my mask pulled down tight.  There has been Elly's Preschool concert, in which I was reminded of Abby so much.  There has been Elly just saying out of the blue, "Mommy, I miss Abby."  There has been the artwork that has come home showing our family and she has made sure to include her big sister (which makes me proud she knows).  It has been seeing the letter "A"s as Elly has learned to write them.  It was getting two girls ready for the Daddy Daughter Dance last night and having Mady speak my thoughts out loud saying, "There would be 3 of us going this year."  It has been Mady deciding she wants to wear her Abby fingerprint necklace every day now.  It's Elly asking to see Abby's room.  It's the similarities and same terminology that Elly uses for things that Abby did making me wonder if there is a special connection there (ie - "My knee has a headache.", refusing to wear socks, not thinking that dresses or nightgowns require panties underneath, wanting to sneak into bed with us at night)  Different aspects of the grief that (according to the cycle by the experts) should be passed by now, keep returning again and again.  I know earlier last year I came to the realization that I would take my grief with me to the grave, but I didn't realize that the stages would continually cycle.  The sleepless nights have plagued me again the last week, but for some reason, tears don't want to seem to fall.  It is like my body is keeping them locked inside for some reason.  I would say that I want the pain to go away and be over, but if I were honest that would be a lie.  It is through that pain that I feel like am to be the closest to my little girl.  It makes her seem more real.  If I hold on to the grief, it makes her never be forgotten, which is still my biggest fear.  I am afraid that sometimes my memories of her get muddled in my mind and just blend in with everything else, fading with time.