Saturday, October 31, 2015

Another visit from Fort!

Not to me this time...

This visit came to Paula, Nick's best friend's mom.  She knew Melissa very well.  Paula also lost a sister, and Paula is a believer in communicating with lost loved ones too.

We haven't seen Paula in a long time until recently - her granddaughter, Emily (Mike's daughter) is a cheerleader for Andrew's team.  So we've seen her at a couple of games.  But she hasn't been to our house in probably 20 years, and did not know about the importance of butterflies to us.

A couple of weeks ago, one of her sisters was cleaning out a house of a hoarder.  She gave a lot of things to Paula, which she would go through and either keep, pitch or give to AmVets.  She was putting this box on the pile for AmVets, and she suddenly had this overwhelming feeling that Melissa was there.  Then she heard Melissa say "give it to my mom.  she'll want it."  Paula did not tell her husband, her son Mike or anyone.  She really felt like they would all think she was crazy.  But she knew she wanted to get it to me - and she knew she would see us at the football game.

So she comes over, hands me this bag with a box in it and says "I have no idea why, but Melissa wanted me to give this to you..."

When I opened it, she said "Does it mean anything to you?"

Of course, if you've been to our house (and Paula hasn't for a LONG time) you would know that there are butterflys everywhere here.  Even in our backyard - several solar butterflies surrounding the backyard.  She had no idea.

I have no doubt that Melissa visited Paula and told her to give them to me...because Melissa would KNOW that I would know it was her!  

She comes through pretty strong still.  

We couldn't be happier....a great way to start an otherwise dreary Saturday - Andrew's team wins and we get a gift from Melissa.  

It's going to be a great weekend!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

October...a bittersweet month

Just checked in on FB and saw that Jen "Smitty", one of Fort's rugby coaches shared the link for the article from the Dayton Daily News that was written about Melissa for Breast Cancer Awareness month after she passed away.  Since the blog address is at the end of the article, thought it was time to post again.

I'm not as good about updating as Melissa was, but this is a good time to post - being Breast Cancer Awareness Month...JP's birthday month, and  my sister Sue's birthday (Melissa's Godmother).

October is bittersweet.  I love it and I hate it.

I love it  because I love the change of seasons.  I love the smells, the colors, football, rugby.

I hate it because I hate the change of seasons...another season without Melissa.  She loved the fall.  It was her favorite season.  She loved the colors, the smells, rugby.  She loved anything pumpkin, candles, food.  She should be here enjoying it with me.  I should be celebrating my grandson's birthday...and my sister's birthday.  WITH them.

But my sadness doesn't keep me from enjoying life.  I keep that sadness inside (although I do share a fair amount of articles on losing a child, which might lead some to believe that's all I think about).  Don't get me wrong.  I DO think about her every day.  After almost seven years, I smile more about her life.  I try not to think about her death.

I love that her friends still remember.  The Kelts still have the annual Breast Cancer fundraiser.

Curt, ?, John

I love that the green FORT shirt is still out there!

Kat (former teammate of Fort's), Donny, Chris, me

me & Angie (former teammate of Fort's)

Donny & (forget his name :(  - he's a new Kelt - 2009.  Never knew Fort, but knows all about her!

Me & Melissa at a Kelt's fundraiser.  This was the week before we did the 3 Day, 60 mile walk in Atlanta!

Melissa & Pauly - he organized the first fundraisers.
Donny, Netti (former teammate of Forts-organized the most recent fundraisers!) and me

I love that her friends still share her story - Jen "Smitty" shared the article on Facebook today.  Then one of her best friends from high school - Josh - shared it too.

Melissa & Josh 

Her nephews, Andrew & Max remember her too.  They made posters about Aunt Fort for the Sprinboro Panther's Breast Cancer Awareness Walk...

If you read the article I posted "The Seven Things I've Learned Since the Loss of My Child".
# 7 was about how we enjoy life even more now because we understand how short life is.  
You might not think that, but Donny & I DO find enjoyment in life - with our grandsons, Nick & Mere, traveling, and with old friends who hung with us and new friends we've found through Compassionate Friends.  Life is different.  We struggle every day with the fact that our daughter is not here (and WE WILL see her again someday-we look forward to THAT!), but we are living our life the best we can.  I struggle with the fact that I don't have my daughter to talk call when I want to talk to go on Mother Daughter weekends like we used to.  I MISS HER.  And I also remember that I have my son to talk to, and spend time with, which we do daily.  

We travel-just went to Myrtle Beach for five days - Donny was in a softball tournament.

Spend time with my grandsons - (every time I have them, we go on a field trip!)

I think Melissa would be proud.  She would be proud of her nephews.  She would be proud of her brother.  She would be proud of her friends... We all find a way to keep living and remember her in the process.  I think she would be proud of me & her dad too.  It's hard to live this life when all you want to do is remember, but you have to live on.  There is no other choice.  

One more thing, I want to remember my sister Sue.  Tomorrow would be her 55th birthday.  She was Melissa's Godmother.  I miss her every day too - she was my rock after Melissa died.  She called me EVERY SINGLE DAY.  I miss that too.  

Happy Birthday Sue.  You will always be remembered!  I LOVE YOU!

Sue & Melissa 

Sue on her 50th birthday.

Melissa & Aunt Sue

Melissa with Sue at her college graduation

Me & Sue.  All smiles.

Melissa - all smiles

Had to add this one too - Mere, Melissa & me.  Melissa LOVED Mere.  That's why Nick married her. I'm not kidding.  Melissa had to give her approval. Oh the stories I can tell about THAT.


One more thing I want to add here.  If you haven't had your shingles vaccine, get it.  Even before you are 60.  One in three people will get shingles.  I am one in three.  Found out two days before we went to Myrtle Beach that I have them.  The rash came the day after I found out - fortunately my doctor wrote me a prescription for an anti-viral med.  That helped with the rash, but not the pain.  It is nerve pain...hard to describe, but VERY painful.  Finally got a pain med to help me sleep.  I'm functioning, but with a lot of pain.

As soon as I'm over this, I'm getting the vaccine - because you can get it again.  That is NOT happening if I have anything to do with it!  

Take care of yourself, enjoy every minute of every day, and get the shingles vaccine!

Love you, miss you Fort.  Every minute of every day.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Happy Birthday JP!

Dear Melissa,
I promised you that we would always remember JP's birthday.  So today, I stopped by the cemetery and sang Happy Birthday to him and left him a Happy Birthday Balloon...and all I could think of was "we should be celebrating his 12th birthday.  With his mom and his dad and Nick and Mere and Andrew & Max. "  I will never understand.  But one thing I know-you get to celebrate with your son. Somehow that is comforting to me.  Doesn't make me miss you any less though.  I love you and miss you both more than you will ever know.

Mom & Dad

Dear JP,

Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy birthday JP, Happy Birthday to you!!!!

How I wish you were here.  We were talking to my cousin Greg the other day - his 12 year old son was refereeing a soccer game - all I could think was "JP would be 12.  Would he be playing soccer? Who would he look like? "  I know you would be smart and funny.  Just like your mom and dad.
I remember the day you were born...we were so excited for your arrival.  Just didn't expect you that early.  You were beautiful.  Dark hair, all your fingers and all your toes.  I got to hold you and tell you I loved you.  You were so tiny.

You probably know this, but every year I remember (to my kids and grandkids) the story of the day they were born.  Because those are the days I will never forget.

How I wish you were here.  I promised your mom that we would always remember your birthday. And we will always remember you.

We love you JP.  Happy 12th Birthday - I know you and your mom are celebrating in heaven.

Pamma and Pop Pop