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Category Archives: Ashes

Holy Day Traditions

The time is upon us, as it always happens, to begin the rituals that bring us joy in the darkness.

Our cycle of memorial begins each year with Thanksgiving. It was 10 years ago we celebrated Mitch’s last Thanksgiving with his mother visiting from Cali. Loud laughter, that’s what I really remember because that’s what people heard when we were around. Joy overflowed and washed away our thoughts of possible futures, keeping us firmly in our Very Happy Right Now.

Daddy’s SO funny!

As was the Way of Mitch ♥ This holiday has since been one filled with a deep desire to celebrate and an equally deep desire to hide from any and all thought of it.
This year we’re celebrating with a few of those who understand my conundrum, with those who perhaps find themselves in one quite similar to my own. A place where laughter and tears shall flow as freely as the hugs and conversations. I want to start the Signing of the Tablecloth tradition; I want to light a candle for those we can no longer see with our eyes, only feel with our hearts; I want to leave a place at the table, ready for that unexpected Thanksgiving Guest to feel most welcome. And then I shall go home and cry and nap.
Then, I find it’s worthy to pick myself up for a drive through the Pepsi Christmas Light Display!! My most favorite kitschy Christmas thing to do in Corvallis. I shall go often and gleefully!
On Friday, there is the Downtown Holiday Parade. For which I shall dress warmly, bring a thermos and a blankey and take a gazillion pictures. Elvis just might show up again!
Mitch died on the First Sunday of Advent and you shall find me at the Catholic Mass that day; possibly giggling through my tears. We joked that Mitch waited for the church to be decorated with all it’s holyday finery before holding his funeral in the otherwise unadorned sanctuary.

Rise and Shine
Hannah Singing for Daddy

I may consider raising our tree on this day, though we’ve traditionally waited until Mitch’s actual Death Day, December 3.
Disneyland is calling ♥ I love, love, love to celebrate Mitch at Disneyland. It was one big trip he wanted to take with the kids, to share a bit of his joyful childhood with them. Instead, it’s the refuge we seek in mourning him, in remembering him.

What to do after 2 funerals for Daddy...

(we shall heed this call soon enough, we’ve many things worthy of a Disneyland celebration in our lives ♥)

Hannah + Funeral Cake
Hayden + Funeral Cake

This year, as the 10th Anniversary of Mitch’s Death, I’m looking for something Mitch-in-Oregon to inspire new heartfelt tradition. Whatever else, I hope the day includes some skee-ball & beer, laughter & children, and the ever important: Cake.
And adorning of the tree! I love adorning the tree! Our Angel Eeyore shall be placed in honor of Mitch, atop the tree. (Purchased on the above photographed trip to Disneyland) And the new ornaments I want to get to celebrate our 10 most Amazing years Since and Because of Mitch ♥

This season also marks the beginning of a New Moon circle of Women. I am eternally grateful to begin this ritual in step with the potential overwhelm of holyday rituals.

All the while, in the in between moments, I shall be creating the gifts we are exchanging this year.

For me, the real beginning of what is commonly called The Christmas Season is our Solstice Spiral tradition. On December 21, the longest dark of the year, I welcome you to join with me in Renewing Your Light & Ringing the Bells to Welcome Back the Sun ♥
I love to deliver little gifts on this night, thinking historically how these wee bits of joy would bring lightness to those who felt the dip in spirits that accompanies the dark time of the wheel. This is why I give gifts at all, actually.

I do the full-on Christmas decorating, a big ol’ tree, lots of lights, cheesy santas everywhere you look! I love all that is joyful and happy about ANY holiday, especially one that covers such a large part of the American Calendar. ANY excuse for people to look upon one another with an extra bit of kindness and compassion (me included!) is a good and wonderful thing in My World ♥
Pajamas have now become a Christmas Eve gift tradition. So we all look cute with our stockings the next day. Santa’s gifts are under the tree on Christmas Morn & the stockings have a stash of chocolate buried inside. Most Christmas Days are low-key, hang-out affairs. I’m thinking a ginomous feast is in order this year and shall be taking steps to see it happen. I love how life works that way ♥

I keep the trees and decorations up & the music playing as long as the people in my life will let me! Most often, I make it until January 6, the Day of Epiphany (those who want to keep Christ in Christmas? Gift exchange in the name of Jesus comes from the traditional gifts presented by the Magi, in January, FYI) the official ending of the Christmas Season in Diana’s World ♥

love the lights!

I’ve a few weeks respite then, before we reach the 12.5 years of life for Hayden and 14.5 years of parenting for me and 5 years without Hannah benchmarks, this February ♥ I’ll have the perfect Joyful Mournful Celebratory rituals ready for then, too. It’s what I do.


