Tomorrow is my birthday. One of those significant ones, I might add. Yesterday my daughter, Krista, who Amy lovingly referred to as Corporate Krista and who Amy teased should have been born with a briefcase … hosted a birthday gathering for me at her relatively new home. A home which Krista moved into one week before Devastation Day. A home which is sprinkled with photos of her sister in every room. A home where I escape to when my own home becomes too painful to be in. A home that is filled with life, joy and comfort for all who enter — especially me.
Eight months earlier, my husband hit the same milestone with the same heavy heart and I orchestrated a small gathering at Krista’s new house to acknowledge his birthday. No music, no singing, no balloons or gag gifts. Call it a distraction, but it helped. So when I was asked what I wanted to do for my birthday, which is two weeks before Devastation Day, I decided I wanted to gather at Krista’s too.
That morning as I was having my daily cry in the shower, I heard these words in my head: “today has nothing to do with my death.” Believe me, when I am in control of my thoughts, every day has everything to do with Amy. It was as if my sweet, generous, youngest daughter gave me permission to enjoy the day. My husband, children, sisters and friends made the day a memorable day and I noticed every single effort.
Last week, while driving over the bridge from NJ to PA, the sun was just starting to set and there were words infiltrating my thoughts then too … “Look up from your life and see Krista.” The very thought that I hadn’t been doing that all along as I consciously worked so hard to be there for both of my children made me pause. I wondered if they were receiving my intentions or were they looking at a woman, who resembled their mother, but who had also been hit by a wrecking ball and who was just going through the motions of being their mother. It must be hard to compete with the saint their sister has become in my heart and mind. While answering an email this week, I wondered have I added additional scars to their already broken hearts because not only did they lose a sister, but part of their Mom too. I am the first to admit that a light went out inside of me when Amy died, but there is still a complicated beating heart which loves too — especially my children. It has always been my intention not to allow myself to deteriorate into a woman whom my kids no longer recognize. Yet, the power of what has happened in my life has changed me forever and I fully understand the potential is always there to turn into a resentful and bitter woman. I admit to being bitter and resentful many, many times on the other side of Devastation Day.
My sweet husband and Krista, who is such a wonderful hostess, spent a lot if time preparing for this gathering. Mission accomplished. It was indeed a good day. My sisters, who have been with me since the first hours when Devastation Day happened, came. My son stopped by to give me a hug and spend a little time before everyone came. My daughter’s lovely friend and one of her beautiful children stopped by. And then there are those two special friends who just like my lovely sisters, traveled many miles through the weekend summer traffic once again to be with us. Oh and my good friends who have pumped energy into me when I seriously didn’t think I could go on one more minute, came.
At work, we call our lunch group “the view”. And let me tell you while we all may have our own views, this is one sturdy, compassionate, generous, amazing group of women. None of these women who I have been blessed to meet at work are “work” friends. They have evolved to be my life friends, who are all embedded in my heart. They cry with me and honor Amy. I am also grateful for the colorful energy brought by “the husbands” who never even noticed one of the tablecloths had caught on fire…
Those who were invited who could not come still added a special blessing to me that day by making a point of letting me know they wanted to be there. One woman arranged for my family to be remembered in her church’s prayers for two straight weeks! And the surprise gift from my niece and my Mom added a special bonus to the day.
I laughed; I cried a bit; we toasted Amy; we talked about Amy. Amy blessed the day. No way would I have had the energy or peace required to enjoy the day without my Amy’s blessings.
You get by with a little help from an amazing husband, son, daughter, sisters, friends and family, but most of all the continuing love from my Amy.
Just like there are no words to describe the pain and sorrow in my heart, I find there are no words to adequately describe the grateful part of my heart which would like to earnestly thank all who support me.
There I did it … I looked up from my life to validate those who love and care about me instead of those who have let me and my family down. Well, you know what they say, the squeaky wheel gets the grease but this post is being written with a grateful broken heart. But don’t get your hopes up that I have turned any corners. I still feel like a unicorn existing in a world which is no longer capable of all the possibilities and joy I felt before August 4, 2013.. and Devastation Day is only two weeks away.
Appreciating all of you who care .. and always remembering and missing my Amy …