The fourth Christmas …

To my friends in both my real and online world,

Merry Christmas to everyone and to those who have sent special messages. So many messages I have received in the past week and I have felt badly because I haven’t been able to answer each message like I would have liked to but it’s way to hard emotionally to do so right now.  The band-aid got kind of wet and started to peel away from the ‘ouch’.  I know (for real) that there are other parents out there going through the same kind of emotional upheaval right now and it doesn’t seem to matter if it is Christmas #1 or Christmas #12.

So, if there is no immediate reply from me, it’s not that I am ignoring you. It’s that I am struggling with what to say and my emotions. As I might have mentioned before, this is the 4th Christmas with Amanda gone. It feels just like the first one with the deep sighs and sadness. I personally am not feeling that it gets easier with each year going by because the loss is still there. It’s not about forgetting or getting over it. It’s about missing someone you loved. Yes certainly, we have other family that we love and care about. And we don’t love them any less. There is just a hole and a crack in the heart –> and all the crazy glue, sticky tape, duct tape or whatever else you might want to try won’t mend that heart totally. Now I know how Humpty Dumpty felt.

My day with my family was good.  I still miss Amanda being Santa Claus and handing out the presents.  Or her squealing over the new Justin Bieber CD or the new colours of nail polish.  Amanda always brought life and spirit into our days.  So instead, the kitten has the spirit that Amanda possessed.   Watching the kitten play with the paper and jump all over the plastic bags that made crunching noises.  But .. the kitten (I found out today) also likes to eat raw bacon and lick the chip dip bowl.  (I only turned around for a second.)  And —> I only misplaced one present this  year and it belonged to Charlee the terrier.  I will find his present eventually somewhere in the house.

The other day I put out on my Facebook that if anyone didn’t have a place to go for Christmas, my door was open.   Someone took me up on it and messaged me.  He only wanted a homecooked meal.  I wasn’t sure that he was going to be able to find his way to the alcoves of Port Coquitlam but he managed to find his way.  Rob cooked the #awesomely #yummy turkey as he usually does.

Donald arrived and I went into mother mode.  Making sure he was fed healthy snacks before dinner.  Okay – he liked the potato chips but I threw in some apples, grapes and bananas in there too.  I literally was fascinated by the amount of food he could pack into his body.  Before he left, he had a new duffle bag to use for all his things, new warm soft socks, a jacket, a hoody and clean Bouncy smelling clothes.  We managed to find him a place to stay for the week also at a minimal cost.

My experiences this Christmas season have been phenomenal for #givingback.  Some on my own and some with Amanda’s Legacy.  These were some of the notables:

  • $200 worth of food items for the Food Bank
  • 100 snowflake cookies for a group of students who promote Random Acts of Caring at a middle school
  • Support with the giveaways of toques, mittens and socks for the LookOut Centre in Surrey BC
  • Finding a safe and warm place for Donald to stay for a week along with some food items and toiletries to help him get through the week until he gets his paycheque

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It feels good to give back. It filled a part of the void where Amanda is not there.  Another story was shared with me from someone in Nova Scotia: “There honestly has to be more nice people and less bad people in this world. Everyone should treat with respect as we are all human. That’s so nice of you though, I bet it made the guy the happiest. It’s always the kindest people too that have no home. I can just imagine how happy that fella would be! I can relate to that. I was fishing once and I was catching a bunch, there was a older guy beside me and he wasn’t catching anything, he never had the right set up cause he couldn’t afford it so I walked over gave him 5 dozen fish he was unbelievably happy he said now he will have food for the table then he offered me a little money that he had but I said no you keep buy stuff you need. He was really happy, it makes me happy when I can make someone else happy.”

 

If I could make one suggestion this Christmas Day, it would be to take some time to reflect on life in general – thinking about what you have and don’t have and what you want out of your life.  Reality is that we are here on earth for a short time and if you could be remembered for one thing, what would it be.  Sometimes all it takes is a ‘Hi – how are you?’ or ‘What can I do to help you?’

We all think of Amanda but we need to remember that all she really wanted was for someone to stop and ask how she was doing or to help make her bullies stop.  I received a post on my You Tube wall that I am trying to find the source of.  I will write about it in the next couple of weeks.  Until then, all it takes is a CARING SMILE and a HELPING HAND.

