The month of June was full of anxiety and sadness. The week of her birthday I was a complete sobbing mess. This year was a leap year and so instead of her birthday being on Friday this year it was on a Saturday, 2 days after her death day (Thursday). I kept thinking Thursday would be the worst day. Saturday came, I woke thinking "okay, today is going to be okay", I went for a walk in the morning and I just cried. I cried 3 different times that day, big fat sobbing tears.
We decided we would try and make it a day like any other Saturday. We went and got bagels and then we went and walked around REI. Kai loves going in the tents and looking at camping equipment. I asked Kai what we should do for Camille's birthday and he said "we should bake chocolate chip cookies because they are my favorite", so we made cookies. My dear friend who is also our doula and has been present at both of my births was in town with her 9 year old for Camille's birthday.
We received lovely cards, flowers, bread with jam and honey, a book on religious/inspirational quotes, as well as some gorgeous sounding wind chimes and generally it was a positive feeling for me to know that many people had not forgotten our daughter. I did not care whether the remembrance was because they remembered or if it was inspired by the card we sent out. It was mostly just important that people not forget.
I wondered how I would feel after sending off the card for her birthday. The card had Camille's picture on it and sending that out made me feel very vulnerable. It was important that I send a photo because people can dismiss an idea or a thought much easier than a person (or so I thought) Seeing an actual photo of our daughter, I thought would help people visualize that Camille was not just an idea, she was a person, someone we love and will miss for our entire lives. I wondered about the response I would receive. In the end I felt very good about the card and the response was interesting. What I found was that the response to the card was similar to the response after Camille's death, either people acknowledged it or they did not. I realized at one point that the cards in the middle of our table pretty much represented the same individuals who had been present throughout the year. The absence of response was also a representation of those who consistently have chosen not to be present. I know some people were a little shocked when they opened the card but some of my favorite responses besides people telling me she was beautiful, was that they felt honored that they got to see a picture of her. That made me feel really good. The fact that Daryl was on board and happy with the card that we sent out was also very validating because he is not a very open person.
In the evening of her birthday I had decided to order some wish lanterns. We decided to go to Daryl's baseball field because it was very open and I didn't think we could burn anything down in the immediate vicinity. We sent up 3 lanterns....Errr rather we attempted to send up 3. We got to the field and the sprinklers were on...the field was completely sopping wet. The day had been extremely hot but wouldn't you know it the wind picked up at 9pm....Go figure. we couldn't get the lanterns to light and ended up in the dugout 3 of us trying to get the dang thing to catch on fire. We finally got one to catch but it ended up burning a hole in the side of the paper and we had to stomp on it to get it to go out. We would tell Kai, okay think of a wish but than the lantern would be burning as it skipped across the field with all of us chasing after it and he is yelling "I hope this baby comes home to live with us" at the top of his lungs and I am saying "no... wait don't wish on that one" We got the second one to go up into the sky and fly away. It was very pretty and it felt successful. The third one died a firey heap on the field as well and we ended up laughing about what a joke it turned out to be. I didn't feel sad that it wasn't perfect...It was what it was and we tried...at least we got one to go up and some laughs out of the event.
|Papa sending up wish lantern for Camille: Notice the almost full moon in the sky.|
The photo that makes the wish lanterns look impressively successful