Hannah Lately

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Trisha took Breann to Hannah’s Bench at Falls Park yesterday. Just after Hannah died, I looked at then soon-to-be-married Trisha and said, in all seriousness, never get pregnant. Lucky for us all, she ignored my lunatic ravings refused my counsel ♥ I miss those girls, all three of ’em.
Then Jojo sent a message today: Had a Hannah moment the other day that made me miss you guys. Eating breakfast at Bagel Boy, The Reason came on. Love you
And I found more!
From Quinn, April 17, 2008: My Nana (Mom’s Mom) used to own a pond house on Johnson’s Pond which is right near where I live. You can actually get to it if you walk through the woods across the street from my house. My Mom used to spend her summer’s there when she was growing up. And Nana used to take me and Maddie there on weekends. Nana had to sell the house because she couldn’t afford the land she needed to buy to keep the house. This was probably about 5 years ago. (And the people that own it now are rich bitches, who I don’t like at all.) But it turned out to not be that bad because my old best friends grandfather had a house two houses down, and she would be there every weekend in the summer and she would invite me over to hang out. And we met these kids that visited for all of July that lived a couple houses down and we spent a lot of time with them and it was great. And the point is; There’s this place we called The Point where we would swim because it had a nice sandy area, and I went there today. And I brought my piece of Hannah, and it was really nice out and really peaceful and there was no one around and I was thinking how it would have been amazing to bring you and Hannah and Hayden there, and I found this stuffed monkey, and I left some of Hannah in the waves (after thinking it would be like a movie but I couldn’t get the baggy open because of my stupid fake nails. But don’t worry, I got it open), and I cried because I miss you and I can’t believe how lucky I am to know you and because I couldn’t hug you after reading your blog.

The stuffed monkey I found I named Hannah.
(Photo from L&L Albuquerque 2006, my favorite picture of Quinn)
And there’s a couple more big pictorials coming soon.
Yes indeed, I’m out and about once again ♥

Hannah’s a Llama

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Llamas are to the Cowboy Junkies what Parrotheads are to Jimmy Buffet 🙂Tonight, thanks to the infinite kindness of Super Cool Boyfriend and his bountiful contacts, I not only got to see the concert ~free~ while he hung out with The Boy and my friends, I also got to meet Margo after the show! I thanked her first for singing “To Love is to Bury” during the first set (my new favorite missing-Mitch song). Then I told her how Jenny passed their music along as perfect for mourning after Hannah died, would she please take Hannah on tour with them? She said YES! so I presented her with a packet and my contact card and sent my baby girl off on yet another ripple-effect adventure! I can’t wait to hear where she ends up 🙂 First stop: Indianapolis (said: In-Diana-Polis)

Hannah by Jinny

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Hannah in Norway

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Dear diana,

Spenser, Jessica, my mom and I just returned from a trip to Norway, and while there we released some of Hannah’s ashes in the Trondheim Fjord.

We took a late afternoon boat ride out in the fjord. The weather was a little cloudy but otherwise very nice. Midway through our ride, I released some of Hannah’s ashes into the water. It was very peaceful and beautiful. We looked up to see two seagulls flying overhead. I immediately thought about Mitch and Hannah flying free. When I turned around, the sun peeked through the clouds and shone beautifully on the water. I feel it was the universe being pleased to accept Hannah in that place. It was a very moving experience and we were honored to be able to release her there.

Much love and light,
Barbara Harmon

Hannah’s in Australia

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Who could forget this amazing family?? The gift of the conference to one another, the brand-spanking new baby, mama recovering from surgery while papa slung Emily and chased Cameron… Aaaahhh, what a gift of Life this family brought to the L&L Conference! I’m honored they’ve taken Hannah’s spirit into their lives, as well. (That’s Ren Allen, soaking up the tie-dye Aussie baby love!)
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Hi Diana,

I’m not sure if you remember our family or not but we were “the Australians” at the Live and Learn Conference last year – Geoffrey (Dad), Lindy (Mum), Cameron (3 year old), and Emily (6 weeks old). We took some of Hannah’s ashes and after much thought we wanted to let you know that we have released them. We wanted to release her ashes in a place that is very special to us and where we have lots of fun. So we choose two places – our home in Mawson Lakes South Australia, and at the Port Dock Railway Museum in Port Adelaide South Australia.

I guess it is obvious why our home is special to us but the railway museum may not be so obvious. Our son loves to go to the railway museum – we go there lots of times every year. We have had many hours of fun climbing on old trains, playing with train signals and riding on the little train there. It was the place we went to for our very first outing after our daughter was born (she was 15 hours old) – Cameron was quite sure she wanted to go for a ride on the train, and seeing as we were all healthy enough to oblige we did it. Cameron also had his third birthday party at the train museum in a restored cafeteria car last year. He talks about his party and the railway museum in general regularly.

The place is run by a bunch of volunteers that are wonderful, friendly and very proud of the museum. It is a place where many children have a wonderful time and we hope you are happy to think of Hannah’s ashes at a location that is well looked after and where there is always fun
to be had.

If you and your family are ever in Australia you are most welcome to visit with us and we will show you the many delights of Adelaide.

Best Regards,
Lindy (Geoffrey, Cameron and Emily) Bennett

At first Cameron was a bit reluctant to let them go
so we took them for a ride on the train before letting them go just near the station.

You just never know!

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Saturday evening, Hannah decided to visit a family who never knew her in this life, but wished they had.

My eternal gratitude for these pictures, for the loving remembrance of my baby girl, at her sacred place, on her sacred day — truly a blessing to us! Thank You!!
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