Traditions

tumblr_my3vmd0r9m1r71b95o1_1280Merry Merry Christmas!! WOW! Hard to believe we are wrapping up Christmas 2016. Today was magical… Christmas with a two year old is pretty amazing. Riley has had a blast all day and has kept us all well distracted.  It’s hard not to be happy around Riley Kate she just exudes happiness. Patrick has been a great Big Brother and has for the most part happily obliged to playing kitchen and cash register with Riley in between shooting his new Bee Bee Gun ( yes, I know… we moved to NH and we are all Live Free or Die now) and playing some fun board games, and practicing magic tricks.

This year we decided to stay home.  For the last two years we have spent it traveling to cousins and although nice to be with extended family… It’s hard when you have little ones and a broken heart to get up and out of the house.  When the opportunity arose for us to stay home… we decided to embrace it and make some new traditions for our family.

We started our day with PRESENTS!!! Riley was very happy with her Kitchen set and would have been happy with JUST that! She played with it from 730 AM until 830 pm.

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Patrick was very happy to see that Santa brought him the Xbox ONE he really wanted img_2984I really wanted a special way to include Katy in our Christmas morning traditions and I came up with the idea to have gifts to each of us wrapped in Katy’s stocking (not from Katy, but gifts that I think Katy would have picked for us and why)

This years gifts were:

Riley: Princess Ariel and her sisters for Riley’s Princess Castle.  Because Katy loved Ariel and she loves that Riley has so much fun playing with her castle.

Patrick: Beebees for his Beebe gun…because she was happy he got the gift he really really wanted.

Mommy: A snowflake pendant because Katy knows how much mommy loves the mountains and living here makes her happy.

Daddy: Shooting Goggles… because Katy is happy that daddy has made friends and makes time for himself to go shooting and hang with the “guys”.

Including Katy this way really helped set the tone for the day.  I probably wouldn’t have had the time to do it if we were rushing off to visit family.  So I am thankful we had the opportunity for this new tradition that will become a yearly tradition.

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After presents we headed to church for the pajamas and sleigh bells service! Which was so much fun and I am really glad we made time for it!

How blessed are we… Riley Kate dancing with our Pastor, Gail this morning!

Then we were home for board games and tea parties! Mike and I prepared a delicious dinner and a lovely day was had by all.

I hope that you and your family had a lovely day.  Wishing you lots of love and happiness in the coming year.

XO

Amiee

 

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Rockstar Status

It’s no secret that I am very protective about the use of the term rockstar… hearing the word thrown around willy nilly… makes me sad, often angry. I associate it with my Katy and the fight she had… and her ROCKSTAR status.

I want to tell you about another ROCKSTAR who also happens to be named Katie.  Rockstar is the only word I can use describe her because she shares so many of the same rockstar qualities that our Katy had.

Katie Tuscano and I went to college together and I was immediately drawn to her beautiful smile…she was a huge Katy cheerleader from the moment she met her and learned of our story.  Always checking in..asking how my girl was doing.  Comforting me on the hard days  over lunch at Panera.

After college Katie and I fell out of daily touch but Facebook kept us updated and especially kept Katie up to date on the happenings of Katy’s wait for a heart.  Katie always a kind a generous person would always have a sweet comment word for a particularly cute picture or a specifically hard day of bad news.

When Katy died… Katie sent me one of the most thoughtful gifts we received following Katy’s death.  She had a gorgeous fleece blanket made that was covered in beautiful pictures that she had picked out especially for me so I could wrap myself in Katy.

Six months after Katy’s death, Katie was in a horrific car accident that left her paralyzed.  I remember learning the news of Katie’s accident and feeling completely hopeless and terrified.  How could this happen to her…why Katie. She was so full of life.  She is such a good person. I honestly couldn’t cope with the information and I was afraid to reach out and talk to her, let alone see her.

After talking to some mutual friends and seeing her beautiful smile via Facebook I saw that this horrific accident didn’t change her…she was still my beautiful friend.

Katie and I began talking via FB messenger…and it felt so good to chat with my dear friend.

That is until she wanted to get together.  I didn’t want to see her.  I was too sad to see her. I couldn’t handle seeing her.

So I being a horrible friend put her off… but that Katie she is persistent. She told me she would be at Katy’s grave on her anniversary on August 16 and she couldn’t wait to see me and meet Riley.

Sure enough we pull into the cemetery and I spot Katie’s wheel chair van and the tears immediately start streaming down my face.  Not for my Katy, but for my friend Katie. Out she came with beautiful flowers for me and flowers for Katy.  I got to meet Katie’s beautiful mom Tricia and we had a lovely visit with Katy.

