Saturday, July 29, 2017

#playforKK Patriots and Princess Style

When KK was admitted to the hospital this spring, her friend Josiah Needham started a hashtag #playforKK (a little twist on #prayforKK). He decided to add K K to the back of his cleats and play his baseball games for KK. A few other kids from Chapel followed his lead to #playforKK as well. Then, when the middle schoolers went to HUME for summer camp, they chose to #playforKK in their competitions (and won!!!).

When I was talking with Cori at Dana Farber on Monday, she asked what I was going to do on Friday for KK's birthday. I told her that I had no idea. She encouraged me to do something fun, even check something off my bucket list.

Monday night, my friend Bethany (who happens to be Josiah's mom) texted me to find out if I had a plan for Friday. As I still had no plan, she suggested that we could #playforKK by catching a cheap flight to Disney on Friday morning then come home Saturday before anyone missed us. I thought that would be totally fun if it was any time other than summer...I do not do the heat and humidity that is summer in Florida. She then suggested going to New York for a show. I pointed out that would also be a great #playforKK day in an entirely different sense of the word. I told Bethany I would think more about it and talk to her at the office on Tuesday.

As I thought more about it, I started looking at what shows were playing on Broadway and found Disney's Aladdin. My mind immediately started thinking "Patriots and Princess" and I remembered that Patriots training camp was open to the public this week. I started to get excited since this would also be a way to #playforKK. I told Bethany my ideas on Tuesday morning and we immediately finalized plans to go to Patriots training camp on Friday morning then drive into NYC to see Aladdin Friday night.

Unfortunately, Bethany was diagnosed with pneumonia on Wednesday and was heart-broken when she told me that she had to cancel. I cried as this "perfect plan" to #playforKK with a Patriots and Princess theme seemed to be falling apart. After a few minutes of tears, I decided that I would just go alone since I had already bought the tickets and paid for the hotel. A little while later, I decided to text my friend Cheryl to see if she had any plans for Friday and Saturday. She responded, "We going to Disney?" (Hmmm, am I that predictable? Nevermind, don't answer that!) I explained to her the plans and she was game, despite being a Steelers fan.

So, early Friday morning, we were off...


It was a perfect way to #playforKK on her birthday!

...and I got to enjoy a little bit of Disney along the way.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Happy Birthday Wishes, KK!

May the kids in homeless shelters celebrating birthdays this week have the happiest of days in honor of KK's birthday! It was a joy, even through the tears, making these cakes for you.

Thank you to all who have given to our Birthday Wishes campaign thus far so Birthday Wishes can continue throwing these special birthday parties. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

To Thine Own Self Be True

I need to preface this post with a little info for those that may not know me well:

  • I am pretty self-aware. For example, I am not usually surprised by the results of annual reviews (though I still have anxiety issues going into them). 
  • I am an introvert. I often joke that I don't like people. The truth is I don't do well in large groups of people. It is draining to be in large groups. (I am fully aware -- see above -- there is another reason I don't do well with people, but I'll leave it at that for this blog.)
  • I am a processor. It takes time for me to think through possibilities and figure things out. Sometimes I wish I could just answer "off the cuff", but I know that my answer to a question or solution to a problem will be better if I have time to process. (This also plays into why I don't do well in large groups of people.)

The grief has been overwhelming at times.

I recognize that no two people will grieve the same way, I just wonder if what I'm experiencing is normal. In that vein, I sought out a bereavement group for parents who have lost children to cancer. My hope was that talking with people who have been through similar experiences would assure me that I'm okay. 

I attended one meeting in June and a second meeting last Wednesday. Unfortunately, I walked away from both of those meetings feeling pretty discouraged. Honestly, I have no idea why I thought a group like that would be helpful. 

The group consists of a large number of people that all need time to process and to talk. Besides introducing myself, there was no time for me to share as the facilitator spent the majority of the time checking in with other members of the group who have been there for years. Not that it matters much, since I am pretty quiet in group settings anyway. In addition to all that, the subject matter is tough and I need more time than usual to process and talk.

As soon as I got home from the bereavement group last week, I emailed a long-time psychologist friend to see if he had any time available to meet with me. He responded, "So let's get you in." 

The next day, I shared with our associate pastor that I didn't think the bereavement group was a good fit for me and that I emailed Dr. Chuck to meet with him. Daryl simply said that made more sense for me. The phrase from Shakespeare's Hamlet immediately came to mind: "To thine own self be true." I guess the whole self-aware thing got lost somewhere in the grief. 

I took this picture on my way home from counseling. It reminded me that,
yes, there is beauty in the rearview mirror, but the sun is shining ahead.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Birthday Wishes

As you may or may not know, KK would have turned 15 on July 28. To honor her, I have set up a Birthday Wishes Campaign in her memory.

Birthday Wishes is an organization that KK and I have enjoyed supporting over the years. I will be making cakes for two shelters celebrating multiple birthdays at the end of July. Would you consider giving a gift to Birthday Wishes in KK's memory so they can continue to throw birthday parties for kids living in homeless shelters in our area?

Here is the link to KK's Birthday Wishes Campaign. Please pass this along to those you think may be interested in honoring KK in this way as I don't know how many people still read this blog.