Monday, August 8, 2011

Aftermath, & hope for the future

Thank you for all your good wishes these last few days. The rest of the weekend was much better, thankfully. : )

For starters, one of my oldest ( = time I've known her, not necessarily age, lol) & dearest online friends, JuliaS., who lost her daughter Carena the same day I lost Katie, was the first to message me, as she always is.

Sunday, dh took our traditional bouquet of pink roses to the cemetery. I took a photo & posted it on Facebook -- only the second time I've done something like that. So far, I've had six "likes" and 26 comments. The majority are from online & support group friends, but there are some others too, which is nice to see. : )

Then, this morning, I discovered that another dear online friend -- from the childless living board I've blogged about -- (who has since moved on to adopt two beautiful children) had written a blog post about Katie, and what Katie means to her. I was floored, and dh is still raving about it tonight. Thank you so much (again), Karen! We will treasure your words always.

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One of the harder parts about childless/free living -- particularly for someone like me, who is into family history and treasures every photo and attaches meaning to all kinds of things associated with the people I love -- is the sadness I feel when I think that there will be nobody to pass these things along to, nobody who will appreciate them in the way that I hoped my own children would

Six years ago, when my one cousin's daughter graduated from high school, I decided (after much inner debate -- it is hard for me to let go of things like this that mean so much to me) that she should have my grandmother's high school ring as a gift. As I blogged here, three years ago, I was disappointed that the gift was never acknowledged.

Nevertheless, my other cousin's daughter graduated this year, & I felt that, to be fair, I should think of an equivalent gift to give to her.

Around the time I went to grad school, in the early 1980s, the "preppy" look was very "in," particularly at the school I was attending, which has a reputation as one of the more "American/Ivy League" universities in Canada. Pearls were back in fashion, & somehow, they came up in a conversation withe my grandmother.

"Oh, I have some pearls you can have," she said, and the next time I saw her, she gave them to me. She didn't remember how or where she got them, but said she never wore them & they were just collecting dust in one of her drawers. I don't believe they're real pearls -- my family didn't and doesn't have that kind of money -- but they were still nice, slightly yellowed with age. The string looked a little fragile in places, so I took them to a jeweller & had them restrung, knotted (so that if the string broke, they wouldn't all slide off) & a new clasp added. I wore them a lot over the next few years, including as the "something old" on my wedding day. But I haven't worn them in awhile, and I do have another, newer pearl necklace to wear if I want to.

So I packaged them up & sent them to my cousin's daughter with a card and a handwritten note, explaining the story behind the pearls & expressing my hope that she would likewise give them to her daughter or niece or cousin someday. This morning, her mom messaged me on Facebook -- the package had arrived, and her daughter loved it. She noted what a special gift it was, and added, "So glad we have someone like you to pass along family history and heirlooms."

Well, as you can imagine, that made my day. (I still hope that she'll eventually contact me herself with her own thank you, whether in a written note or online -- but this time, at least I know she got it!)

In a similar vein, we celebrated our nephew's 19th birthday on Saturday night, nephew's birthday. This fall, he'll be starting his second year of university and -- as we did last year on his high school graduation -- we presented him with a cheque to help defray some of his expenses. "THANK YOU!" he said, giving each of us a big hug. We are so happy that we're in a position to help him out a bit -- and his brother too, if/when he ever returns to school (or buys a house or some other such life goal).
Doing things like this -- and getting these kinds of reactions -- gives me hope for the future -- that maybe we'll actually have visitors at the old folks home now & then ; ) & people who will listen to (and actually be interested in) our stories -- who will know and value the meanings behind some of the things we give to them, and remember us when we are gone.


  1. Glad you're feeling a bit better.

    I think it's lovely that you pass things on to your cousin's daughters. And that at least the last one was acknowledged. Letters of acknowledgement and thanks are important, but just don't seem to be "done" anymore. I blogged about it a year or two ago. I hate having to email sisters-in-law or nieces to ask if my gifts arrived.

  2. I think the things you did for your family are very sweet and meaningful. It's sad that some of them didn't get as acknowledged as they should though :( In my family, there is nothing to pass down, no stories to tell, and I always love hearing about other people's stories. I wish we had that.

    I'm glad that you got such recognition from everyone about Katie (*hugs*)

  3. Wow, I just finished reading the blog link to the tribute on Katie - what a wonderful post. It's made my day - she states it so simply that it's a wonder not everyone thinks that way.

    Loribeth, I thought about Katie on the 7th, the same that I thought about my brother. I offered wistful smiles and love to both of them and imagined that the soulful cries of the loons that we were hearing that day were messages to them.


  4. Awesome that you gave the pearls to your cousin's daughter. I love my few family heirlooms. I'm glad the pearls were acknowledged; I wish the ring had been. And I know your nephew loved that check/cheque!

    Also glad that your weekend was better. I notice that doing small things for others can really boost my mood. I never get around to actually doing volunteer work, though. : P

  5. Hi loribeth, sorry I am coming to these posts late. Its one of the things that drive me crazy about this journey, never REALLY being able to anticipate or plan for how the anniversarys will affect us year to year. I'm so sorry Aug. 5th ended up being tough. I am so sorry you had to endure the gushing. Just know you are not alone, I have had to deal with many pregnancies lately, sometimes I take it in stride, sometimes they leave me awake at night with a clenching stomach. I also wanted to mention how much "across the universe" means to me. I love that song and think it captures something so authentic.

    I'm glad you are feeling good about the gifts you are able to give. I think its so awesome you have family items that mean so much. I also think it is so awesome you can help your nephew. As others have said, I miss the ritual of thank you notes. Whenever someone has sent A an item, I let her scribble a thank you card. I don't think that tradition should fall to the wayside.

    Thinking of you Loribeth.

  6. catching up with you and sending lots of love. these anniversaries are so hard, no matter how much time has passed. xo

  7. I am so late in getting here. A beautiful tribute as always Lori. I was moved by the pictures you posted on Facebook and was glad you shared them. I followed your link to Karen's post - wow! She did an amazing job of summing up some of my own thoughts and how I have felt blessed by knowing you and your sweet Katie. <3