As it was getting time for us to leave Katie handed me an envelope and explained that as part of her settlement she had asked that the gentlemen that did this to her make a charitable donation in her name and she had chosen the Katy M Murphy Foundation as one of them. I was completely shocked and thankful, but also humbled that during what had to be her darkest days Katie was thinking of others and how she could help other people so that a she could spread some light from her tragic accident.

After we hugged and said our goodbyes. I opened the envelope expecting a small donation  for our newly established foundation… instead we received a substantial donation that will allow us to provide multiple headstones and many hours of clown care fun at Boston Children’s Hospital.  In addition to providing resources to grieving families.

And I left knowing that there was another ROCKSTAR here on earth.

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Spreading Katy’s Kindness

This weekend our family experienced a truly magical weekend. Together with two of our KMMF board members, Bethany and Liz  we ventured back to the hospital that we love so much. To drop off 920 TOYS in honor of Katy’s 9th birthday this month on December 20th.

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The toys we have collected for the last two months were piled high into a rented u Haul  (my mini van couldn’t house them all this year). These toys that were so lovingly picked out by all of YOU to be brought to Boston Children’s Hospital in honor of our little girl were escorted by the Arlington and Chelmsford Police with Patrick manning the sirens.

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I have been painstakingly working on my relationship with Katy and what parenting her now looks like.  This weekend it was clear that this is how I do that.  I’m parenting Katy when I work on her foundation, I’m parenting Katy when I share her story, I’m parenting Katy every moment of everyday just as I do Patrick and Riley. I’m still her mama and she is is still very much my daughter.

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For the first time in two and a half years I feel a bit of peace, a bit of happiness, a bit of excitement.  Is this the way I envisioned I would get to be Katy’s mama? Absolutely not! But, this is all I have.  This is my only option.  So I can choose to parent her by sharing her love and light and spreading her kindness. There are no other options.  This is all I get.  This is HOW I get to be her mom.  This is how I get to care for Katy and show my love for her.

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I still don’t know the why, and I doubt  I ever will.  I still don’t expect that this will ever be enough… I want so very badly to be driving her to ballet and soccer and painting her nails, and watching her interact with her brother and sister, most of all holding her and cuddling her and watching her grow up. But, I am learning to not question if every second of everyday, and to just be in the moment.  When I allow myself to just be in the moment I feel peace, happiness, and love.

Thanks to all who donated.  I can’t tell you what it means to us to be able to give back to the hospital that did so much for our daughter. We couldn’t have done it without you.

XO

Amiee

 

 

Abandoned

fullsizerender-2I was chatting with some of my bereaved mom friends and also my good friend Tom Zuba author of Permission to Mourn: A New Way to do Grief as I recently struggled with the impending Thanksgiving Holiday. Thanksgiving has been a struggle for me since even before Katy’s death.  It was hard to be thankful when I had a very sick child who fought for every year of her life.

So as hard as it is to find things to be thankful for now, this is not a new struggle of me.

In addition to still trying to navigate my way through my new normal and just barely cracking open this chapter of my life titled grief.  Life keeps happening, and it seems the hits keep on coming. As much as I wish the world would be a little kinder, a little gentler, the truth is most of our world has moved on and wishes or thinks that we should do.  I am here to say WE will never… I WILL NEVER move on.  I have no desire to move on and leave my daughter behind.  It’s just not going to happen.  If you need that to happen to help you in your grief then I will respect that but YOU will need to move on from me.

I am not over dramatic.I don’t cry too much,  everything just hurts and I suffer from PTSD and it’s a very real, very scary thing.  A topic for another time.

I am not  lazy. Grief is tiring and hard work.  It’s emotionally and physically draining.  I am sorry that I sometimes cancel plans at the last-minute.

I am not crazyI am sometimes not in my right mind, I find it hard to concentrate.  I lose my train of thought.  I’m forgetful.  

I am not stuck in the past. I am dedicated to keeping Katy’s memory alive and keeping her a part of our family, and ensuring that Patrick and Riley have a relationship with their Big Sister. 

Thanksgiving was difficult… not going to lie.  We ended up making the best of it for our two littles here on earth… and pray we made our KatyGirl proud.

We kept some traditions like making my mom’s homemade stuffing! This was Riley’s first year helping.

We also made some new ones… like eating Thanksgiving dinner in our jammies!! Patrick made a place setting for Katy so we lit a candle for her durng dinner.

Then we spent the afternoon playing Board Games! While Riley took her post tukey nap!

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