On the 7th Day of Christmas, my True God Gave to Me, Beautiful Memories that last a lifetime.
Many of you read my blog entry from yesterday about dear sweet Alyssa. As I was writing that entry, we were sent an email that Alyssa passed away beside her beautiful and caring mommy early yesterday morning. My heart ached all day long and at 7:00 pm, I lit a candle as the Palmyra community held a candlelight vigil at the same time. The unbelievable happened for this family and my friend Lynn. Parents, who did absolutely everything they could to protect their baby, had to watch as their first born child took her last breath. No parent should have to witness that. No parent should ever have to face the death of his or her child, especially from such a horrific disease as cancer.
I thought about Alyssa all day and into the night. My first prayer of the New Year was for Alyssa and her family. I read through Lynn’s journal entries on CaringBridge.com and reminisced about all the wonderful times they had over the last few months. From limo rides, to the Radio City Rockettes; from trips to the beach and being Queen of the parades; from horseback riding to meeting Winter, the very dolphin that knew what Alyssa was going through and brought sunshine to her face, Alyssa and her family experienced an entire lifetime of precious moments they can never forget. On those days they are able to smile, they will have a treasure box of beautiful memories to open up and share with one another. Even though their little girl and big sister is gone, the memories they created together will last a lifetime.
The other piece I thought about New Year’s Eve was my Granny Moore. I think about her every New Year’s Eve. When I was a little girl, my cousins and I had a tradition of going over to Granny’s house on New Year’s Eve to spend the night. She would have freshly baked brownies ready for us and we would gather in the living room to play games like Parcheesi and Monopoly. On the fireplace Granny had placed the appropriate hats and noisemakers that made NYE perfect. (Although I imagine we made enough noise without the plastic horns.) The TV would inevitably be turned to Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin Eve and as the time got closer to 12:00, we were ready. We had our hats, our horns and our Monopoly money in hand. Yes, Monopoly money. When the ball dropped at 12:00, we ran outside with all the Monopoly money we could handle and yelled out “HAPPY NEW YEAR!!” Then we threw the monopoly money as high as our makeshift confetti would go. It was so much fun! Then the next day as she prepared dinner for the family, we watched the Rose Bowl Parade, and watched her as Granny gasped at the beauty of the flowers and floats.
That was our New Year’s Eve. Our Granny loved us so much. We were the three girls that loved her with great joy and happiness. She died in 2002 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s. It was hard to see her go through that, not recognizing who we were and not being able to be the Granny we experienced on those New Year’s Eve nights. After a while, I couldn’t face her anymore. I regret that now, but back then it hurt too much that she wasn’t Granny and she didn’t know me. But somewhere deep down, I know she remembered New Year’s Eve and the fun we had together. It was a wonderful time that she enjoyed as much as we did. I know she held those memories close to her heart, even when she couldn’t tell us.
I have many more memories of my Granny, of her Christmas Nativity set to her introducing me to the Chrystal Cathedral and Robert Schuler every Sunday morning after I spent the night. But on New Year’s Eve, these are the memories that come out of my Treasure Box. For Alyssa’s family, they have a treasure box overflowing with memories too and some day they will be able to open that box and remember all the good, all the joy that came from their living every moment together. Those memories will bring a smile to their faces once again. Until then, they continue to have my prayers and I find comfort in the fact that maybe Alyssa will meet my Granny up in Heaven. Maybe they met yesterday, played some Parcheesi last night, and threw some money in the sky at the stroke of midnight. I know I heard fireworks, and that very well could have been Alyssa. Maybe the glow of their dancing faces and fireworks will come down and shine a light on our families and warm our hearts.
It may not be today for the Diver Family, but someday soon I hope. Someday soon.