Sunday, October 16, 2011

Elise's 4th Birthday & Memorial Celebration 2011

Happy 4th Birthday Elise Renee Kolkman!!! May all the angels in Heaven sing sweetly to you on your special day. I am hoping you feel the love of your family and friends here on Earth as we remember you on the day you were "Born to Fly!" There's never a day when you are not close in thought as you now live on forever in our hearts.

This year I decided to divide our memorial activities over a two day period instead of cramming it all into one day. It actually worked out nicely because I didn't have to rush and stress out as much so I will do it this way from here on out. It is hard not think of Grandpa Barron on October 12, 2011 so I will take a moment to reflect on his birthday too. It is a special day shared between Elise and my Dad. The day my Dad was born and the day Elise past away. Happy 61th Birthday Dad! You left us all way too soon and I miss you more than ever. I hope you feel our warm thoughts of you as you enjoy all of eternity! Keep kissing and rocking that sweet girl of mine until we are united again.

Memorial Cards were mailed out on 10/11/2011... We asked that our family & friends join us by lighting a candle on October 13, 2011 in memory of Elise. Ava helped stamp her own card and she drew a picture for Elise and added some really special Dora stickers.

Ava and I delivered a bag of sweets to my OB office with a memorial card and photo...

 This year Nancy Kingma was on vacation so Ava and I met with Gloria Kroeze, one of the chaplains, at Spectrum Health. She was very kind to us and was instrumental in delivering our gift of cash to the P.E.N.D Program and our cakes to the nurses in Labor and Delivery.

Remembering Elise on her 4th Birthday Cake...

Born to Fly Cake...

Proud Little Sister of an Angel!

Celebrating with a handful of nurses in L&D...

Rob, Ava, and I ended this day by bringing mums to the cemetery for Grandpa and Elise. It was so quiet in the cemetery with the leaves dropping. Ava ran silly through all of them and sang Happy Birthday to Grandpa. I picture him smiling sweetly and wishing Heaven wasn't so far away.

I kicked off Elise's birthday morning by going out to breakfast with my best friend, Kris, and my sweetest little lady, Ava. We had a nice meal and talk about Elise and the dreams we both shared for her. Kris is great about sharing her thoughts and feelings for Elise throughout the year which is greatly appreciated by me. I love to know when anyone is thinking of Elise and wishing she were still here with us and Kris is wonderful in sharing her thoughts with me. Thanks Kris for your kindness and for all of your cards. You are truly a saving grace! I appreciated that you watched Ava for me for a few hours and allowed me some peaceful and quiet moments alone on this difficult day.

Ava and I went to her daycare to deliver sweets & a book in memory of Elise!

This year we gave, Wherever You Go My Love Will Follow You, by Nancy Tillman. It's a beautiful story if you are not familiar with this book you should check it out.

I spent some time alone in the cemetery and made sure everything was beautiful and in place for our family gathering. The mums looked beautiful at Grandpa's & Elise's RIP. Thanks for the Halloween decorations Aunt Nina!

Grandpa Barron's Resting Place...

 Elise's Resting Place...

It was so peaceful in the cemetery during the afternoon... I really enjoyed my time there alone.

Just before 2 pm I picked up the balloons for our balloon release and picked Ava up from playing at Krissy-Baby's. After Ava spotted the 15 balloons she was dying to hold them. I decided to let her so I could take a picture of her holding them as a nice memory. Little did I know this would not go according to plan and would make a great story and an even better memory.

Ava and the balloons...

Ava and the balloons right before they all BLEW over our house in a gust of wind... I guess Elise could not wait another few hours! I picture her handing them out to her best angel friends in Heaven which is why I decided not to let myself get too upset over this. Ava on the other hand was crying her eye's out saying, "I'm sorry momma I tried to stop them!" I wish I had taken a picture of them drifting up up and away along with Ava's sad little face but I was in shock and dumbfounded... I just stood there watching.

After calling Family Fare to re-order my balloons I made angel food cupcakes with pink frosting.

Some of them even looked like roses!

Thankfully, Kris, was heading toward town and she picked up the second round of balloon's and I was able to place a few like tradition on our mailbox along with showing off our lights burning bright in memory of Elise. Thanks to everyone who left your lights on this year!

Emma, Ava, & Jack... Cousins FOREVER!!!

Family and Friends gathering to celebrate Elise's Day... Despite the rain!

Ava without her sister and Emmie without her friend... They shared a moment together...

"We Remember Her Poem"

Ava is listening to this poem so seriously... I have to wonder if maybe Elise's spirit is present.

Happy to have captured a white spot on my Dad's stone... He was never one to miss anything important!

Our balloons were not doing well in the rain... We had to bail on the balloon release after all. I guess Elise had to steal them during the afternoon while she had the chance!

We headed back to our house to sing Happy Birthday to Elise and enjoy her cupcakes along with our family and friends.

"Happy Birthday Dear Elise... Cha-Cha-Cha!"

After bringing in the wet balloons we dried them off and they came back to life. So we decided to give our traditional balloon release one last go around in effort to send our love messages to Heaven.

 Ava had a lot to say to her Big Sis!

10 Pink Balloons with messages for Elise & 4 Yellow Balloons for my Dad... Ready Set!

Happy 4th Birthday Elise! Happy Birthday Grandpa! We love & miss you every day. xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxooxox...

Thanks everyone for your continued love and support as we journey through grief. Your help in preserving Elise's memory is heart-warming and greatly appreciated!

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