Monday, July 30, 2007

Forever in Our Heart

It's been almost a month and half since Brianna died and an hour doesn't go by that I don't think of her. Every day, it is hard to get out of bed and crying is something I do on a regular basis. Several hours will go by when the grief is not foremost in our minds. John, Trevor and I have had some nice family time together recently, but it is bittersweet. When we're enjoying ourselves, thoughts of Brianna float into our minds and we all realize just how much we miss her. This is a pain that no parent or brother or sister should have to bear, and yet here we are having to struggle through it. Family and friends continue to help us, and my art has given me some respite from the constant ache in my heart.

The response to Angels for Brianna was beyond our imagination. We are grateful to all the artists who participated, and to all who bid on the beautiful angels available. The workmanship and talent was amazing, and to the organizers, Colleen, Sylvia, Kitty and Stephanie we are so very appreciative.

We received two packages in the mail over the past week or so. The first was from King of Mice Studios, Carolee Clark. You may remember, one of the items in the auction was a breathtaking box painted with Brianna's image on it and stars with crystals. Well, Lyndy purchased the item and sent it to us. I cried when I opened it and read her card. Lyndy, you have no idea how special this is to us, thank you, thank you. With tears in my eyes, I am writing this to let you know I will use it to keep all of Brianna's jewelry. She would like knowing that her special things will be kept in a truly special keepsake.

The second package was from Deerfield Farmhouse's Christine Crocker, an artist who is in the Directory of Traditional American Crafts 2007. She donated an angel doll to the auction. Her work is unbelievably detailed and lovely and someone sent us the stunning angel. The purchaser remains anonymous, but I suspect she has been one of our greatest supporters. You know who you are, and I want you to know that we are ever so grateful to all that you have done for us. I have placed the sweet angel next to Brianna's portrait in our family room and next to the crown given to us by Donna O'Brien of the Ribboned Crown. I will cherish these things until the end of my days, when I will see Brianna again.

I also want to thank Donna for helping me get out and work on art. Soon after Brianna's funeral, she signed she and I and Colleen up for a class held about two weeks ago and lead by Ulla Milbrath at Castle in the Air in Berkeley . (Ulla contributed the decorative and beautiful filligree necklace for the auction.) The class was Fairy Tale Altered Books and we had a good time. We all felt Brianna was with us. Before class, Ulla presented me with an antique paper angel that was used during celebrations at a church. It has curly hair and blue eyes and reminds me of my daughter. Thank you Ulla for such a thoughtful and wonderful gift.

As the days go by, I can't stop thinking "Why? Why Brianna?" It is something that will haunt me for a very long time. We went to the Compassionate Friends meeting last week and most of the parents there had children who passed away several years ago. They were so supportive and understanding of each other and us. And they acknowledged that it takes a long time before you stop asking "Why?" and accept what is. We all talked about our children who died and our children who survive. We discussed how they get messages from their beloved children. One woman told us how she found a lone cloud in a clear blue sky in the shape of the first letter of her long gone son's name, and how another has butterflies landing on her when she thinks of her son. The group meets monthly and John and I plan on attending for a while.

I've written much here, I know it's been a long time and I know it is a bit disjointed. I have written more in a journal I'm keeping. It began as Brianna's Idea book. She had cut and pasted art ideas and drawings of things she wanted to create into a large, bound sketch book. Only the first 15 pages or so were filled during the past year. Hopes and dreams she will never fulfill. I have commented on some of her ideas and how she so wanted a laser cutter to make laser sculpted, acrylic pendants. I have written how I actually priced one out for her and found they run about $10,000. Besides the price tag, it wouldn't have fit in our home. I had to tell her no on that one, but she understood. I am writing memories about her and the things she did that made her so unique and the daughter I love and miss so very much.

Brianna ~ You are forever in our hearts. God bless my sweatheart.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Angels for Brianna Begins Sunday, July 8

Many caring and talented artists are contributing to an online art auction in honor of our daughter Brianna Lauren Grant, Jan. 12, 1990 - June 15, 2007. Angels for Brianna will last for one week, beginning Sunday, July 8, and ending on Saturday, July 14. Our family is so touched and appreciative of the 70 or more artists who have donated their time and talents to memorialize our courageous and beautiful daughter who died in the hospital after four months while undergoing a bone marrow transplant. Brianna is in our hearts and her loss is felt by many. We are broken by her passing. No words can adequately express our gratitude to all of you for your time and talents. For now, we can only say thank you, thank you for all that you have done and continue to do. Please click on the link above for information about the auction.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007


Many family and friends came to Brianna's funeral. Because we were in such grief, I did not think to take pictures. Actually, it made me so sad to think of taking pictures, because all I wanted to do was forget that my baby was dead. But one friend, Virgil, did take some and I'm glad he did. This is one of his pictures of the dove release.

Our family gathered around Brianna's casket and we were each given a dove to hold. At the same time, we released them into the air. They circled several times before journeying home. The release symbolized Brianna's spirit rising and joining other family members who have passed away and are now in the heavens. The doves also symbolized "letting go" and the beginning of our grieving. We all cried softly as the beautiful birds fluttered away together into the sky.

We have received numerous cards of condelences with special notes written from many of you. They are all special to us. I'd like to share one in particular.

While Brianna and I were in the hospital, she would would get massages to help relax her. One of the volunteer therapists, Kathy, always came in with a smile and laid healing hands on Brianna as part of the massage. She even spent extra time giving me one on my neck and shoulders, when she could. She sent a special card with the word "Grace" surrounded in glitter and inside she wrote a beautiful note:

You and Brianna are in my thoughts.

I will always marvel at what I sensed as your daughter's calm and completely centered place at the heart of her being. Repeatedly, as I worked with her, regardless of what was swirling around her, or happening at the physical level, she seemed to have access to this core. I believe this core was the place of true healing for her.

I wrote the enclosed Haiku in Brianna's memory. I am blessed to have been touched by both of you. Peace...Kathryn

Here is her Haiku:

Stream fall over moss
One leaf glides to pebble path
Dew rests on stone bench

Storm in wrong season
Gales rage outside courtyard walls
Garden calm, pond smooth

She walks here in grace
Where the courageous soul lives
Her still sacred space

Thank you Kathryn...John and I both thank you. We will treasure your words and poem, along with the cherished memories of our sweetheart.