Thursday, April 29, 2010

We Remember

On Sunday our family went to a ceremony held at Cook Children's honoring children who had died the past year. I honestly wasn't sure I'd ever walk the halls of that hospital again but we did and it was o.k. Uncle Joe, Aunt Shirley, Tricia(Hannah's teacher), and two wonderful friends; Charlotte and Lea came to be with us. I am so glad we went. It feels so good when someone remembers our girl. The ceremony was beautiful and I was so amazed at how much this meant to the hospital staff. There was a responsive reading that gave me chills. It was a Jewish one. After each sentence we were to respond "we remember". However the PICU staff was scattered throughout the building and they would stand and say loudly "we remember". There were songs, poems, and the chaplain talked about remembering. Toward the end there was a candle lighting where they read the child's name and lit a candle. Before the candle lighting there was a slide show. It had pictures of the children lost, poems, quotes, etc. When Hannah's came up we all cried but oh how thankful I felt. Over half the pictures on the slideshow were babies. Thank you God for letting me have my girl nearly 9 whole years! The ceremony concluded with everyone in the prayer garden and butterflies being released. It really was an incredible day. Hard but oh so incredible!

Yesterday I was doing some cleaning and I found an old hair tie that had a significant amount of Hannah's hair in it. There was a time while she was on keppra that she lost quite a bit of hair. I felt the hair and was overcome with grief. I loved that beautiful hair. It was a pain to comb through some days but it was gorgeous. As I put it to my face I could smell her. That's what was so painful. Her clothes have long lost the scent of her but that hair hadn't. I shared the hair tie with David last night and he enjoyed the scent of her too. We both thank God for anything that lets us feel her.

People remind me often that Hannah is now healed and whole. There are no seizures in heaven. There is no autism in heaven. Thre is comfort in knowing we will see her again someday. However when I imagine Hannah she is seizureless but still that quirky beautiful girl with autism. I think I just have a different perspective on it now that she is gone. Don't throw stones yet. LOL! I still believe we need to find out what is causing autism and do anything we can to stop it from happening to our kids. I'm just a mom who lost a little girl who had autism and is thanking her lucky stars for all that having her taught me. Before having Hannah my world was so small and self centered. I always looked at big things and ignored the small. My life is richer, fuller, larger, and certainly others centered. I also celebrate everything. No longer is something seeemingly small insignificant. I feel blessed even in great loss.

We still miss our girl and always will! We'll never forget. Thanks for all the love and support!

Program from We Remember Ceremony

Candle Lighting

Name tags

Releasing butterflies

All those in attendance to remember Hannah.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Dear Hannah

Morning Hannah! It's mommy. Oh sweetie, mommy misses you so much. There's not a moment that goes by that I do not wish I could see your beautiful face and hear your amazingly sweet voice. I know heaven's really enjoying having you around. Do you wake everyone up singing, "wake up little blue bird!" Man, do I miss my mornings with you. I miss you saying, "holdy me" and the warmth and love of that hold. I miss you saying, "thank you Lord for another safe night" as we'd start getting ready for school. I miss our night time routine too. Oh God how I miss those kisses and night time prayers! I just miss you. I miss every little detail of your amazing being.

Your crazy daddy and I are going to try to celebrate being married 20 years this weekend. I know he misses you too. It's a bittersweet occassion for us. Just being able to go makes it more evident you're gone. We'd both gladly trade our weekend if it meant we could have you with us. I'm so glad you had a daddy who loved you so much. The weekend will be fun of course. How can it not be with your daddy making me laugh the entire time, I'm sure. He's still crazy Hannah. You loved him that way and so do I! Oh, Did you know that Koolio does us just like you used to. If daddy hugs me or gets to close he wedges himself between us. It's so cute. We think of you every time he does it and talk about how he must have learned that from you.

