Caitlin Dickey's Journal
Written Jun 5, 2013 9:37pm
Thursday, June 6th, would have been Caitlin's 10th Birthday. She was just 3 weeks shy of double digits...
We are asking a challenge! Release pink and purple balloons in honor of Caitlin on her Birthday! Attach a paper with whatever you would like to say to her or other people to know about her. On the other side, write: "Happy 10th Birthday in Heaven Caitlin! To the person finding this balloon, please visit www.caringbridge.org/visit/caitlindickey and sign Caitlin's website telling us where you found this balloon!"
She will be smiling down on us, can't wait to see if we get any responses :)
Tomorrow, on Caitlin's 10th Birthday, Alex's Lemonade Stand will be doing an all day Telethon on CBS Philly. Tune in all day, and especially after 6. You may see some familiar faces ;-) Tomorrow morning, also, on Good Morning America, there will be several kids raising awareness, one being Caitlin's friend Charlotte and family! This weekend also kicks off Lemonade Days across the country! Find a lemonade stand at www.alexlemonade.org and support this great cause!
I believe I did not reveal the final Zumbathon amount... over $8,500 was raised to benefit the Pediatric Cancer Foundation of the Lehigh Valley! Thank you to everyone who contributed and participated at this great event! We are forever grateful to the support that has been given to this cause!
Monday was an amazing day for our Hopewell Family (where Caitlin went to school Kindergarten - 3rd Grade). Home Depot Came out and did an Extreme Makeover to the school's Habitat garden area! The area was overgrown and seldom used. Jakob's whole class was out there weeding and planting and getting totally dirty! They had a blast! Home Depot had a huge crew come in with dirt, mulch and plants! Today, Wednesday, was a great dedication and reveal. The garden is beautiful! They delivered a butterfly bench in Caitlin's honor, planted butterfly bushes and the kids painted rocks. We are honored that we can share space with Michael, another Hopewell angel and childhood cancer child. They cleaned up around his butterfly bush and added his name in rock too! Thank you Home Depot (Lehigh Street), without you, we could not have had such a transformation in such a short amount of time. You have gone above and beyond and have honored our girl so sweetly - Thank You!
The following was read this morning:
My Little Butterfly
Today a little butterfly flew by me.
I thought to myself where have you been little butterfly.
You come into this world as a cocoon all by yourself and blossom
into this beautiful butterfly and fly off to see the world. What you don't realize little butterfly as you flutter through your days
Is how you touch those around you in your soft gentle ways.
You don't even realize the wonder and awe you create around you.
She fluttered her wings toward me as if she was waving good-by
As she headed toward the horizon, she looked very happy and content
as she went on her way, as if to say to me "Don't worry, I'll be okay."
That I knew my life would never be the same.
She had left an imprint of all the beauty life has to offer.
I know each time I looked at another butterfly or horizon
I would remember our moment in time when it was only her and I.
I knew I would be a better person all because this little butterfly flew
By me on bright sunny day.
Caitlin, we miss you more than ever every day. Everything we do, we think of you. We love you so much and wish you were here with us on your 10th Birthday. Love you always and forever!
Mommy, Daddy and Jakob
Written May 31, 2013 3:43pm
2 Weeks today, we said goodbye to our sweet princess. It seems like yesterday, yet seems so far away. We miss her so much it hurts. The only thing that slightly dulls the sting is to remember how very sick she was in the last few months, how much pain she was in. She is no longer in pain, but will forever be missed.
In the beginning, I desperately looked for signs. The Thursday after her funeral, it was a cloudy, rainy day. There was a burst of sunshine and we would always run to the front of the house when something like that happened because we knew it was perfect conditions for a rainbow. No rainbow. Caitlin and I pinky promised she'd send us rainbows and butterflies (long talks we had when she was in her final sleep), but no rainbow. I found myself sad.
