Today was our first Mothers Day since Juli passed. Lots of people have reached out to me yesterday and today saying they were thinking of us, and I appreciate all of the love and support. It honestly wasn’t as hard today as most people thought it might be. My theory on that is due to the fact that we didn’t have Juli with us last year for Mothers Day, and the weeks leading up to it were probably harder on the kids than today was.
Last year, Juli was in the ICU for Mothers Day, and the kids could only visit for a short time. Juli had only been off the ventilator for three days, and it had only been a week since the doctor said I should bring the kids in to say goodbye as he wasn’t sure she would make it through the night. We all know she survived that stay, but she never really recovered from the radiation that caused the pneumonia and sepsis that precipitated that stay.
I think the weeks leading up to today were harder on the kids than today. They were all in relatively good spirits today, but the past two weeks have been some tough ones with some acting out. I know that the teachers are sensitive to what they are going through, and made all kinds of accommodations, but over the past two weeks while the kids were making Mothers Day gifts, they all knew that they wouldn’t be able to give theirs to Juli. This is what breaks my heart today, not the actual day itself.
We started the day with me making Juli’s favorite breakfast, Eggs Benedict. It was easily her favorite, and it was great that we had that today. That will be a continuing tradition going forward. The kids love Eggs Benedict, and since it was Juli’s favorite, it’s a nice way to connect and remember her.
After breakfast, we went to Build A Bear. I really didn’t plan on doing this today, but when I asked the kids if there was anything special they would like to do today, Christina and Nicole said they wanted to use the gift cards they got on their birthday today. Christina’s was for TJ Maxx, and Nicole’s was for Build A Bear. Well, Christina decided she would rather do Build A Bear today, so we went there. I wanted to make sure that it was something special for Michael and Samantha too, so I told all four of them that I would buy them an outfit for one of their bears as a Mothers Day gift from Juli. Since they have all been there a few times already, they all have bears they could dress. They all picked out a cute outfit for one of their bears, Nicole and Christina made their bears and used their gift cards to pickup a few more clothes for them, then off to Party City we went to pickup balloons.
At Party City, each of the kids picked out three balloons for the bouquet that we would be sending Juli. I picked out a single red balloon (symbolizing a red rose), while the kids picked out a plethora of colors. When we got home, we each wrote a message to Juli on at least one balloon for the release (except Christina who attached a haiku she wrote Juli as school).
After the messages were done, all we had left was to send the bouquet to Juli:
This launch was much more successful than our last one as I had some fairly heavy keychains attached to the balloons last time that said “I Love You Juli.” This time, it was just the balloons, and they took flight to the heavens easily. I sat there and watched as they soared high into the sky for at least 15 minutes. They were so high and so far east that it was simply a bright speck in the sky. In fact, it looked just like a star. I think that’s what it was, Juli’s soul shining bright like a star in the heavens, acknowledging us for Mothers Day.
That’s it for now. Life continues to go on, and the days have gotten better for all of us. We still have a huge hole in our lives, but the sadness doesn’t consume us anymore. There are still waves of grief, and we will probably always have those, but we have settled into our new normal.
My next post probably won’t be until June 16th which will be another hard day for me. Not only is it Fathers Day, but it’s also Juli’s 50th birthday, and our kids leave for a week at Camp Kesem that day. We will send Juli another balloon bouquet that morning before heading off to camp, but then it’s going to be very quiet and lonely around the house. I’ve taken the week off of work, and am thinking that I may take a mini vacation somewhere, but I have to be back Thursday night so I can’t travel too far. If anyone has any suggestions, send them my way
That’s it for today. Thanks again everyone for your love and support. I’ve said it before, and will keep saying it, the support we get makes a difficult journey much more bearable, and the more people who help remember Juli, the better the memories will be for our children.
Happy Mothers Day to all of you mothers out there. Give your children a hug for all those mothers who can’t today.