Here's Raychel on Abi's Birthday Celebration:
When it came time to honor the day of our daughter’s birth, I struggled with how to go about it. I had seen on Wendi’s memorial page for Ethan -that they had a birthday party, and I really liked the idea. I had also been talking with Carrie about ways they honored Lila, and she told me about their balloon release, and I liked that also. After discussing it with my husband, he told me he wasn’t really comfortable having a “party” and cake but that it would be nice to have the support of friends on such a hard day. We agreed that the balloon release would be the best choice for us.
On May 23, 2009, we had a small BBQ in our backyard and spent time with very close friends. These friends and their wonderful children helped us release 130 balloons for the 130 days that we were able to spend with our beautiful daughter. Since they knew we did not want a cake, they brought butterfly shaped cookies. It was so sweet because we think of Abigayl as our little butterfly.
After the balloon release, we went to Abigayl's spot and took the balloons and the "flower cake" that we had made. Since she wasn’t here to blow out candles, I had a “cake” made from pink carnations with a number one in white flowers. It turned out perfectly, and it helped me feel like I was able to provide her with something unique on her special day.
As painful as the day was, it turned out so beautiful. I’m so thankful for the connection I have been able to make with Carrie because the balloon release was amazing and such a sweet tribute. I’m also thankful that Wendi shared her story on her memorial website. If I had not seen the pictures from Ethan’s special day, I may have still been at a loss as to what to do.
Our plan is to make the BBQ and balloon release Abigayl’s birthday present every year. I think it is the perfect way to honor her and celebrate her beautiful life.
Thanks, Raychel, for sharing this special day with all of us. You guys did an amazing job of remembering sweet Abigayl and celebrating her 1st Bday. She is blessed to have you as her parents. (((hugs to you both)))
Balloon Release Tips & Suggestions (We found some of these things out the hard way!)
*Be sure to have your release during good weather, it is a hard enough day- don't add bad weather to your list of frustrations.
*Be sure to stay far away from trees and power lines so balloons don't get tangled or wasted.
*Laminating your memory tags is a good way to preserve the info on the paper, but keep them small (postcard size) otherwise the balloons will struggle with the weight.
*Send a couple off at a time or they will tangle together.
*add an email address or a web address where people can contact you when they find them.
*Be patient, sometimes it can take months to get a response from a release.
*Renting a helium tank is best for any amount over 10, the tanks they sell at your local party store say they blow up 25-30, but usually don't go that far.
*Enjoy yourself and remember the beautiful reason you're doing it, don't put too much pressure on yourself to make it perfect.
If you have any further questions, feel free to contact us!