Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Little things mean a LOT!

I don't think people understand how much little things mean…at least to me and Donny.  And I think I can speak for most bereaved parents.

Jim Jabir, head basketball coach for the women at University of Dayton.

Back in the fall I saw a picture on Facebook of the UD Women's team at the Making Strides Breast Cancer Walk in downtown Dayton.  They were wearing black, long sleeve t-shirts with DAYTON in hot pink across the front (found out later there is a breast cancer ribbon on the back).  I wanted one, so I posted under the picture asking where I could get one.  A couple weeks later I got a message from the basketball office.  They would order the shirts for me.  Of course I had to tell them that this is a cause close to my heart…and a little about Melissa.  After a few messages back and forth, I was invited to stop at a practice-to give the team FORT bracelets.  At that practice, they asked if I wanted to talk to the  team about Melissa and breast cancer.  I did - just about how Melissa was young and athletic like them - and to be proactive if they noticed any changes in their bodies.  About 5 minutes.  Then passed out the bracelets to the team and the coaches.   I remember Jim Jabir put his on and gave me a hug.

Fast forward through the winter.  Most of you know that winter is really a hard time for us.  Holidays are hard, then Melissa's anniversary and her birthday.  We get through the winter watching basketball.  Specifically Fairmont's girls team, and in the last five years, UD (since Cassie Sant started playing there-she was the first recipient of Melissa's award for the Basketball team)-now Notre Dame (Kathryn Westbeld) and Ohio State.  I think without basketball I would sleep through the winter.  

ANYWAY…I remember watching one of the UD women's games on tv and I SWEAR I thought I saw Jim Jabir wearing his FORT bracelet.  Then last week, there was a picture in the paper of Jabir -it was with the article about the Flyers in the Sweet Sixteen.  Sure enough, he DID have his FORT bracelet on (photo above).  

UD had a celebration the day after the Sweet Sixteen for the Women's and Men's teams.  We took the kids.  Afterward, we got a chance to talk to Jim Jabir.  I asked him if he remembered me - that I talked to the team in the fall.  He said he did and he asked me how I was doing.  Then Donny asked him about the bracelet…he said "I never take it off.  Did you know it glows in the dark?"  We talked for a few more minutes and then got a few pictures of the girls.

Ally Mallott

Me & Jim Jabir wearing FORT bracelets!

Andrea HOOVER!

Ok - so the point of this long winded intro.  It doesn't take much to make Donny and me happy.
Just seeing someone wearing their FORT bracelet makes our day.  Something SO little…

Donny's nephew Ryan had a tryout for the NFL…he wore it too.

And Melissa's friends occasionally send us notes or messages about little stories they remember about her.  Or pictures they find that they know we would love.

So if you ever wonder if you should make that phone call, or send that picture or story if it really matters…it DOES.  

We talk all the time about downsizing.  Getting rid of all the clutter…all the things that we've held onto for years … for WHAT?  I look in some of the boxes of things we've packed away and shake my head - why in the hell did I pack that?  Why didn't I just get rid of it????

Funny how your priorities change when you lose a child.  Things that used to be important - material things specifically - just seem, I don't know, trivial?  

Important things are the memories.  The stories.  And pictures.  

Thank you Jim Jabir, Ryan, Stacy, Annie, Ang, Lola, Kat, Tammy & Philly, Crazy Legs, KJ, Stewy, Pauly, Netti, Krause, Aunt Helen, Jami, Jeanette,Amber ….OMG, I need to go through all my things and get EVERYONE's name who has remembered Melissa with a story, pictures, memory.  I wish I could thank you all personally.  Maybe I shouldn't list names because I can't think of them all right now, but I want you to know that we appreciate what you do.  That you remember Melissa (FORT) to us.

Please don't stop.  

And of course the big things make us happy too.  The FORT 5K - sponsored by the Fairmont Girls Basketball team this year - THANK YOU Lacy Romine and all the coaches and parents (Shannon Hughes) for working on making this a huge event.  There's another quilt being raffled off this year - this  one will have a FORT 5K t-shirt in the center.  Haven't seen it yet, but I've heard it's beautiful!

This year's 5K will be held Saturday April 25 at Trent Arena (just like last year) - besides the 5K, there will be baskets and the quilt raffle.  

You can register online ( - or you can register the day of the event!

Hope we see you there!



Hard to believe, but Andrew is 7….I look back on his baby pictures of him with Melissa…and makes me sad that he doesn't remember her.  But he KNOWS her.  Even have videos of him with her.

It was a fun day - a party at Wings and Rings with his friends and their parents.  Melissa was there too… heard Viva La Vida playing during the party!  Another little thing that makes us happy!

I love the "silly" pictures.  Always the best!

Our birthday boy!

Andrew and G.G.

His favorite. Legos.  Put together in a little over an hour.

Since they were on spring break on different weeks, I got to spend 
time with them individually…took each of them to the
Air Force Museum.  Great way to wear them out, 
and they love it!

Nap time!

And of course got to spend Easter Sunday with them…
another little thing that makes us happy.

On the way to visit Melissa on Easter Sunday, we pulled up behind this car.
A FORTE with an OHIO University license.  Perfect.  Another sign.
Another "little thing" that makes us SO happy.
We love you and miss you so much Melissa-so happy you haven't forgotten us!

Another little thing that makes me really happy?  My dad is happy.  My first priority was that he was safe…and I found a place where he is safe.  And, it's only been a couple of weeks, but I think he's finding his nitch in his new place.  Yesterday they had "Karaoke with Irv" and Ice Cream.  I told him the other day it sounded like he was making a lot of new friends,  He said "Yeah.  Everybody's getting to know me."    I shouldn't be surprised.  He's very social.  I just didn't think it would happen so soon.

So for us, we are getting rid of the clutter in our life - in lots of ways.  Hanging on to all the memories, appreciate the important things…family, friends and our kids friends too.  

Anybody need anything?  We probably have it.

Have a great week.

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