June 23 marked Henry's fourth birthday. Hubby and I went back and forth about what to do to remember the day, and finally decided to spend the day with close friends and family. We had a small birthday party, and asked everyone to bring a gift from the Oshkosh Area Humane Society wishlist. All of the gifts, which included huge bags of puppy chow, cans of cat food, peanut butter, kitty litter, over $50 in gift cards, chewy bones for dogs, toys, etc., were donated in Henry's name.
If you are a regular follower of my blog, you know how much my little boy loved animals. I thought this would be an appropriate way to honor him and also help take care of the little critters he (and I - he totally got that from me!) loved so much. My mother believes that Henry is working with Noah in heaven. I like to think he's the right hand man of St. Francis of Assisi (the patron saint of animals). I don't know why I gravitate to St. Francis. I'm not catholic. I really don't know much about the saints. But for some reason this idea hit me with so much clarity on the day of his funeral that I've never been able to forget it. To this day, statues or pictures of St. Francis bring me a great deal of peace. Either way, we know he was smiling that day, knowing he continues to help the "aminals".
After lunch and laughter and memories, we all headed out to the cematary where we released four orange balloons - his favorite color. Prior to releasing, we each wrote a message to Henry on the balloons and then sent them up to heaven. It was a beautiful day. Similar to the image of Henry working with St. Francis, very early on in this whole process I very clearly saw myself (I don't even remember if it was a dream or a vision or what) entering Heaven. When I did, Henry met me and he was holding on to oodles of orange balloons. He had collected all of the ones we released as they floated up to him...
I don't get these visions often, but when I do I thank God for giving me little pieces of my boy to hold on to. I've dreamt about Henry three times since November 2. In the first dream, we were at a zoo, and he was standing up ahead of me, watching ducks and geese swim in a pond. I called to him, and he turned and the joy on his face when he saw me was truly amazing. He ran into my arms and I scooped him up and held him tight until I woke up. In the second, I don't remember details, only the overwhelming sense that he was with me and he was happy. In the third, about a week ago, I dreamed that the hospital called and told me that it had all been a misunderstanding and that I could come and pick him up and bring him home. It was so real... Once we got him home, we realized that his speech had regressed, but he still knew all of his animal sounds. Go figure. And the duck still said "ba-da-boooo!"* :) That last one still makes me cry, because I'm sure you all know how much I wish it were real. Unfortunately, it's not. But I am confident that he is happy, and safe, and waiting for us with open arms.... and a lot of orange balloons.
* The first cartoon Henry fell in love with was Jakers. In one episode Dannon, the duck, yells, "STAMPEDE!" and for whatever reason, a very young Henry repeated her by yelling, "BA-DA-BOOOOOOOO!" (LOL!). Every time we watched it, Dannon would yell and Henry would echo. From that day (at about 16 mos old) until he was almost 3, when asked what a duck said the answer was always "badaboo!"