Remembering Faith Elizabeth

Remembering Faith Elizabeth

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Word Nerd

I am a word nerd. That is the term that my husband coined some years ago as we were beginning to date. He realized that I like things like crossword puzzles and reading and using big words. I am "that person" who realizes when store signs are misspelled and can pick out a grammatical mistake in a professional print job a mile away, which, by the way, I find highly annoying. Seriously, hire an editor...preferably one who can spell and knows the difference between "there, their, and they're." As I was saying - my husband began calling me (affectionately) a "word nerd." It fits - so I use it and call myself that now. And I am - proudly.

I was reminded again tonight of the fact that I am a word nerd. I went to dinner with two old friends - two women I went to college with. We meet as often as we can (though I'm embarrassed how long it had been since the last time) and have a beer and eat dinner and catch up. One is my old college roommate - Lisa. We were randomly assigned to be roommates for our freshman year, and we clicked. We lived together for the next four years and graduated together. Jana lived in the same dorm, and we have been friends since. We have all kept up with each other and though we don't necessarily see each other as often as I'd like, there is something comforting about a friend that has known you since you were 18. Someone that has known you through a lot of life: when you were single, when you were brokenhearted, when you were hurt or sick, when you got engaged, when you jumped at a cockroach on the dorm room floor (alerting the ENTIRE floor to the escapade, by the way), when you got married, had a baby, buried your parent or your child. To sit down to dinner with those friends is like sitting down around a campfire - it warms you from the inside out. Tonight was such a fabulous reminder of that friendship - and of the fact that I am, undoubtedly, a word nerd.

Because of timing, traffic, and a miscommunication, Lisa and I were drinking a beer and waiting for Jana a full two hours before she arrived. It was really more than okay, because it had been so long since we'd seen each other that we just chatted and reminisced. During the conversation, I used the word, "apoplectic." Anyone (other than my Jeopardy-smart mother) actually know what this word means? Yeah - neither did I until she explained it awhile back, though I had a good idea from context. And when I used the word this evening, Lisa looked at me the same way she always has when I've used a big word. "Huh?" It is a long-running joke between us - me using big words, her asking what it means, me explaining, and her excited over a new vocabulary word she gets to use. Her favorite for a long time was "facetious." And we do all of this mid-conversation, picking right back up where we left off. Tonight was no different and it was the same as it has been since we were 18. One year for Christmas, I bought Lisa a thesaurus as a joke - I think she might still have it. Please don't misunderstand - Lisa is an intelligent person. Math and numbers were her thing; words were, and still are, mine.

See, I like words. Words make sense to me. Words are beautiful to me - they sing and are like poetry. They put into a concrete form what is rambling around in my brain. I like breaking words down and figuring out what they could mean from prefixes and suffixes. I like being able to picture what is written on a page in front of me. And writing has been incredibly cathartic for me in the last year - I get to say what is in my heart. Others' words have been of so much comfort to me that I rediscovered the power of the written word with this blog. I came home this evening, thanks to two very good friends, appreciating them, as well as the fact that I am a "word nerd." I guess you could also call me a cruciverbalist. And if you can tell me what THAT means, I'll give you a Jolly Rancher. At least, that's what works with my fourth graders!


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Happy Birthday

I promised I would post some pictures of how we celebrated Faith's birthday. Despite the sadness, yes - we celebrate her birthday. When we received the diagnosis of Trisomy 18, we did not know if Faith would even be born alive, so getting three days felt like a miracle to us.

My parents offered to be here for her actual birthday, but Jamie and I did not know how we wanted to handle that day, so we asked them to come the following weekend and remember Faith with us then. We spent that morning with our family and close friends having brunch at our house. I have to share the peach pie that my mother-in-law made for the day.

I do love my mother-in-law. She has been truly amazing through all of this...if she doesn't know what to do or say, she simply says, "I don't know what to do, but I love you both." I cannot tell you how refreshing that is. Sometimes in-laws get a bad rap, but I have to say I've been pretty lucky. The peach pie is evidence of this, as far as I'm concerned.

