Lila's birthday was a very hard and surreal day. There were many moments of breaking down and trying to grasp that this has really happened. I might write a post about how we feel about it being one year after seeing her again and go more into that at some point. For now though I wanted to share what we did on her actual birthday throughout the day to honor her. These things helped us a lot to feel closer to Lila and that she would have enjoyed all the attention being about her. I almost canceled the birthday party we had planned that night as it felt too overwhelming, but in the end I am glad we went through with it because it was very helpful to be with friends and family who we could talk openly about Lila with.
Our grief therapist told us to plan out every hour of her birthday so we would have options on what we could be doing. She also said that if we don't feel like doing one of those options, then no big deal, just do what feels right. It was helpful to have a plan to fall back on if we wanted to or just do nothing if that felt more right.
We ended up sleeping in and laid around the house for a while. We enjoyed reading the massive amounts of text messages, emails and cards we received this day. Thank you to everyone for that, it helped so very much. We then went outside and released one pink balloon for Lila. It was nice and the balloon soared rather high into the sky as I was worried it would get caught in some trees.
Then we went and worked on the slideshow of all of the Lila stone pictures we have received in the last year. It was upsetting at times as I still cannot believe how many people have been touched by Lila and have sent a picture to us at some point. Or how many people even have a Lila stone. It makes me sad to think that there are so many people out there who Lila will never get to meet. Yet it is healing for us to see these Lila stone pictures and we ask that you keep on sending them in. We plan to do a slideshow of pictures every year on her birthday and the more pictures we have the better.
We also went outside and sprinkled pink glitter all around our house in the snow for her. It looked so pretty with the pink up against the glistening snow. Mike also spelled out her name with it. All these days later and the glitter is still there and we keep finding it in the house. We feel that it is Lila's way of saying hello to us.
Visiting the mausoleum was the most painful and sad part of the day. We brought flowers for Lila and tried to spend time there with her, we also sprinkled more pink glitter around here. There happened to be a funeral going on at the same time so there were a lot of people there and it just was so not helpful to us at the time. I felt rushed and didn't want to be around strangers which was making it even worse. Seeing her date of birth on that mausoleum and knowing it was one year later was devastating to me. I couldn't stop crying and saying over and over again how she should be home with us, not there in that place.
It was at this point in the day that I almost cancelled everything we had planned for that night. We decided to go on as planned though and got all of the food and drinks together for the evening. I took a nap and felt a little better about our plans and shortly after our friends and family arrived. We cannot thank those people enough for what they did for us that night. Everyone talked about Lila and celebrated her and seemed to have an overall nice time.
We started the night with dinner and drinks. Mike bought wine and beer that he said the names reminded him of Lila, such as this one as he always thought he might call her Lala by mistake sometimes.
There was a table we set up with some of Lila's things and a few pictures on it. Things like her hats and blankets and a moulding of her handprints.
Everyone enjoyed the make your own cupcake bar where we asked people to decorate a cupcake in Lila's honor. We had different types of frosting and cupcakes and decorations and let everyone put it together themselves. We got all sorts of different ones and it was a lot of fun to do. Plus I feel that Lila would have enjoyed cupcakes as much as her Mom does.
The night ended with a trip outside in the cold to light the 36 inch long sparklers we had. The goal was to see if we could spell out Lila's name with them, but it did not go as planned. It was fun though to have a group of adults outside in the cold of January lighting sparklers though.
We did not know what was going to feel right for us on Lila's birthday. The day itself was very very difficult. The party at night felt good though and we know Lila would have had a great time herself. If only she could have been there in person.