Every year on her birthday we sing “Happy Birthday” and we release balloons off of our back deck. This year it will be three balloons because she would have been three in December. My husband and I joke that when she’s fifteen we’re going to be standing out here with fifteen balloons singing “Happy birthday” The neighbors are going to think we’re nuts.
Yesterday was Thanksgiving and we especially miss her during those times when it’s painfully clear that she’s not here.
We bring toys to Children’s Hospital for children on her birthday.
We have a birthday party for her every year and make a donation to the CHB Trust directed to a fund that supports research for a cure of her disease.
Fundraisers on her birthday
We do a fundraiser for her on her birthday every year as a way to not be sad on her birthday. It was a way for us to celebrate her and celebrate her on her birthday. We would get together, visit the grave, play a favorite song of hers, and go through photographs.
Getting him a plaque
Well, he passed away in June and his twentieth birthday was going to be in August, so on the twenty first of August we had a birthday party for him, and I did a raffle. I want to get him a plaque, so that’s what the money goes towards. We raffled off a TV and a DVD player. This year, I plan to have a birthday party for him and I’m going to do that as long as I can. His birthday was a big deal for him, and he would have been so excited about turning 21. All of his friends have been calling me and asking me what I’m going to do for his birthday, so we’ll have a cookout at my house, and I’ll buy a birthday cake and we’ll have a party.
I had a huge amount of fear approaching the one year anniversary of her death because I didn’t want to be on the other side of the year. I wanted to be inside a year. I wanted to be inside of what I perceived. I wanted to be close to her death. I didn’t want to be separated from her.
On her birthday and Christmas we send out cards and encourage people to do things in our daughter’s memory. For me, it serves two purposes. One purpose is to do things in her memory and to have our family contribute. In another sense it’s to say, “Hey, don’t forget.”
We recognize her birthday and the anniversary of her death every year with little rituals. We talk about her a lot. We encourage and welcome people talking about her with us. We have a foundation on behalf of her and her cousin who died of the same disease, which we work on regularly.
Beginning to relax a little bit
It’s Paulina’s anniversary on the 12th of November, and I’m actually beginning to relax a little bit. About a month after Paulina passed, it really hit. We moved to Canada, where we were planning to move with Paulina. The reality of the whole situation sunk in. It was Christmas; it was the 22nd of December. It was awful. It was snowing. It was icy. It was cold. That was the coldest, darkest, loneliest, bleakest, awful, most hideous time of my entire life.
We’re not ready yet
The anticipatory energy of any anniversary or date is actually worse than the actual date itself because you’re gearing yourself up for it. For our daughter’s anniversary this year, we plan to celebrate her as we did her birthday as well. We try, and it’s not easy. This is probably a testament just to the relationship and the kind of persons that my husband and I are. We really tried to focus on the nice bits, and remember the good bits. We cheered to our daughter and we had a glass of wine and got some flowers. Just little things so that we can say hello to her.