Colleen's Journey

Baby Steps…..

Its June and its HOT in Arizona!

I am anxiously awaiting July when our schedules lighten enough for us to spend a bunch of time at our cabin, where its always 35 degrees cooler! Glory! There is nothing like the sun shining through the pine trees and a cool breeze. Michelle and I have done tons of work on the cabin lately. We cleaned out every closet and cabinet. It looks amazing and our mom would be proud. We have been trying to do all the things she wanted to do up there, but didn’t have the energy to start. It’s weird calling it “our cabin,” because it has always been and will always be our mom’s cabin…she just can’t go there anymore with us, which is something we have not been able to come to terms with.

In about 2 weeks, we are coming upon the 4 month anniversary of her death. A few days after that, we will spread her ashes at the cabin with her siblings and mom. It will be special because its where mom really wanted some of her ashes placed. It pains me to think its been 4 months.

We had a few family milestones in the last month – Chloe graduated from Pre-K and had her first swim meet. Our mom wasn’t there. People probably thought I was a crazy-overly-emotional-mom because of my tears watching my baby do great things….but, truly, my tears were for my mom. Danielle, Michelle, Blake and my dad came to Chloe’s swim meet last week and we all stood at the end of the pool cheering Chloe on the way our mom used to cheer us on. We were maniacs and it was great! But, it was also bittersweet. Our mom lived for our special moments…especially those of her grandkids. She never missed one and was always so excited to cheer us on or shed at tear during a important ceremony. She was such a sap in the very best way! She was always so proud of us and was never afraid to show her excitement. We feel her presence everywhere, but its just not the same as “having” her here.

We are slowly adjusting to our new normal and I am proud to say we are making the most of a difficult situation. I think the hardest part has been addressing the kid’s questions. They ask about Gigi daily. They ask if she is still in bed or if she is in heaven. They ask if her heart stopped beating or just frankly say something like, “Gigi is dead because she died.” Blake tells Michelle that Gigi can’t take him to the park anymore because she is in Heaven.  Comments like these are a stab in the heart, but they don’t know any better, so we meet their questions and remarks with patience and love.

As the year progresses, we continue face many “firsts.” We just celebrated Billie’s “first” birthday without our mom and Michelle’s is coming up. For Billie’s birthday, we got some family and friends together to celebrate. It was a nice day and we are thankful for everyone who came, but something was missing. There was a emptiness in the air. We laughed and smiled, but we all felt it. It is amazing how we can feel so blessed, yet so empty in the same instant. I can never dwell too much.  If I focus on the pain, I overlook the blessings and feel like I am going to suffocate.

As my sisters and I grieve, we are also trying to sort out our mom’s estate. I am the Personal Representative and feel like I have a full time job making phone calls, paying bills, cashing checks and just getting our ducks in a row. All of this needs to be done, but its a constant reminder all day long that she is gone. That being said, I must say, that I am so thankful. Thanks mom, you really are the best.

While we get our mom’s estate in order, we are also busy trying to get her house in order so Billie can move “home.” We have taken good care of the house over the last 4 months and it really looks great. I have been helping Billie pick out some furniture and bedding to make the house feel like her own. I am excited for Billie, but I am really going to miss having her at our house. I will probably see her more when she moves home because I will constantly stop by to check on her! I know she will be great on her own, but I can’t help but worry about her like a momma would. Hopefully she will move out when I am not home so she doesn’t have to see me cry…hint hint, Billie 😉

Last update – Colleen’s Dream is going so well and I am so proud of our success. We are excited about the possibilities and some really big things we have coming up. My sisters and I owe it all to my husband and our consultant Craig. They have been extremely strategic and thoughtful about every detail. I am so touched that Billy loved my mom so much that he dedicates so much of his valuable time to her legacy and to keep other families from going through the same thing. We are going to do some really big things!! Stay tuned for those announcements…they will likely come through our Facebook and Twitter feeds.

Well, I hope all of you are doing well and enjoying your summer.

Lots of love-