rain on my parade

There are so many different kinds of parades .. some we sit through and watch.. some we march in and some we shut our windows and close our curtains to try and drown out the noise.

Last year today we were coming down from such a high. A never even dreamt of, dream come true, for all of us really. She got to be our towns grand marshall, she got to sit right next to Santa in his sleigh as they rode through town. And the rest of us got to ride along with her.

Jennifer was so happy to share this with her brothers and baby sister.
Jennifer was so happy to share this moment, her moment with her brothers and baby sister.

I remember well each of my kids that night. Each surprisingly different than we ever would have anticipated… ok except Charlotte she was exactly how we thought she would be. Easy and go with the flow. I even handed her off to a friend of mine at the very end of the parade and she didn’t care at all. . .But the rest,  Nicholas .. my now shirtless wonder was shy and nervous and wouldn’t toss out the candy we had brought. Jonathan who we thought would rather sit with friends and watch the parade.. he was yelling Merry Christmas and waving and tossing candy to everybody.

Jennifer. She snuggled right into the man that I refer to as her Santa. We spoke the night before so he could have talking points for her. She told him she had never been bowling.. so her Santa organized a whole bowling party for her after treatment. She was nervous but also proud to do her job. She waved and smiled. And froze! It was so cold but she refused a jacket or anything warm. She wanted to look just right.. and she did.. right down to her blue toes by the end of it! Finally at the end of the night she let us wrap her in a blanket for the walk to the car. Here is a video of Jennifer laughing with her Daddy when we were home. I love and miss the sound of her laugh.. and the how deliriously happy she was.. calling herself an angel. No way to know this would be truth in about 8 weeks time.

rp5

We didn’t go this year. Part of the reason we fell in love with Gilroy was this stupid parade. The small town feel of it. Just perfect for our growing family. I imagined how many years we would sip hot coca and watch it together. I couldn’t though. Tony either. I have barreled through so much in this first year. But I couldn’t do it. Knowing it was happening was hard enough. We actually think it might have been too much for the boys too.. They both remember.

The kids looking at the sleigh with her name on it!
The kids looking at the sleigh with her name on it!

This years holiday parade.. families there.. laughing and smiling. Making memories and sharing traditions. Not knowing of the the grief and memories ripping ours to shreds. But thats what its like. I feel like the whole thing should be cancelled. How can it ever rpeven happen again. Jennifer is gone. She’s not here. .. The whole thing should crumble under the weight of her absence. But of course that’s not how it is. That’s never how its been.

 

Because life keeps happening and…time keeps marching on..

… like the most horrible and cruel of parades.

Tony and I had planned a stay home date night. We planned on eating dinner after the kids went to bed and playing games together. .. I was the one who went to get our dessert while he did bath and books. . Bad call. I had to drive past the the very front of the parade route. .. Up until then I had been able to keep most of it contained.. But then I couldn’t stop the noise of that internal parade from taking over my mind.. the memories of her. Of us. Of the family we should have been.. Those memories and hopes for the future paraded themselves right through me.. taking over and I succumb.

I came home a different wife. Broken and defeated. Game night turned int0 movie night and a steady stream of off and on quiet tears.

I remember this night wondering what she was saying.  Not being able to get to her.. to know felt so hard..little did I know..
I remember this night wondering what she was saying. Not being able to get to her.. to know felt so hard..little did I know..

This grief is a beast. A monster. Tearing into us until we tear into each other. We wanted to love and support, but each of us are so full.  Instead we ended the night fighting. Angry at so much .. only able to take it out on each other… the only target either of us could see. This is so hard. Only one person understands the depths of pain. .. Only one person feels it to the same depths.

Like we always do. Like we always will. We came full circle. Exposed our vulnerabilities. .. Both forgave and asked for forgiveness without many words but with our honest emotions. And today we have been gentle. Kind. And so sad.

I needed to break away to write… to release whats jumbled up inside of me. To gather the strength for the next hurdle we will have to jump. I hear them now. My 3 boys all snuggled on the couch together watching Christmas movies together. And I miss the times we could have had.

The quiet snuggles watching movies . Baking cookies. Wrapping presents. The years of parades I thought we had. I was supposed to watch you from the sidelines.. dressed up in your girl scout uniform marching in the parade. I wasn’t supposed to be sitting in a sleigh behind you, but I am so glad I was there with you.

you did such a good job sissy

i was so proud

sitting behind, watching you wave.

i just wish i could go with you now

wherever you are.

….

i am so sorry honey

so sorry you had to walk alone.

rp9

…until there is a cure..

 

14 Responses to “rain on my parade”

  1. I am sorry.
    We didn’t go either. I heard all the noises and all the people walking by. And I thought of you so much. My sadness is ultra minimal compared to yours; and yet Jennifer’s absence has left a hole in my heart. And no parade will ever be the same for me. Hugs to all of you. Hugs to Tony because I’m sure he needs them to. So.not.fair.
    I’m sorry.
    <3

  2. I wish for you that last years parade had never ended! Always praying and hoping for the strength you will always need…until there is a cure…

  3. Last year, the parade was truly magical and Jennifer was dressed fabulously. I remember admiring her fancy ear muffs. I think of you often and pray for strength for you all to get through the holiday season.

  4. We went to our small hometown parade on Saturday night and I thought of Jennifer often. I thought about how cool it would be to have an Unravel #love4JLK Float. She is in my thoughts always.

  5. I can’t imagine how difficult and painful this round of firsts must be for you. Praying you continue to find the strength to march on and stay afloat. Sending hugs and love to all of you.

  6. We love you all so so very much. I am so sorry. We did not go either. I, we will never forget Jennifer. I say her name daily. I will always remember tour precious girl. ♡

  7. I have to say we were there for the beginning events and I thought a lot about last year and Jennifer and how it really wouldn’t be the same….. you were truly blessed with such an amazing little girl! Xoxo

  8. I know that so many of the people watching the parade thought about last year’s beautiful, glitter-filled grand marshall Jennifer, and I’m certain many sets of eyes filled with tears thinking of her.

  9. JLK looks so happy and proud on these pictures, I’m glad she had such great moments. I think of her always, everyday. Just today, I went to the hospital and pushed the ” magic” trick button to open the door and my heart stopped, it almost felt like something dropped inside of me: I remembered the picture of her with the boys showing them that magic button to open the door, she has that adorable cape on. The tears just kept coming as my heart broke. This is how I feel, a total stranger. Oh LIBBY! Bless your heart , just know you are in my daily prayers.thank you for sharing such special little girl with us.

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