A blog about family life and remembering our sweet Georgia, who died of SMA.
Welcome to Georgia's Journey
Georgia Lily Lucas was born at home on October 6th, 2008 4:15am, in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She was diagnosed with SMA (Spinal Muscular Atrophy) on April 1, 2009.
On April 3rd Georgia was taken home, to be near her sisters and the rest of her family and friends. Nearly three weeks later, on April 21, 2009, she died peacefully -- in the loving arms of her mother and in the same room in which she was born.
Recently, a bored Maya took a few pieces of paper, folded them in half and announced that she was going to make a book. She spent ages drawing pictures and writing but I had no idea what she was actually working on. The next day she came up and proudly presented me with 'My Family Book - by Maya'.
Page 1 - This is me. (picture of herself in a yellow dress)
Page 2 - This is my sister Calla. (picture of Calla in a blue dress)
Page 3 - This is my sister Aria. (picture of Aria on the swings in a purple dress)
Page 4 - This is my mom and Cocoa. (picture of me in blue and green with Cocoa)
Page 5 - This is my dad. (for some reason Mike is drawn among the flowers)
Page 6 - This is my Angel. (baby Georgia with wings)
Page 7 - This is my family. (All of us including Georgia)
Maya's book is full of colors and details. When I read it the first time I teared up because I realized that despite suffering from anxiety since Georgia's death she has a strong idea about family. If you look at the book it appears brightly colored and detailed - a happy story.
Maya's teacher told me the other day that she has shown no signs of anxiety at school. In fact, Maya is a social butterfly who loves to dance and sing. She is still nervous about new situations and me leaving her but for the most part she is thriving. The book that she made is my little treasure. It reminds me that she is going to be okay. That is the best gift that she could have ever given me. : )
Ahhh Georgia. Four years ago today you joined our family and we couldn't have been happier, so beautiful and perfect... We had no idea how short your stay would be with us or that we would never even celebrate your first birthday with you. In your short lifetime you taught so many about the power of generosity, faith and love. You still do.
As we mark your fourth birthday without you I realize that there is no anger or confusion anymore. The sadness remains, a huge ache in my chest that feels so much larger on a day like today. Besides happy birthday there is only one thing left to say: Thank you Baby! Thank you for joining us and helping us all to become better people. We will mark your birthday with gratitude and do our best to celebrate your very beautiful life.
We took the girls to have their pictures taken at Sears yesterday. It was quite funny because we had a very uncooperative two year old. In fact, she wanted to wear her Backyardigans pyjamas! In the end we got a few cute group shots but my favorites are the individuals. At the last minutes I grabbed a couple of the scarves my mom and aunts have been knitting and wrapped them around Calla and Maya. Here are the results.
Hope all the family and friends enjoy! I am sorry I haven't updated more. I know that you enjoy the pictures! : )
Love to you all,
Somehow summer has flown by and we are already back into the fall routine. With that routine comes preparations for Georgia's Journey of Hope and a flooding of memories. How naive and hopeful I was hugely pregnant with my third child. It seems odd that it was 4 years ago when sometimes it feels like yesterday. In the last few months I have found myself almost back in that same place. Not pregnant and no longer so naive but hopeful.
I am excited watching my girls grow and change. Calla is now in grade 3 and Maya in grade 1. We're only in the second week but they are both happy and adjusting well. I love to watch Maya, my once anxious and fearful child, running around on the playground with her little buddies. She has discovered a real love of dancing and has chosen to take a couple of extra classes on her own without a teacher or friends that she knows. I admire her courage and desire to do something that she loves.
Calla has lots of friends at school too and although she remains quiet she does really well academically. She continues to dance as well. She doesn't always like to try new things but has opted to join her friends in a hip hop class this year. She tells me that it's hard but fun and she wants to continue. Calla also swims like a fish and she will start swimming with the swim club in October.
Aria is in dance and gymnastics. She is in the terrible twos stage but somehow makes me laugh on a regular basis. She still loves music and says the funniest of things. Today when I went to take her out of the van she said, "Mommy, My legs don't work anymore! Carry me!"
As many of you know, Mike has been doing really well with his running. He ran the half marathon in June placing 30th among 3000. Then last month he ran a 10k and came in first. A few days ago he again placed first in his age group running a ten miler. He always runs in his Never Give Up shirt available through the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation. He considers it good luck!
We are planning a trip to Disney in November. I don't know if I have ever been so excited for a trip in my life. For those of you that know me, you know that I have traveled quite a bit. I am also looking forward to subbing this year yet again.
So life is good and full of joy. I am hopeful and yet always surprised how grief can suck the life out of me. Yesterday after handing out brochures all evening for GJOH and chatting to people about the event I was physically and emotionally exhausted. Then of course, I couldn't sleep. Insomnia! I had almost forgotten about you! Now I am trying to shake off the fatigue and the heaviness but know that it will probably stick with me until October 6th, the day my little girl would have been 4.
September 30th we will be celebrating that beautiful little girl. Join us!
It's hard to believe but our Little Miss Aria turned two years old today. I don't think that she fully understands it yet but she picked out her birthday cake and even sang happy birthday to herself! LOL
Here's our little dolly!
She insisted on having the 'back and yewow bumble bee.' It turned out pretty cute. Not sure why blogger turned it.
