Monday, May 21, 2012

Signs Are Everywhere

Recently I've been feeling like Saoirse has been saying "Hi" a lot. Really, she's been doing it since she left us. I have decided I need to write down the events because I'm starting to forget some of them. Here is a list of the ones that have happened so far (as much as I can remember)

The Sunglasses:
Before one of our last trips to the hospital, I had lost my sunglasses. We were in the hospital so long, I kind of forgot about it. After Saoirse died, I kind of figured they were gone. A few weeks went by, and I didn't find them. Then, when we were cleaning up her toys one day, I opened her barn. I found a horse, a cow, and my sunglasses. It made me smile. Especially since when I thought about it, I remembered when she put them in there. At the time I had said to myself, "you better take those out, or you'll never remember they are in there." She must have remembered for me.

A Little Ziggy Marley:
As you all know, Saoirse was particularly drawn to reggae music (and for those of you that know us, you will know that that is so random as it is not something we listen to hardly ever). Our second morning in Ireland, we were greeted at breakfast with a little reggae - it was Ziggy Marley's family time album. A little strange of a pick for a youth hostel in Dublin, but I was glad she was with us, and hadn't stayed at home.

All the Pretty Little Horses:
A couple times in Ireland we encountered white horses. The week before Saoirse was diagnosed, we went to see the Big Apple Circus. She was super sick, and didn't really pay attention much. She even slept through some of it. But when the white horses came out in the ring she was hooked! She was dancing along, waving at them, making "come here" motions with her arms, conducting with the music. It was amazing to see her so happy for such a brief moment right then. She was like herself for the few minutes that the horses were there in front of her.
The first white horse we saw in Ireland was on Bere Island. It was in a pasture off the main road. We pulled up the car to take a picture, and it came right up to us. It was like he was posing for us, saying "I'm here, and I was waiting for you." We will be hanging one of these photos on the wall in Saoirse's room.
The second white horse we saw was in Connemara. We took a bus tour around the area, and one of the stops was to see a Connemara pony. He was white, and waited eagerly to get his apple snack. I got to feed him, and pet his nose. (He doesn't like men, so Mike was not as lucky.) I felt like he was particularly fond of me.

Music in the Air:
So, this is probably true for anyone lost, but music is sometimes really hard to listen to. For a long time Mike wouldn't let me turn the radio on in the car. There are songs that definitely evoke strong emotions and memories, and sometimes it's hard to listen to them. However, I feel like there are times when certain songs will come on, and it's just so perfectly timed. I feel like she's sending me messages. It's nice sometimes to feel like she's following me around, picking out a soundtrack for me.

Kids see things differently:
I see my mom friends about once a week (sometimes more!). I love seeing all the "babies" and how they are growing up. Sometimes it makes me sad that Saoirse didn't get to do all the cool new stuff, but usually I just love snuggling them up and chasing them around. Babies sense things better than adults. My friend Jess suggested that I pick out a doll or stuffed animal that can represent Saoirse in all the photos with the kids we take. That way she is always there. I loved the idea! I decided to use her Elmo doll, but wanted to represent Curious George too - her two faves! So I took George's shirt, and put it on Elmo, and bring it when I see the kids. My favorite moment so far is when Thomas picked up Elmo, gave him a smooch, and then gave him the biggest hug you could ever imagine. It was like he was hugging Saoirse. I feel like he knew it was hers, and was trying to tell her he missed her. Broke my heart, and made me feel good all at the same time.

Signs in Signs:
There have been a few times, especially in Chicago, where I have seen signage or art that make me think of Saoirse. It's kind of like she's talking to us. One sign we saw was in a noodle house in Chicago. We found this amazing Japanese noodle house 3 days before we moved out of Chicago. It was a mile from our apartment, and the most amazing noodle soup you have ever had! No Joke! We were so sad we took so long to find it. For five years I have been waiting to go back to that place! We finally go there (we though it might be gone), and had amazing lunch. On the wall was a big art piece. It was yellow and had white letters - it said, "You are my sunshine." I was ecstatic! I had my long lost noodles, and Saoirse was there with me! I took a photo of my pendant, and the owner wondered what it was. I told him the story. He was moved. He then pointed me to the SECOND you are my sunshine poster, that had more of the words! So amazing!
We also went hiking at starved rock state park while we were there. There is a ravine that people walk into and climb around in. The walls are soft rock, and there are tons of names carved into them. We didn't have anything to really carve with, but Mike managed to scratch Saoirse's name in the rock. Right next to where he carved it said "DAD" in big, deep letters. He said hi to her, she said hi back.

While we were in Austin for a NB conference (more to come on that soon!), we spent some time wandering around the city. Austin is the music capitol of the world, so we saw a lot of bands playing in bars and restaurants. On Thursday night we were waiting to meet up with friends - we were trying to find somewhere to wait. As we were walking on 6th St, we went by the irish pub. I had to stop. There was a woman, playing a harp, singing the blues!!!! It was amazing. That's where we stopped. She did a whole variety of music - blues, pop, oldies, soul. Then she came up with one I thought I would never hear on a harp - reggae! Yup - she played a little Bob Marley for us. It was awesome. A harp, in an irish pub in texas, playing reggae. Saoirse had to have a hand in that one. We told the harpist about Saoirse, and how much she used to love the harp music at the hospital, and she agreed to try and come up with a song for her. We can't wait!

There are more. I'll try and keep putting them up as I remember/think of them. I love that she keeps me on my toes - she always did. Hopefully others can see her sometimes too.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day

So far, Mother's day has not won any major awards in my book as a mum. My first "mother's" day, I was eight and a half months pregnant, my back hurt, my ankles were swollen, and I hadn't slept well in about two weeks. Needless to say, I was looking forward to the next one. 
Last year, my first real mother's day, I was locked in a hospital room. I had just found out my little baby girl, the one who made me a mom, had cancer. While I was thankful I knew what was wrong with her, and that she was feeling better after just one day of treatment, it was not what I had envisioned for my first mother's day. 
Which brings us to today. The year when I should have had a good day, a real mother's day. Instead I am left looking at photos of my daughter, and snuggling with her stuffed animals. She didn't get to make me a card with her daddy, and go with him to pick something out for me. She didn't get to let me sleep in and bring me breakfast in bed. Instead I was robbed of my baby. The only one who I got to love and take care of longer than anyone else. The only one who called me mamma. 
Cancer stole my mother's day. Cancer SUCKS!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

One Year

One year ago our lives were changed for the second time. Our baby girl was diagnosed with cancer. We thought it would be the worst day of our life. If we had only known then that we were so wrong.