#Kindness365    #KindnessCounts  #here4u

 

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Happy 19th birthday Amanda!!

Dear Amanda

Today you would have turned #19.  This was one of the anticipated birthdays you were looking forward to other than #16.  But it is sad to say (again) that you won’t ever experience it in the real world.  I often wonder what you would be like.  Would your spirit have been alive again if you hadn’t had that awful Thanksgiving weekend and that horrible experience you came home to tell me about.  If you had been able to sleep better that weekend.  If others had just left you alone.

During the 3 years since your death, I have been able to both meet and connect with many parents whose kids have also taken their lives or died by tragic means.  There is one mom in particular that I met for the first time in September.  We sat for a couple of hours, drank tea and  just talked about her daughter and you.  The one thing I have learned is that I am not alone in this journey.  Some define it as a horrific journey.  It can be.  But I am trying to make it as positive as I can.

As parents who have lost, we all share the common bond by feeling the same way and thinking the same thoughts.  Those thoughts include how much we miss you our kid(s).  I have to say that when you left this earth, a part of not only my heart but the hearts of others – some who had never known you – was taken and torn apart.  But where is the regeneration of parental spirit?  I have to shrug and say I am not sure.  As parents who have lost a child,  we walk the walk and talk the talk.  We put our energies into our surviving children if we can and gather support from others who are now in the #FAC group.

I want you to know Amanda, that you are leading me in this path of making differences.  You are also pulling complete strangers along in this journey also.  You have been added to 4 post secondary text books in the past 6 months for a total of about 9 texts.  There are musicians, poets, artists, theatre people, sports people (and many more) who you have inspired to make a shift in not only their thinking but of others.  Your story is synonymous with tragedies which unfortunately still occur.  But your story is also making people sit up and talk more with others who can help them — young people, young older people and much older people.

If you could see how the symbol of a snowflake has influenced others to think about both you and the cause, it would amaze you.  Your dream of one day being put in a position to be known has happened. I just wish you were here to see it.

This week we decorated a Christmas tree at the PoCo Rec Centre for your legacy.  In tradition, your tree was filled with purple, snowflakes and bling.  It had the #kindness cards made by other students to share the message of #understanding, #empathy and #tolerance.  You would have loved to do this.   The tree at home will go up in a couple of weeks.  It will be filled with the special ornaments from you and your brother.

Tomorrow, as  you turn #19 in the spiritual world, many of us will be thinking of you and the way you send signals to us in so many different ways.  With snowflakes.  With your numbers.  With your presence. We will be sure to raise a glass to you and what you have done to make many of us wake up and open our eyes to the deliberate evilness of some people.

This wasn’t the teary post I expected to write.  I had my emotional moment at Safeway this afternoon.  You share a birthday with a set of twins.  Same date. Same age.  But born in different hospitals.   Myself and so many others will be turning on our Christmas lights for you tomorrow as was the tradition in our family.  For others, it might be wearing purple.  Or lighting a candle.  Or finding a snowflake or putting one down somewhere.  Either way, know that you are missed.

You are ever so loved and ever so missed.

Love you always my Princess Snowflake!!

Hugs and kisses from your mommy always xoxo

 

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Traditions – Getting the Christmas Lights ready for November 27th

It’s that time of year again ~~ almost Amanda’s birthday.  There are snowflakes in the forecast for November 26th. What if …

Clearly we remember the tradition of our household.  When Amanda was alive, it was important that we get the Christmas lights up before her actual birthday so that they could be turned on November 27th.  Mom would take Amanda out and because it turned dark early, when we pulled up to the house, someone was always home to turn on the switch.  That tradition is still going.  The lights to my house will be up and on the evening of November 27th.

I am asking anyone else who can also turn on their Christmas lights for November 27th, take a photo to let me know … all I can say is ‘Thank You’.  It is a gesture.  One that is filled with kindness, caring and compassion.  If you can’t do lights, then you can also light a candle ~~ for Amanda and for her mom.

This would have also been Amanda’s 19th birthday.  One of those special ones because in British Columbia, you are legally allowed to drink at 19.  I know she would have been looking forward to being able to walk in a pub, bar and/or nightclub and show her ID to prove she was of legal age.  We missed 16.  We missed 19.  (Painfully sad)

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