Time Moving Forward…

Days turned to weeks, then weeks to months and then suddenly months have turned to years. The first birthday I spent without Heather I awoke to have my phone blown up with lots of text messages of friends and loved ones sending their love on this most difficult day. I was overcoming with the overwhelming amount of support thru text and Facebook messages on that day. The next few years many remembered and sent me messages, but the numbers got less and less.

The last several years to mark her birthday I have asked for people to post photos of them eating cookies or cranberry bliss bar to let me know they remember her birthday as well. The first year it was widely received and I had nearly 50 people remember Heather’s birthday. Those made me feel very loved. With the events of her 29th birthday in 2016 during our trip to Hong Kong the support was overwhelming as Bill got deathly ill in Manila.

Fast forward to the 9th time of celebrating Heather’s birthday without her here, and the text messages were not there when I woke up. There were a couple of text messages but not many. This year was her milestone birthday of 30 years since she was born. I had a few post cookies and send wishes but time has moved on and so have many who swore they would remember forever. I guess forever is a few short years to some and then they move on.

I do understand that the world moves on, however for me the two most monumental days of my existence are December 10th, 1987 when Heather was born and then April 20th, 2009 the day Heather died and my world changed forever. I understand that people get busy with their lives but for me it is a constant point in my life that Heather is forever missing.

Family and some friends gave us a year to grieve and then they expected us to be “like we were,” and “ back to our normal selves.” The life altering events of 2008 and 2009 have changed me forever and I will never be back to the “old” me. How could anyone go thru what we did and not be changed. People expecting me to be “normal’ are being selfish and expecting more than is humanly possible for me to do. Their expectations of my life and me are not real and therefore I have cut them out of my life.

This year is not only Heather’s milestone 30th birthday but also the jumping point in the 10th anniversary of cancer. While cancer will be 10 years, April 20th, 2018 also begins the 10th marking of all the events without Heather before we get the actual 10th year date. In the beginning I could never imagine surviving the year let alone 2 years, then 6 years and suddenly 10 years. While many have moved on and that is fine as I have new friends that I feel are family and they have patience with me and allow me to talk and vent. Walking the journey with a grieving mother is not easy, or fun, or happy; everyday can turn into a down day with a smell, word or sight.

This holiday season is the 9th year without Heather and it really isn’t any easier. As a matter of fact this holiday season was just weird and I personally glad to be past Christmas. Heading into 2018 brings lots of emotions and I am not sure how I feel about being 10 years past.

“ Imagine being separated from your child for the rest of your life.

Imagine never being able to see her, touch her, hold her, hear her voice, her laugh or see her smile again.

Imagine a violent period permanently placed where there should have been the endless run-on sentence of adulthood.

Imagine your garage filled with sharpie marked boxes of your daughter’s entire life, the clothes she wore yet will never wear again.

Imagine looking at the last photo you took of her without knowing it would be the last.


Imagine not being able to watch your child continue their life.

Imagine waking up to a living nightmare that never ends.

This is how the death of a child feels, every second of every day, for bereaved parents everywhere.

This is why my grief lasts my lifetime…

~Adapted from Angela Miller

Happy 30th Birthday…

Memories pressed between the pages of my mind
Memories sweetened through the ages just like wine
1st Christmas-6 days old-1987
Christmas 1988
September 1990
Quiet thought come floating down and settle softly to the ground
Like golden autumn leaves around my feet
I touched them and they burst apart with
Sweet memories, Sweet memories
4th Birthday-sparkle Minnie Mouse
Age 5
March 1995
Of holding hands and red bouquets
And twilight trimmed in purple haze
And laughing eyes and simple ways
And quiet nights and gentle days with you
Christmas 2005
Christmas 2005
18th Birthday
Memories pressed between the pages of my mind
Memories sweetened through the ages just like wine
Summer 2006
Christmas 2008
21st Birthday
Quiet thought come floating down and settle softly to the ground
Like golden autumn leaves around my feet
I touched them and they burst apart with
Sweet memories, Sweet memories
21st Birthday

Mind Vs Body…

  • The element, part, substance, or process that thinks, feels, wills, perceives, judges, etc
  • The totality of conscious and unconscious mental processes and activities
  • Intellect or understanding, as distinguished from the faculties of feeling and willing; intelligence
  • The physical structure and material substance os an animal, plant or human; living or dead

Ever have a moment when you think you hear something, go to check it out only to find it was nothing? you may say “oh my mind is playing tricks on me.” For several years since Heather’s death I have stated that my body knows the calendar so will that it reminds me of days and dates before my mind realizes it. Now I am not so sure. I think my mind is playing tricks on me and forcing my body to go along for the ride whether it wants to or not.IMG_3427 2I felt fairly good in November and had begun to pick up the training plan for the Princess Half Marathon when suddenly it seemed that my body revolted and began to hurt and feel extreme fatigue. I chalked this up to a small fibromyalgia flare and began doing everything possible to try to ease this hurting in my body. The day of Thanksgiving came and I felt horrible; hurting from head to toe, feeling sick to my stomach and fatigued. The next day I felt much better. I thought this meant my body was playing trick on me.

