A Night to Remember…

It has been several years since I have posted about the Grand Ball and I thought maybe people would like to know about the Ball and happy of a moment in time it was for all of us.

I know my brain processed things differently than most everyone else does, and especially since the cancer and death of Heather. When I found out Heather was in remission, the only thing that came to my mind was to have a party. This seemed normal to me to celebrate. Of course, my party planning turned from a party into the Grand Duchess Cancer Survivor Grand Ball. I rented a resort ballroom and began searching for all the right decorations for a Princess-type ball. The more I planned, the bigger it got. I just thought it would be the best way to celebrate cancer being gone, honoring Heather, and to thank medical staff, family, and friends for all their support during her treatments. The friends that prayed, cleaned my house, collected our mail, brought meals, and helped keep us going deserved to be thanked as well. The nurses told me they had never been invited to such a party before.

The colors for the ball were pink, black, and white. Heather’s favorite princess was Aurora, otherwise known as Sleeping Beauty. The ball was tiaras, castles, glass slippers, and everything else that goes with a true princess. She tried to find a pink dress but really could not find something that looked right. I decided to take her to a dress and bridal shop to take a look. We ended up at Susanne’s Bridal in Gilbert. Heather tried on many dresses, but none of them looked or felt right. She could possibly have been affected by the steroids during the ball and would need a dress that could adjust for the swelling that occurred with steroids. Finally the gal that helped us brought out one final dress; it was blue, but she decided to give it a try. It was PERFECT! She knew the moment she slipped it on that this was the ball gown for her. I could tell by the look in her eyes that she loved it. It was a bit more costly than I expected, but the look on Heather’s face was priceless when I told the salesperson we would take it. I had not seen her so excited for a very long time.
Heather decided that she would be Cinderella with the blue gown instead of Aurora. Her next task was to find her “glass” slippers. She managed to find some thin metal mesh shoes with crystals on them. They were perfect as well. The last thing I needed to make her night complete was a white limo to take her to the ball. I had checked before, and they were very expensive. I called Desert Rose, the limousine service, and told them my plans, and they were eager to help. They would already be over on our side of town and had hours to kill before they would pick up their other customers. They charged me very little and were happy to help me out. Now everything was absolutely perfect for my Princess Heather.

Saturday, November 8, the day of the Grand Ball arrived, and it was busy. The first thing I did was go get my hair done, and I was really excited because I had never had my hair done before. It was wonderful, and I enjoyed every minute of it. Our family all met for lunch and then stopped by the golf resort to check on the decorations. I had a vision in my mind, but nothing prepared me for how beautiful it all came together. All the tables were perfect. They were named after Disney princesses, and then placed in the center of the table was a description of each princess. The linens were white with black cloth napkins; the pink program was placed on the plates and the glass slipper party favors with the pink M&M’s were placed at the top. Each table had a metallic one-foot-tall 3-D castle on a mirror with tiara tea lights placed around the castle in the center. The cake table had pink tulle around a stunning three-tiered wedding-style cake that was white and pink with tiaras on it. Clear crystals were placed on the pink tulle and a spotlight was placed under the floor length table cloth to illuminate the table.

It was time to get ready, and the royal family left early to get things in place before the Duchess Heather arrived. Each guest was handed a sparkler, and they lined the walkway where Heather would enter. All the guests were dressed in their finest clothes, and it had just turned dark when the white limo arrived with Heather. She looked stunning and was so happy. It was as if cancer had never entered our world. All our family, friends, and most all, the medical staff smiled and blew kisses and were in awe at how beautiful she looked.Our evening began with a toast from Dave Martin, Heather’s third grade teacher and close family friend. Next came our new friend, Nurse Gayle, and the toasts ended with Bill and me expressing our thanks and extreme joy at reaching this moment. Then the buffet was opened, and the food and fun began. Everyone ate, visited and had a great time. After dinner it was dessert time, and Heather cut the cake while Jenn, Wendy, and I looked on. Each guest was served the most delicious cake with a hand-dipped chocolate strawberry. The evening was over much too quickly, and all too soon it was time to pack up and go home.

Heather rode home in an open-top Jeep with Wendy and a friend. She still had her ball gown on but had taken off her wig because she did not want it to get wind-blown. She was laughing and giggling as they came in the door and told us about the crazy looks people gave them when they stopped at red lights and they saw her all dressed up with no hair. We all went out into the back yard and lit the rest of the sparklers as we laughed and talked about the evening. Some people had brought cards and gifts to celebrate the end of cancer and Heather opened those. Bill was also our official photographer, and we looked at all the wonderful photos of the night. It had been a glorious evening and was best described as a wedding reception without the groom. Heather asked me later if that was what it felt like to be a bride. I told her yes. She told me she loved being dressed up and she had the best time. She gave me a big hug and kiss and told me she loved me to the moon and back. I hugged her tightly and told her I loved her to the sky and back as I held my Little Dolly Girl.

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