This was our first official Holly Day, and it went really well. A big part of that was we had Nick's sisters, Jacci and Brittany, in town. And they pretty much took care of Briz. They got up with her, took her to her ballet and soccer classes in the morning, and just helped out a ton. Nick and I were able to sleep in. We had a pretty easy going day. After we had a late start, we met Briz and the girls at Holland's grave. We were able to talk to her a bit and think about her now year-long absence.
I love going to the grave because I generally feel uplifted. I love that Briz has a chance to talk to Holly, share things with her (last visit she wanted to tell Holland all about her new boots). We talk to Briz about death and get to have conversations about Holland and our Heavenly Father's plan of happiness. And we get to cry together as a family. I love that we have a designated spot to do this. But that's all it has become for me. I don't think of Holland as being there. I think of her as being close to me and my family most of the time. It truly is a memorial place where her little body is.
We took our donations from the Holly Hoop and we purchased a gift basket for the Piscitelli family, in honor of Vienne. It was a fun day of shopping for Nick and I, talking about memories of Holland and thinking of another family and what would truly help them heal at this time and in the future. With every purchase we made, we included a note to explain why we purchased that. Many of the things that we purchased were things that Nick and I have used that have been helpful to us.
|We saw this rainbow on the way to Holland's grave. It was kinda cool because there was a rainbow during the Holly Hoop. Coincidence? I think not :) Just a sweet message.|
|The gift basket and frame.|
- Flowers and a vase: when you are getting flowers fairly frequently, you can never have enough vases. I always appreciate flowers if they seem cliche. If nothing else, I like to be able to put them on Holland's grave to make it look pretty. And it's something that brightens up my house when it might seem otherwise kind of dreary.
- Framed picture of the race start with a signed matte. I wanted the family to know how they are supported, even from people that they don't know.
- Gift card to buy christmas presents for Vienne. We explained our tradition of opening Holland's stocking first. We bought Vienne a little dinosaur ornament also.
- Grief journals. I have a journal that I record experiences with grief and just about Holland in general. It started out as a journal for Holland when I was pregnant, but then after she died, I wanted to still use it.
- Gift cards for massages. I have gotten fairly regular massages since Holland died, and it's been helpful for me. I also saw a chiropractor for a while.
- Books about grieving. I just started reading my book club book. I made a joke that recently I am ready to stop reading self help books. For about a year, that was pretty much all I read. And I am still reading them, just not exclusively. It's been something that has helped me a lot. I am able to learn a lot about what I am going through and what is helpful.
- Donation for grief counseling. This has also been a lifesaver. We have been to support groups (Compassionate Friends and Brief Encounters), to individual counseling, and marriage counseling. We are still very heavily involved in the counseling. Grief is hard in and of itself, but it tends to affect every relationship and every thing in a person's life. I don't know how anybody gets through the mess that it is without guidance and help from professionals.
We dropped it by quickly at the Piscitelli's that night. I remember I wasn't interested in having to socialize a lot with strangers or people I didn't know very well. I always felt awkward and like I had to comfort or entertain them. I am so glad I met this family and was introduced to Vienne. In a completely selfish way, they made my Holly Day enjoyable. Being able to think about them and in what small ways we could try to help them heal was what made my day. That and being with my family.