While I used the girls as my models the scarves are definitely designed for adults. Little girls can wear them too but I just want to make sure that everybody understands. My mom can make shorter ones for little girls as well.
With only 5 months to go before Georgia's Journey of Hope 2012, things have started to warm up around here. My mom and my Auntie Maggie have been knitting up a storm! They have been creating these beautiful scarves ready for sale with all proceeds to Families of Spinal Muscular Atrophy Canada. While I know that it may be the wrong season for scarves I wanted to show them off before Mother's Day. Hint, hint! They will be available from now until Fall. The cost is $22 and they come in a variety of different colors. I have taken a few pictures with my very beautiful models to show you what they are like.
If you are interested in seeing or ordering a scarf please contact me directly. Georgia's Journey of Hope has been booked for September 30th. Please mark your calendars.
It's been almost 3 years since I held you in my arms. I find this idea staggering! How is it that I have survived 3 years without you? We miss you and love you so much. While our lives are continuously busy and always changing the void that you have left is permanent and unmoving.
I think that you would be proud of all of us. Calla remains quiet but she loves school and has lots of friends. She is happy. Maya is growing into a self confident learner and a social butterfly. She too is happy. Both of them remember you.
Aria, the little girl that I know you had a hand in sending us, loves to sing...just like you. What you lacked in physical strength, she has in spades. She loves to climb and jump and one of her favorite tricks is to walk her legs up the back of the couch to show us her handstand!
Your daddy works hard at taking care of all of us. Sometimes when he comes home and your three sisters go running to him I see him glance around for just a second. Despite being loved by three gorgeous little girls his arms sometimes ache to hold another - you. He continues on his quest for health and is in better shape than ever. He too is happy.
It has taken me three years but I feel like I have finally achieved a sense of normalcy. I stay busy with your sisters and have even returned to working. The anxiety that I have struggled with has dissipated. In a couple of weeks I will be speaking at The Children's Hospital Memorial. I consider it an honor. I too am happy.
We will escape tomorrow as we always do. On Saturday we will take a few moments to remember and celebrate you. The best way that I can think of celebrating you is to simply love each other. That is part of the reason that I like getting away. It is our family time without any interruptions.
So, while I find it staggering that is has been almost three years, I feel your presence as much today as I did then. As time marches on we will continue to move forward. The joy that you brought into our lives remains because you are never away from us. You have taught us that love transcends death and we know that you remain forever near. We carry you with us each and every day. We miss seeing your smile and hearing your laugh. We miss your big blue eyes and your amazing singing voice. We miss everything that you were and everything that you could have been but... we know that you are never far away.
Today, March 16th, of course marks the 3rd anniversary of the day that I brought Georgie into the hospital. Instead of dwelling on that sad moment I thought instead, that I would share some pictures from our latest family adventure. Three weeks ago we took off for the sun and sand in Puerto Vallarta. We stayed in an all inclusive family resort, relaxed and had LOTS of fun!
Calla and Maya ready for the Pirate Party. They made their swords and eye patches at the Kids Club.
A family shot taken in town.
Our bathing beauty. Note - she still has her pyjamas on! LOL
Building sand castles.
Look out Maya!
Playing Mini Golf on the resort.
Daddy and Aria hanging out.
It was a fabulous seven days and we are already planning for next year. It's so nice to know true happiness again!
Tomorrow is my birthday. Three years ago I felt like celebrating. I snuck away in the afternoon to get my hair done -to feel pampered. We invited a few friends over for dinner. I drank wine. I laughed...a lot. I had no idea that my life was about to experience a tragic turn of events. I was blissfully naive. I was happy!
Fast forward 3 years. Tomorrow is my birthday and I feel like celebrating. No, I won't be sneaking away to be pampered or hanging out with friends. I may have a glass of wine and I really hope that I laugh but I am giving myself a gift this year. It's called forgiveness.
I made peace with losing Georgia some time ago but I haven't quite made peace with myself. Last February I was fighting depression and so jumped on a treadmill. I have often found peace while running but it has always been short lived. Recently, I decided to just start forgiving myself. That way if there is no treadmill nearby and the snowbanks are piled high I can still find it.
Since Georgia died I often find myself feeling overwhelmed by the supidest things - the kitchen sink has dishes in it, we're going to be two minutes late, the van is dirty, supper wasn't started on time, I didn't exercise etc. You'd think having lost a child that I wouldn't sweat the small stuff and that I could put things into perspective. Instead the opposite has happened. If I feel like I am losing control I start to feel angry and upset. I even find myself worrying about what others may be thinking. Stupid!
While I did not make it a New Year's resolution, I have been taking more deep breaths since Christmas. I am continually reminding myself that somethings really don't matter. My van has been dirty for a couple of weeks now and I know that eventually it will get washed! If I don't get all of the laundry folded this morning, it will still be waiting for me this afternoon. If I choose to take some time for myself, my kids will be just fine. In fact, they're so much better behaved when I come home! LOL
It's hard to find true happiness after experiencing a loss. Even while you experience joy you always feel like something is missing. Sometimes you feel guilty for feeling happy. Forgiving yourself means understanding that you can be cheerful, ecstatic, delighted etc without loving the person you have lost any less. I have always known that Georgia knew this, it has just taken me a while to accept it myself. Maybe, I'm a little slow. : )
So, this year I am giving myself a gift and I am proud to say that I am once again happy!