We sent everyone a message in the morning telling them to just meet at my parent's around 4pm instead. I was rather disappointed all morning, because without going to the cemetery and sending her balloons, it didn't feel like a birthday party for her. Adam suggested we just send her balloons from mom & dad's, then people don't have to be outside in the cold quite as long, and it would still have the same meaning. So he went and picked up the helium tank for the balloons, but it still didn't quite seem right to have her party, but not visit the place where she is buried.
As we were leaving the house, Adam asked if we should bring the one of the pictures we have sitting out of her, and the book I made of her, then he thought the sign he made her would go well too. He said we could have a little "shrine" for her since we weren't going to see her. So we grabbed all that, and I grabbed her heart beat bear too, and he set it all up on a table at mom and dad's. My cousin, Linda, had her mom make a flower arrangement to bring to her grave, but since we weren't going we put them on her "shrine" too.
Once most of the people were there, we grilled burgers & brats and ate. Once the rest of our nieces & nephews showed up, we had everyone make cards or pictures or write notes to Danni. Her cousins drew her some lovely pictures, and one even made an orange snowflake for her. Many of the aunts and uncles and grandparents wrote little notes to her.
Coloring pictures for Danni
Then Linda, and my friend, Melissa, helped fill the balloons with helium and tie the string on. We found out, though, that one helium-filled balloon wasn't enough to lift our messages off the ground. So most people needed two balloons, someone even needed three!
With all of the pictures and messages, we included a little note card that said...
"This balloon was released in memory of Danielle Joann Gibson.
Danni was born May 17, 2010 with a defect called heterotaxy. She was with us for two short days, and then went to heaven.
For her birthday, we sent her messages to heaven attached to balloons. We would love to hear where her messages traveled and who received them. Please write us a short note on the back of this card, and send it back.
Thanks, Sarah and Adam Gibson & family"
On the back we had our address. We'll see if we get any back, and where they went!
While everyone was getting their pictures or letters and balloons ready, I was running back and forth making sure everyone had everything they needed and helping out where I could. I didn't even think about writing a note to Danni myself, but then Adam came into the living room to get his balloons for his message to Danni. I asked if I could read it. He, of course, said no, then handed it to me. It was really, really sweet and straight from his heart (not something I see from him very often!). It made me get all teary-eyed. Then he told me that he got to read mine. So I went and wrote one to her myself. It wasn't nearly as sweet or as heart-filled as his, but I let him read it.
Once everyone had their messages attached to balloons (we ran out of helium, so some people shared balloons, mom put hers in with mine), we went outside to the front yard, where it was tree-free. Beth, Adam's mom, started singing happy birthday, and everyone joined in. Then we released our balloons.
Sending our balloons!
Away they go!
Once we watched the balloons all disappear into the sky, we went in for some birthday cake (made and decorated by Danni's mommy!) What would a birthday party be without birthday cake?!
Mommy & Daddy with Danni's cake
Some people had to leave before we had cake, but shortly after we finished our cake, everyone had to leave.
Adam and his brother, Jon, wanted to go see a movie, and Adam wanted me to go too. But it was already 9pm, and the movie wouldn't be over with until 11:30pm. So, even though I would have much rather had Adam stay home with me, I said he could go have a date night with his brother (he hasn't had that for a while). I thought I would try to stay up until he got home, but I couldn't even stay awake to start writing this blog post. So I went to bed.
When Adam got home, he crawled into bed, and asked me to cuddle with him (normally I want to cuddle and he just wants to roll over and go to sleep!). But I had already been asleep for probably an hour, and grunted out a "no." (I think he was a little surprised!) It was an emotional day, so we did talk a little, but we both quickly dozed off to sleep.