Happy 15th birthday, Sweetheart! You have been a source of light and joy in our lives since the moment we first knew you were coming. We love you and miss you, and wish that you were here so we could spoil and celebrate you today!
Grandma & Kappa sent a lovely card with prayers, and a gift to cheer me, and then they made a donation to your endowment; the Katie Gerstenberger Endowment for Cancer Research at Seattle Children's Hospital will now be around the $100,000 mark. Dr. Park and her colleagues will continue to use the income to work on finding cures for solid tumors like the one you had, which is what I know you wanted your endowment to do.
I'm going to take a walk with Kathleen (Hayden & Gunnar's mom) today. Daddy doesn't know what he wants to do on your birthday, so David and I will decide...we'll watch some of your favorite movies; maybe we'll let 15 balloons go from your bench in Waterfront Park, and get a cake from DQ.
Daddy & I talked about what to do this year - how to celebrate your day without you. Last year was awful; he was not "on board" with what we did, but he didn't have any other ideas to suggest at the time. If I showed you some of the photographs from the day, you would see it clearly in his body language. He doesn't like to try to recreate the kind of day that you would like, since you're not here to enjoy it. Frankly, nothing that we have done on your birthdays (since you passed) has felt good to him, or to me. Nowadays, he leans more toward making a donation to your endowment, rather than eating dinner at Il Fornaio, or letting balloons go over Liberty Bay.
I wish I could take you shopping (would you still be a Nordstrom girl at 15?), out for a girls' lunch and to get a pedicure at the spa. I'd love to spoil you, so you could be "princess for the day." I wish we got to do that more often; I will always miss the many days, events and years that I assumed would be ours to share.
I love you and miss you, Sweetie. Every single moment, every single day, you have my love with you. Happy 15th Birthday, gorgeous girl! You made our family complete, and we treasure the gift of your life.
I have many dates burned into my mind: the day Katie was admitted to the hospital (10/10/2006); the date of her diagnosis (10/13/06); the dates of her surgery to remove the tumor (2/21/2007 to 2/22/07); the day we found out she was going to die (7/20/07): the day she passed away (8/16/07). Her birthday is thehappy day that is burned into my mind. Yet it is difficult to celebrate it without her, because she should be here to enjoy it, receiving the love and attention of her family and friends. So today is a day of mixed emotions, to say the least.
I'm thankful for
this beautiful gift of flowers from Elizabeth and
Sophie (who shares the exact same birthday as Katie: Happy 15th Birthday, Sophie!)
the lovely card, prayers and gifts from my parents
for the understanding and love of my husband and son (Katie's father and brother).