The next day, still rainy, I brought Jakob to school. As I pulled into the garage, I turned off the car and radio. I thought I heard a child's voice. It was rainy outside and kids were at school. I then clearly heard Caitlin singing "you and me" like we had on her memorial video. I ran into the house thinking someone was listening to it loud and found my Mom and my sister sitting at the kitchen table in silence. Could it have been Caitlin? I hope so.
Tuesday night at her memorial. You do not realize how many people you actually know until you are faced with seeing them all in one room in one night. So many people who loved her, so many people with a true connection. We don't even know how many people were there in full, but it was a constant stream of people for over 2 1/2 hours. A lot of pink and purple, bonus for funky socks! A lot of men now have a new purple shirt they have dubbed "the Caitlin shirt" :) Her friends, oh, I love her friends. I know this was a hard thing to do for them, especially if they had not ever been exposed to a funeral before. Seeing her again was hard, but we couldn't not see her again.
As we got home that night, our driveway and sidewalk were adorned with luminaries and our driveway was covered in chalk colored butterflies. It was beautiful! Thank you to the people who did this, we know who you are ;-)
Wednesday morning, we got to the church early. Caitlin was at the back of the church where we could visit her and anyone who was unable to come the night before could pay their respects. The service was beautiful. Mother Laura's sermon was perfect. The reflections were beautifully put and everyone really captured Caitlin as she was. They closed her casket during the service and covered it with a purple embelished cloth and brought her to the front.
After the service, they directed us immediately to the car. I was surprised how fast that had happened, but it was probably for the best. Jim, Jakob and I went to the crematorium alone. We were able to say our final goodbye to Caitlin. This time, I wasn't worried about ruining her makeup, We were able to hold her hand, hug and kiss her one last time...
How are we doing? Taking it day by day. It helps keeping busy. We still have a ton of cards to go through. Trying to get back into life. Things seem semi-ok while at home, with some moments. The hard part, I have found, is going out and doing things like we used to. I went to the store to stock up on summer clothes for Jakob. Just one kid. I couldn't look at the girl's side of the store. It is hard. I actually grocery shopped myself for the first time since February, seriously! I never realized how much I catered my list towards Caitlin, whether it is her special requests, or products specifically to support her health.
Jakob is doing ok. The art therapist has been coming, which is really nice for him. He is keeping busy with activities and friends. I'm sad for him. I'm sad he doesn't have his companion. They would be typical brother and sister and annoy each other, but on the other hand, would play so nicely together. I pray he continues to keep her memory aliveand will always remember the bond they had.
The one thing I would like to put out there is, never, ever be afraid of talking about Caitlin to us. Don't be afraid of saying the wrong thing. And if you can't figure out what to say, just talk about the weather! I've seen too many people lose connection with each other because people don't know what to say. I'm guilty of that too, but now I know better...
Many people have honored Caitlin in ways that just touch our hearts! Thank you to all who have donated to Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation and the Brain Tumor Research Fund at CHOP in Caitlin's honor! It means so much that so many people are doing something that is so important to honor Caitlin as well as help other children. Thank you!
Last Saturday was the Coopersburg 5k run. This run is special to us because Caitlin had represented Make a Wish for several years, as part of the proceeds go towards this. Friend and neighbors pulled off a great lemonade stand in Caitlin's honor! There were posters and pictures of Caitlin! Tons of baked goods! It was beautiful! Loved seeing everyone pull together. Thank you!
Sunday, Caitlin's friend and other friends held a lemonade stand benefitting CHOP and honoring Caitlin! Thank you kids! So proud of you :)
Another cool honor, Toll Brother's, the builder, holds an Alex's Lemonade Stand at each location across the US during lemonade days coming up next weekend. This year, they are honoring Caitlin at all PA sites and possibley NJ! One of the locations also let us use there cool wooden lemonade stand for the coopersburg run - Thank you! You are making a difference!
