January. I've dreaded this month for a year. In my mind, January would be her month. I would celebrate her every day and let myself feel the grief as I knew there was no running from it. And so, I've spent this month doing little Callie projects.
After kicking off Kindness for Callie, next on my list was to put together her Beads of Courage. About six months ago, the social worker at Children's Hospital sent us a beautiful bag of beads along with a bead journal for Callie and a note. It explained that Beads of Courage was started by a pediatric oncology nurse who was tired of watching her patients go through the countless pokes, prods, and procedures that accompanied their long hospital stays. The nurse decided to give the children beads to collect every time they endured something hard. Each color bead had a meaning and was uplifting and encouraging to her patients. Now Beads of Courage has expanded from cancer patients to children with cardiac conditions, burns, chronic illness, and neonatal/ICU patients.
It is hard to believe how many beads my little Callie earned during her short 35 hours of life. As I strung the beads, I felt myself telling her story over again and earning a whole new appreciation of what she had to endure as such a tiny baby. Ambulance ride. Echocardiograms. Pokes. New diagnosis. Blood transfusions. Ventilator support. The list went on and on. Callie even earned the Strength bead (large yellow and purple bead) and the Courage bead (the tiny, but mighty acorn) during her stay. I was so proud of her.
Lastly, I held the delicate glass butterfly bead in the palm of my hand. Her wings to heaven. I wept as I strung it with the others and tied the final knot. Her story, told by the beads, was over.
But we all know, that really it had just begun.
As we inch closer to the one year anniversary of Callie's birth and death, I thought I would share with you some plans that we have to remember her.
- I've made a Callie playlist of sunshiny music to listen to in the coming days. Post to follow about this :-)
- I wrote about financial giving earlier this month. I've researched different websites for donating and haven't found one that does not take a chunk of your money out for processing fees and I find that just flat out wrong. My original vision was to create a sort-of virtual offering plate where people could donate for a designated cause on a quarterly basis. I'll keep looking for ways we can do that, but, in the meantime, if you are looking to make a donation in Callie's memory we think that the National Marfan Foundation or our church, Our Savior's Way, for upkeep of Callie's garden would be wonderful ways to remember her. Please do not feel obligated! I've had a few people ask, so I thought I'd share that.
- On Sunday, Jan. 27th, Callie's birthday, we plan on tying a yellow balloon to the cross in her garden and it will stay there until we release it the next day, Monday, Jan. 28th to remember the day she left us and journeyed to heaven.
- I plan on wearing yellow both days. Will you?
Kindness for Callie (or K4C as my friend, Mabby, calls it!) Update:
I got so many wonderful emails this week! Here are the highlights! Check the Kindness for Callie tab at the top of the page for the updated list:
- I can always count on my friend, Lindsay V., for the most creative ideas:
"Your Kindness For Callie campaign inspired me to be more thoughtful of ways we can brighten lives and give back in 2013. We have given each week a theme.
The first week of January we did random giving. We taped money to redbox machines, bought gift cards for the cashiers to give to the next person with a child(ren) at Starbucks, and taped coins to the games at an arcade.
The second week of January the theme was blessing someone with food. We made a meal for a pregnant friend, made baked treats for a working mom who we thought could use a smile, and volunteered to make dessert for a meal at a local homeless shelter.
Next week is for our Armed Forces overseas. We'll keep you posted!
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the idea of themes! I think John and I will follow suit :-) Thanks Lindsay!
- My mom and dad gave a ride home to a man in need and shared Callie's story with him. Mom also took doughnuts to the cafeteria workers at her school on a day that they had to work extra hard to get meals made for students who had an early release. Thanks Nana and Pops!
- My friend Kerry paid for the next customer in line at Dunkin' Donuts...and simultaneously changed the sales clerks day as well!
- From Brenda & Jose Castro: "Left a $20.00 tip on a $35.00 check to a young server who had recently given birth to her first son." So sweet! I'm sure he appreciated it very much! Thank you :-)
- Ginny Hagee (a friend of my moms): "When I checked out at the grocery store, the cashier gave me a store coupon good for $2.75 off my next order. I handed it back to him and told him to use it to get something on his break. I know it's little, but it spread a little bit of sunshine his way!" It's not little at all! Thanks Ginny!
- Those last two are from people I haven't even met! I love it! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
And finally, someone left something special for us on our doorstep yesterday. We hung it up last night and it looks perfect. The craziest thing is that I had already created my Callie playlist with this song on it before receiving the gift...how did you know?? We put it in our foyer so that we pass it each and every day on our way out the door. Whoever you are, thank you!