I enjoy having a Fitbit-HR that tells me my resting heart rate and my sleeping patterns. This past week my resting heart rate has been 4-6 points higher than usual. I noticed this while I was at WDW and on the cruise in April. I knew then it was “the dreaded date” that was playing tricks on me. Here again, I believed this to be my body acting to ways my mind can’t control. After beginning this blog I now realize this is my mind playing tricks on my body.

Today, is December 1st and my dark cloud is hanging very low over the top of me. I find it horrible that a mother would dread her child’s birthday so much that she wants the day to disappear. This is just not right at all. I want to remember Heather, but December 10th has been such a date in our household, that I don’t really know what to do with myself. For 21 years Heather’s birthday took place before Christmas would begin. Yes, the decorations were up and some would bring her gifts rapped in Christmas paper, but I made sure she always had one big gift for Birthday and one for Christmas.IMG_3604 2For the last 9 years I have tried to mark this day in special and different ways, including blood drives for two years and now going to a Disney place of some kind. While this is great and good and fun, it will never bring Heather back. I can’t hold her, hug her, listen to her laugh or sing happy birthday while she blows out the candles. This is not fair in any way, shape or form. This will never be right.

My sleeping has gotten restless, lack of deep sleep and it takes forever to fall asleep now. I feel sick to my stomach most days and I don’t feel like cooking. My body aches, I have extreme fatigue and the lack of energy to do anything. I realized this is my mind playing tricks on my body. I am trying to be upbeat and keep myself busy but it doesn’t seem to be helping much. I know my friends don’t know what to say or how to help. I am sure they are getting tired of hearing this year after year; as I am tired of saying it year after year.IMG_3595 2 I have put my training for the Princess Half Marathon on hold till I get passed Heather’s birthday. I never thought one day I would have to just get passed a birthday. I have to be able to get some training in as I have a mind that made a commitment that I need my body to agree with.

Dark Cloud…

I knew you would show up as you do every year, of course this year is no different. All I want to do is make it thru Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years in peace and some joy. But when you arrive you haven’t showered and you smell of horrible BO, you also bring those stinky cigars that mess with the winter fragrance of the season. I can’t really predict when you come to visit but this year I have felt you creeping up the back of my neck for weeks. Suddenly this week you also wrecked more havoc by adding extreme fatigue to go along with you. You make me want to stay at home and not go anywhere, make me feel sick to my stomach and relish the moment the holidays are just over. What guest am I speaking of you ask? Why it is grieving seasonal depression.

To the world Thanksgiving and Christmas are all about families, traditions and being together. For the grieving mother it is more of a reminder of the one missing forever from the holidays. This year I have been trying to train for the Princess half marathon during the holidays, but have come to the point that I physically hurt too much to try right now. I have been feeling really discouraged and questioning why I am trying to run when it finally hit me that it is the smelly old man depression that has waltzed back in. I truly feel this season is worse in some ways and very different in other ways. This December 10th would have been Heather’s 30th birthday. That alone is very hard to deal with. What would she want to do if she was here? It is one of those milestone events and once again she is not here to celebrate. The other reason it is different is heading into 2018 it is the 10th anniversary of cancer diagnosis. WOW!! How did that happen? It is clear and vivid in my mind as if it was yesterday. 10 Years is not possible. However the 10th year cancer also means the 10th anniversary of her death is racing towards me.

I have the house decorated for Christmas and the Christmas newsletter is done and all mailed. However, I have taken time off from training to heal and rest. Fibromyalgia and long distance running don’t mix and when you add some depression it really can mess you up.

Today is Thanksgiving and I am too fatigued to cook. The whole family isn’t going to really be together so a big meal is not really ideal. Not to mention the fact that I have no energy to prepare all the day before items, cook all the food and then clean up. The mom that I once was would never have considered not cooking for Thanksgiving. That was the old me and the new me just isn’t up to a big meal this year. Especially when I plan to cook a big meal in 30 days for Christmas.

