Today is April 4th. One year ago, my sweet sister went to heaven. This has been a year of firsts. First summer without Blair, first Halloween, first birthday, first Christmas. It has been a year of thinking about how much B impacted our lives, and how my life has changed now that she is gone. Though this past year has been full of tears and tough days… Blair has also sent us many gifts along the way. Through all of her little signs, she has been making sure that we knew she was always watching over us.
One of the first signs we noticed from Blair was when my mom started seeing cardinals. Cardinals are known to be visitors from heaven. Soon after Blair passed away, we started to see cardinals everywhere. We saw them in our yard, in store parking lots, on vacation, and more. Family and friends began to tell us that they were seeing cardinals too. We often saw them in the most unusual places. When we were in North Carolina last summer, a cardinal was sitting in the middle of the road and flew away in just enough time for us to catch a glimpse of it. On our toughest days, days that we are missing Blair the most, we can always count on a cardinal to fly by and brighten up our day.
Another one of my favorite signs from B was the one that convinced us to get a puppy. Blair has always loved dogs. Our poodle, Henri, was Blair’s best friend in her last several months. In late 2016, when Blair was still alive, I started dropping hints to my parents that I wanted another dog. I pitched to my parents all of the reasons that our family needed a puppy. Though my parents weren’t completely against the idea, we all knew that with Blair’s condition getting worse, we couldn’t handle a puppy at the time.
After Blair passed away, we revisited the idea. My parents started looking for breeders, and after thinking that they were at a dead end… they found a breeder from Canada. The breeder sent my mom an email, with a message from a happy customer attached. The message had a photo of their new dog, a chocolate poodle. The message said, “We love our new poodle. The kids decided to name her Blair”. We believed that this was a sign from Blair. In June of 2017, we flew to New York to meet this same breeder, and brought home Blair’s brother. We named him Hudson. Hudson was, and still is, like a therapy dog for me. He is a crazy puppy and was often a funny distraction on tough days. Blair would’ve loved Hudson.
Hudson was only one of the many ways that our family dynamic changed after Blair passed away. When B was alive, our lives revolved around making her happy. Blair changed all of our lives, and even though she’s gone… our lives continue to revolve around all of the things she taught us. Yet since Blair passed away, there are many things that my family can do that we couldn’t before. In this past year, my parents and I each had to find ourselves individually and as a whole. My mom has amazed me the most in what she’s done in the past year. Blair has always been her job. She stayed at home and took care of Blair everyday. So after B passed away, she had to find something that she was passionate about to fill the void that this left in her day-to-day life. To say it simply, she did. She not only got her real estate license, but became an ambassador for the company, India Hicks. She has gone above and beyond when it comes to this new passion. She was recognized as top salesperson for April and had an article written about how being a part of this company has helped her during her grieving. I am so incredibly proud of my mom and how she has dealt with starting this new chapter in her life.
As for me, this website has been a big part of my coping. I have loved not only writing blogs about my experiences, but hearing other siblings stories too. And though my friends would make fun of me for it, I have loved all of the meetings, emails, phone calls, and organizing that I put into this website to make it what it is now. I hope that this website can help other siblings as much as it has helped me in the past year. Though, as a family, we all still have our bad days… we are going through this together and that is more important than anything.
Today, April 4th, 2018, has been terribly amazing. It has been a day of reflection, and looking back at how we have all changed in the past year. We saw a cardinal this morning, and as it flew around our backyard, we knew it was Blair saying hello on one of the toughest days. At night, we released purple lanterns surrounded by our friends and family. Though we look back at the pain from one year ago today, we also look back at every way that Blair inspired others through her always positive personality. Her happy, sassy, lazy, funny, loving, playful, breathtaking personality that we miss so much.
Jan. 1 always brings up difficult feelings for me. Even before Sanfilippo syndrome entered our lives, New Year’s was a holiday for reflection — which isn’t necessarily an easy thing to process. Each year, thoughts about what the coming year has in store flood my mind. Read More