Thank you, everyone, for hearing Caitlin's story. Today is the last day of Brain Tumor Awareness Month. I think the events of this month have made everyone more than aware of the casualties of this awful disease in children and adults alike. Continue sharing about Caitlin. Now that you have a name and a face to what can happen, you can help other kids too. I see her friends continuing to honor her, adults, continuing to spread the word. One day, we pray that no kid has to go through what Caitlin went through.
Written May 20, 2013 9:49pm
These last few days have been such a whirlwind of activity. It is so hard to believe she is gone. We have been going through pictures and videos. A few times if I was in the other room, it felt like she was just across the house when a video played her voice and giggles. Finalizing her arrangements. Shopping. Shopping for the last thing she will ever wear. Looking at those little girl things at the store. Sad that I won't be buying her anything anymore...
Friday, we spent mourning, but planning. We planned her funeral. After the planning session, Jim and I got to the Zumba event as the children's session was ending. Being busy was good for us. Being at the Zumba event was important, it is what she would have wanted.
Oh, the Zumba for Caitlin event! I cannot express in words how special this night was! So many kids filing through. Hugs from those kids (I love those kids!). It was so very successful! Later on, there was the adult portion more geared for the adults (though lots of kids stayed for the fun!). Wow! So many people! Seriously, many many people! I cannot thank Kristin, and all of the people involved in making this happen enough! All of the instructors have this infectious, fun vibe about them! You can tell they love what they do, and the crowd loved it too!
I wasn't sure how much "shake" I could give that night, but out in the hall, I heard Caitlin's song. Rhianna's "we found love in a hopeless place". This is a song that she danced in the CHOP atrium after an NED MRI. She loved this song! I got up and channeled my inner Caitlin! It felt so good! Of course after, I was exhausted and felt too old for this, but knew my girl was with me in that moment :)
Jim and I shared the other spectrum of sadness while listening to Dave Matthew's "You and Me" they played for the cool down. You and Me. We listened to that many times in her last days.
All in all, an amazing beautiful night celebrating Caitlin's life. How crazy that this had been in the works for months, and it happened to be the same day as her passing. Maybe it was a start in healing for all of us. I particularly care about how her friends are doing. I hope they are ok. We are thankful the schools have sent in for extra help.
A sweet story of Jakob. At the Zumba event, there were so many raffle items! So many choices for young and old. Jakob arrived a little earlier than Jim and I. He told us he put all of his tickets in one bag. There was a 1 hour period in between the kid and adult event so Jakob went home with plans to come back as they did the raffles. He gave me $10 and told me to put all of the tickets in a specific bag. The item he wanted was a silver locket that you can put pictures in. He wanted to put a picture of Caitlin in it. Well, he won! He is so happy about it and carries the necklace everywhere!
***Notes for Tuesday's and Wednesday's event***
We ask that people wear Caitlin's favorite colors pink or purple. Wear silly socks, she loved silly socks :) Or if anything, happy colors :) Really, anything you feel comfortable with, but in the end, we are celebrating our happy, loving girl :)
Tuesday, May 21, 2013, 6pm-8pm
Viewing and visitation at Long Funeral Home, Bethlehem, PA. http://www.longfuneralhome.com
Wednesday, May 22, 2013 10am-11am
Viewing and visitation at Trinity Episcopal Church, Bethlehem, PA. http://www.trinitybeth.org
Wednesday, May 22, 2013, starting at 11am.
Closed casket funeral service at Trinity Episcopal Church, Bethlehem, PA. http://www.trinitybeth.org
Caitlin will be cremated following the funeral service.
In lieu of flowers, we are asking for donations to:
Neuro-Oncology Fund at CHOP http://www.chop.edu
34th St. and Civic Center Blvd.
Philadelphia PA, 19104-4399
Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation http://alexslemonade.org/mypage/111099
Contributions can be made to the above link. This is a lemonade stand that will be held on May 25th in Caitlin's honor at the Coopersburg 5k. If contributions have already been made without this link, that is ok as well. It all goes to a great place (plus, they all know our girl at ASLF and will get it to the right place) :)
To everyone's thoughts and prayers during this time, thank you.