In 2008, I fixed a grand, glorious meal as we had so much to be thankful for. I never ever dreamed it would be Heather’s last Thanksgiving. When you gather around your table with friends and family, hug those people a little bit tighter. Just just don’t know what the next year will have in store for you.


1. A limiting condition; restrictive weakness; lack ofcapacity; inability or handicap
2. Something that limits; a limit or bound; restriction
I personally have never been one to walk away from anything. If someone, anyone tells me I can’t do something I usually have to do it to prove to them there isn’t anything I can’t do.
In 2000, Awana was celebrating their 50th anniversary and they created a special Citation award that is awarded to high schoolers in 12th grade that completed all 10 Awana book from 3rd-12th grade. To complete the books, you memorize over 1200 Bible verses with references, read the entire Bible and give a summary of each book of the bible, missionary projects and other areas of service. Well, I decided I wanted the special Citation and I had completed the 3rd grade book and half of the 4th grade book. I was told I could never  finish that amount of work in less than a year. So, from August 1999 to April 2000 I completed all the requirements to receive the special Citations award for that year.

I took on the role of extreme protector the moment Heather was diagnosed with cancer. I never backed down and I fired, doctors, nurses, made sure everyone knew I was in charge and fought tooth and nail for Heather. I have gotten a job at the Disney Store here in Chandler for the 2014 holiday season and was an Assistant Manager at Harkins in 2015. I fought the cemetery, got on the news, made my fight known and didn’t back down. Even though that did not turn out the way I expected in the end I am happy that I have Heather’s ashes back home with me.

IMG_3253 2
Heather and my’s first 5K, October, 2008. It took almost an hour and a half to walk and allow Heather to rest. She was less than 30 days from her in hospital chemo and was still very weak.
I didn’t back down from seeing thru the dream of having Heather’s story told in a book, nor the follow up book about being a grieving mother. My greatest and toughest role is shouting at the top of my lungs that Heather lived and the injustices that are done to grieving mothers. This I will never back down from, while I was not asked, I will never be the “normal” grieving mother that lives the bad days in silence.
Ever since my fibromyalgia diagnosis in 2015 I have tried and tried not to allow that to define me. The struggle is real and not in my head. I kept pushing till I recently got amazing drugs to help with my sleeping problems and not just sleeping pills. I push to find the answers to medical issues and don’t just settle.

I posted that my goals and plans for 2018 is to run 2 half marathons or 13.1 miles twice. It was announced recently that for the 2018 year there would be no runDisney events held at Disneyland because of the construction for the new Star Wars land, the new hotel, and the adding of Marvel land to California Adventure. This meant that I would not be able to get my Coast to Coast medal to run on both Florida and California coast in 2018. I began to think that I wanted to run a half marathon in Paris to get my castle to chateau medal.

IMG_3292 2
five blisters in one spot. Running now is a gel blister bandaid with duct tape
I am into my 8th week since beginning my training again because of my hip flexor and psoas muscle injury. I began very slowly and am currently running 2.5 miles every Tuesday and Thursday and a long run on Saturday. This last Saturday, 11/11, I ran 5 miles and walked an additional 1/2 mile home. The plan adds one mile each week. There are currently 14 weeks left till the Princess Half Marathon. I am staying steady each week and putting the roadwork in. My miles are hanging between 13:30 to 14 minutes per mile, which is a good time and well below the 16 minute mile pace required. IMG_3291 2

While I am running. walking or crawling to the finish line for Princess, I have decided that long distance running is not for me and my fibromyalgia. I am pushing the limits on the long run/walk and so far have not hurt myself, but once I complete my goal of the PHM, the longest runs I will be doing are 5Ks and 10Ks. I have nothing to be ashamed of as I tried it, I completed it and mostly I want to be able to function day to day. My hip is not completely healed and I don’t want to do damage to myself that is permanent.

IMG_3264 2
My run from Saturday Nov. 11
My goal to run a half marathon for Heather pushes my limits to levels I have never known. The journey isn’t just the race, it is what I have been able to accomplish training for the race. When I signed up with Children’s Miracle Network my amount I needed to raise was $1200, to date, when I get the Chipotle check added in, I will have raised over $4100 for CMN. I am very proud of all the love and support I have had from friends. I have made amazing Facebook running friends that support me as well. The things I have learned along the way are just a valuable as the race and the medal itself.
I might be slightly broken, a little bruised and even permanently scarred. But I wake up everyday with a tremendous will to fight. I am a strong woman who refuses to be defeated.