We had so many people that remembered Faith's birthday...again, I was touched by so many of you. We got phone calls and text messages and cards from everyone that truly mattered. It made my heart sing to know that we were not the only ones who remembered her on that day. To have our friends and family show up to celebrate her with us meant a great deal to us - more than I can say.

We left our house and went to the Angel Statue, where there is a brick laid in Faith's memory (you can see it on the side of the page.) Our friends bought it for us when I got back to work last fall...again, we have amazing people in our life. The Angel Statue is there for bereaved parents who have lost a child...there are over 100 in the country in various parks. In each, you can have a brick laid in memory of your child. We can see her name in print there, we can feel close to her there. So, that is where we went with our closest family and friends. As is the tradition, we laid white flowers on the angel statue. Then we did a balloon release...kinda. It was incredibly hot and even though the balloons were filled with helium, they needed some "encouragement" to fly away. Most eventually made it out of the park, but it took a little effort. We have some different ideas for years in the future that may prove more successful. Nonetheless, everyone let a balloon go in memory of Faith - and some of my favorite pictures are below:

The thing I enjoyed the most from the day was watching our nieces and nephews and our friend's children chase down the balloons that were stuck. Most of them are so young, that we simply tell them that Faith is in heaven and they are sending her a balloon to Heaven. I watch them now and sincerely hope that Faith is someone that they know in their life, even if all they know is her spirit.
So, happy birthday to my dear girl...may your birthdays in Heaven be glorious and filled with joy.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Full Plate

So, school has begun. Faith's birthday has passed. Her angel day has come and gone. And life marches on.

The title of my blog today reflects my feelings - about everything, lately. It is also a reference that only my dearest teaching friends will truly understand. : ) As I was plate is full.

Today I sat through a meeting about insurance costs...ugh. I won't bore you with the hideously cost-prohibitive details, but needless to say I will definitely need the insurance soon because it's going to give me an ulcer paying for it. Enough said.

It is difficult to explain to someone what this life is like. This life where my life doesn't actually feel like MY life...if I could tell you how many times a day I think, "I can't believe this is my life..." I was talking about Jamie's cancer this afternoon (the lovely and expensive pre-existing condition that it is) with the insurance lady and when I said he'd been cancer free for nearly five years, my dear friend sitting with me said, "'s been that long?" Yes, it has...five years, almost, since we heard those dreaded words: "You have cancer."

Jamie was 28 years old when he was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer - a disease that occurs 90% of the time in people over the age of 50. He was 28. Yes, you read that correctly - 28. It was not a typo. No family history - just a fluke of nature. Kind of like Trisomy rhyme or reason or cause...just a fluke of nature. We're getting really tired of hitting these odds in this life. We can't hit the Mega Millions or the Powerball, but give us crappy odds and we'll hit them every time. Without fail. Every. Single. Time. Can I tell you how little, "Well, the odds are against it..." mean to us? Really....

I have thought a lot of Faith recently, for obvious reasons. Her birthday was August 14. She would have turned 1 year old. We should have been planning how to cram too many people into our tiny house and taking pictures of her frosting-covered fingers and hair. Instead, we visited her grave that Saturday. And we went out to dinner that night - just Jamie and I. And as we sat there waiting for our dinner to be delivered to our table, the staff broke out in "Happy Birthday" - at the table directly next to ours. Jamie and I shared a wry smile - because to us, clearly, the angels were singing Happy Birthday to our sweet girl. We left dinner and went to Marc and Sarah's house and shared the apple pie I'd made for Faith's birthday. And we ate pink cupcakes that Mason and Sarah made for her birthday. So, while I didn't get any pictures of Faith eating her birthday cake, I did get pictures of Mason eating cupcakes for her. With Sarah's permission, here are a few pictures...

I hope to post some pictures soon of our family celebration and balloon release that we shared just last weekend. My plate's a little full right now, though, so you will have to wait a few more days!