Speaking of Koolio, he's lost weight since you've been gone! You fed him way too good girl. He needed to lose a few pounds. He misses you. Sometimes he lays in your room on the floor or in the hallway outside of your room and just looks in. Mommy is trying to keep him busy but no one can keep him as busy as you did! Precious has taken up to sleeping in your bed. I think she misses your shuffling feet behind her all through the house. We didn't realize how attached she was to you. Even the animals are having to adjust to your absense from our lives.

Kyle and Zach are doing o.k. They miss their pesty sister a lot. Kyle is going to college in Huntsville. You sure wouldn't have liked that! You loved having your bubbas close. We're proud of him though and pray like crazy for it all to work out.

Mommy has been so lost without you. I'm trusting in God's plan and knowing that evenutally it'll be o.k. I'll always miss you but my hope is that I'll be able to use what I have learned from your life to inspire hope and help. Four words seem to be the theme of all my thoughts lately. Live, Love, Laugh, and Educate. I think those words describe you. You lived life every minute of every day and you loved it. You definately loved and did it far better than most of us. You laughed. We still laugh at things you did and said. You were hilarious. You educated us all. You inspired education just with your love for it. So as always, mommy is praying for God to order her steps. I remember when you copied me and prayed that. It was so cute. Was there nothing you didn't notice or absorb!?!?

I miss you beautiful girl! More than I can ever express. I can't wait to see you again. I'm going to kiss you until your screaming for me to stop! :) What a day that will be! Until then though, mommy is going to do what she can here to help your life continue to inspire others! I love you sweet girl! ALWAYS! Love, Mommy

PS: By now I'm sure you've met your Uncle Dewayne and you're being spoiled rotten. Make him sing "I'll Fly Away" with you. You'll love his voice!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

20 years

David and I are going to celebrate 20 yrs of marriage this weekend. It's bittersweet of course. Just being able to go away makes the fact that Hannah isn't with us very apparent. We will end the weekend by attending a "We Remember" ceremony at Cook Children's hospital where Hannah will be honored. I'm looking forward to spending time with my honey but I'm a little apprehensive about the emotions I'm feeling concerning Hannah not being with us. As I made my packing list this morning I wanted to scream. The hole in my heart is just so big and painful. I'm so glad that God has a plan whatever it may be and that I can trust Him it will all be o.k. He's been faithful and I'm thanking Him for all the love and life he continues to bring my way. Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Here's one of my favorite photos of my girl!

More cemetary photos

Friday, April 16, 2010

The marker

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Connections article about Hannah

I think my ability to write died with my girl. Not that I was ever any good at it anyway but my inspiration was her. Life without her is hard. I miss her every minute of every day and long to have her here.

It helps to know that people haven't forgotten her and that they still find inspiration in knowing her. Our community school newsletter/paper featured her in an article. It was really sweet. Has a picture of her teachers and classmates in front of a picture of Hannah. It said she didn't speak though and that's inccorect. She did, she just didn't carry on typical conversations. Still the article is beautiful and I'm so excited that they honored her in this way.

Little Girl's Love for Life Brought Joy to All

Every once in a while you meet a person who truly changes your life. Hannah Chapman was one of those people.

Hillsboro ISD lost a very special daughter, granddaughter, student and friend on Jan. 17, 2010 when Hannah Gabrielle Chapman breathed her last breath at the tender age of eight years old. She was diagnosed with epilepsy and autism, among other medical conditions.

Hannah loved life and people. She was an encouragment to everyone she met- even though she couldn't speak - because her enthusiasm for life was infectious. She was loved dearly by the teachers, who said she was like a little teacher herself, keeping her fellow classmates in line with the classroom routine.

Among her favorite things in this world were school, music, church and her service dog, Koolio. Her favorite song was "I'll Fly Away" and her favorite food was a toss up between pizza and chicken.

We'll miss you, Hannah. Our lives are richer because of you.

I'm so glad I shared my girl with the world! Please continue to pray for us. We need it!