Tuesday, August 2nd
On Saturday, July 23rd, I told you all about the special painting that I had been procrastinating on painting for my friend, Erum.
I was just scared that I would disappoint both of us but once I finally painted it, literally years after she asked for it, it turned out so good and I was extremely happy with it.
I had the painting vectorized
to make sure I would be able to have it printed on any surface.
It was the first time I’ve ever had a painting vectorized, so I was a little nervous that I wouldn’t be happy with the vector.
The vector really came out gorgeous!
It turned out so great that I ordered a poster print from the vector and later, I plan to order a carry-on suitcase from it.
The poster came just in time
for the birthday party that I wanted to unveil the painting and poster at!
A double birthday party on Saturday
Erum’s birthday is actually on the 28th and that fell mid-week this year, so she wanted to celebrate her and her husband’s birthdays on Saturday, July 30.
July 30th is also the actual birthday my friend that is in the hospital, you may remember me telling you about her.
To protect her and her families privacy, I’ll call her by her nick-name, Diana Dear…
I wanted very badly to make Diana Dear’s birthday extra special this year.
I talked to my husband, son and closest group of friends about it to see who could attend, I checked with Erum to make sure she didn’t mind sharing the day and I asked everyone to give her things she could use in the hospital.
Once I was confident that I would have a small group of friends to help me surprise Diana Dear, I also checked with her mother and the hospital front desk to make sure there was no problem with a group of around 7 people coming in to surprise her and sing happy birthday.
With all that out of the way, I planned a little surprise birthday party for Diana Dear!
I’ve been seeing Diana Dear regularly and it’s still very difficult for me to see her this way, so I knew some time to decompress would be needed by everyone else afterwards.
With that in mind, I scheduled it Diana’s surprise party 3 hours ahead of Erum’s party.
That way, we could surprise Diana Dear, spend some time with her (but not so much that we would ware her out) and then get coffee together to kind of decompress and talk before heading to the second party.
The best made plans…
Unfortunately, half of our group couldn’t make it to the hospital surprise party due to being under the weather and other responsibilities (but they’ve all planned other times to see her).
Which left only 3 of us to surprise her.
As surprise birthday parties in hospitals go, I think it went very well!
We dressed up in party clothes, got flowers and a balloon and took a few wrapped gifts with us.
A couple out of state friends recorded a video message, along with themselves playing the happy birthday song on bag pipes and drums and sent it to me so I could play it for her. (It was awesome!)
After greeting her, we played the video a few times and sang along with it the second time we played it.
We asked her if she would like to try to unwrap her gifts herself but she signaled “no”. So, we sat next to her and opened the gifts for her and showed her each item.
Since my husband and I had gotten her a fleece blanket for Christmas, I wanted to get something different this time.
So, I got her nice, thick, Alice in Wonderland ankle socks. There were 5 pairs of socks in the pack and a different character on each pair.
My son gave her Harry Potter ankle socks. They were also nice and thick with different characters on each pair.
Another out of state friend, sent a Harry Potter blanket for her to my house.
I wrapped all the gifts in coordinating rainbow and birthday Sloth wrapping papers (Diana Dear loves rainbows and hearts) and we told her who each gift was from.
We sat, chatted with her and told her stories until her eyes started to droop and then I decided it was time to go.
In the end, I think we stayed a hour and a half.
We found a starbucks to get coffee and headed to Baltimore City for Erum’s party.
As a parent, you hope to teach your children compassion, kindness and love.
My son displayed all 3 that day.
I’ve always been very proud of my son, but that day, I was prouder than ever!
This was a very emotionally difficult day but he got up early, got dressed up and did what many of Diana Dear’s friends, that are up to twice his age, have not been able to do.
He faced the impending death of a friend head-on and comforted her as much as was in his power to do.
Yes, he’s a grown man – he just turned 30 – but many, if I’m truthful, most of Diana Dear’s friends, who spent much more time with her than my son did through me, have not showed up for her.
But my son came, from out of state, exhausted from driving from Colorado to Maryland and showed great compassion, kindness and love.
When we entered the room, we said “Surprise! Happy birthday!”
Diana Dear smiled, something she doesn’t do much anymore, and then tears welled up in her eyes. When Josh hugged her, she held on to him with her one good hand and did not let go for a long time.
Josh kneeled down on the floor next to the bed and hugged her for as long as she wanted to be hugged, then he continued to kneel and hold her hand and talk to her.
We told her stories and news until she seemed to be getting tired and then we said our goodbyes and promised to visit again soon.
My heart swelled
I have to tell you that my heart swelled with love and pride to see how compassionate and kind my darling boy was to our friend, who was mostly my friend, and my eyes filled with tears watching Diana Dear’s eyes fill with tears.
I could see that we truly had surprised her and made her happy!
On our way to our next event
Next it was time to go to Erum’s party.
We drove to Baltimore City to meet for dinner.
We talked of Diana Dear on our way. Memories, fun times, how upsetting it is that out of so many friends, only 3 of us are visiting regularly and 1 of those 3 lives out of state.
By the time we arrived in Baltimore, Josh was feeling unwell.
This often happens to me. The reality of her situation is so sad and so devastating that I just get extremely nauseous and can not eat or drink until the next day.
I also get very angry that so few friends are taking the time to visit her.
We arrived at the restaurant early and ordered drinks while we waited.
Gradually, everyone came in and we were taken to our table.
Unfortunately, Josh just felt sicker and sicker until he had to leave.
He was very upset and felt guilty that we, our group, should be eating and happy on Diana Dear’s birthday, while she lay in a hospital bed, unable to walk, talk or eat.
I know how he felt because I often feel that way.
In a way we have already started mourning Diana. As she lingers on the brink of life, we feel guilty to continue living, eating and being happy.
I recognize these signs of mourning because it reminds me of how I felt when my father died; the sadness, the survivor’s guilt, the anger at the unfairness of life…
But as difficult as it is, I believe it is important to continue to “live” and celebrate life and then it occurred to me, that is what birthday parties are, they are a celebration of life.
Erum and Peter’s party
I was very excited to give Erum and Peter their birthday gifts this year!
For Erum, I framed the original painting that I made for her and also had the poster made and I couldn’t wait for her to open her gifts.
Usually, I wait patiently for the appropriate time to open gifts and usually give my gift last but this time, I just couldn’t wait!
Here’s the unveiling!
Peter, like my husband has everything he wants and if he doesn’t have it, he buys it.
Because of this, everyone usually gives him his favorite red wine for birthdays.
I wanted to do something different this year, so we got him a small-batch maple syrup in a nice glass bottle.
We found it in a farm-to-store ice cream shop and thought he would like it.
I also got him a bag of Whole Bean Mixed Torrefacto Espresso Coffee from La Tienda.
This is the same coffee that I get for Jason on special occasions. Apparently, it’s amazing but because of my caffeine allergy, I can not taste it.
We had shared some with Erum and Peter one evening when they were over for dinner and Peter seemed to really like it.
So, while I was ordering a bag of the Whole Bean Mixed Torrefacto Espresso Coffee for Jason for Father’s Day, I bought an extra bag to save for Peter for his birthday.
This coffee is pricey, so it’s the type of thing that Jason will not buy for himself and I thought it would be a good gift for Peter, as well.
He was really happy with his gifts and I’m very glad that we got out of our comfort zone when picking his gifts this year!