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Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Unbirthday and the Ungoodbye

"I could tell you my adventures — beginning from this morning," said Alice a little timidly: "but it's no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then." ~ from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Through the Looking Glass


Little Curly Girl is Three.
Very grown up.


We had a Very Special Unbirthday Party this weekend.

Little Curly Girl was our Alice and we visited Wonderland with her. We talked to the Cheshire Cat. (I was the Voice.) We wore all sorts of hats and had a Mad Hatter's Tea Party. We opened presents and threw colored tissue paper all over the floor.

"Well, if I eat it, and if it makes me grow larger, I can reach the key; and if makes me grow smaller, I can creep under the door: so either way I'll get into the garden, and I don't care which happens!" ~ from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

We talked to the snapdragons and looked at the pansy faces in the garden. The snapdragons asked to please please have some Unbirthday Cake but Alice had to tell them politely that they wouldn't be able to eat any cake because flowers have no teeth.

The flowers were very understanding but you could tell they were disappointed.


"At last the Dodo said, 'everybody has won, and all must have prizes.' " ~ from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland


The best prize of all was to be in the Divine Presence of Princess Chubness, who is now six months old.

She embodies joy, wonder and happiness. She truly does.
No one can take their eyes off of her. She is the happiest person we've ever met.


"If you drink much from a bottle marked 'poison' it is almost certain to disagree with you, sooner or later." ~ from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

The other part of the story is the visit to see Little Helen: a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother to us. We wished that part of the story was happy but it was not. And there are no pictures of it, because it is not something we would want a picture of.

It's a difficult thing to watch someone fade away. I've never done that before.

It's even harder when that person seems to be giving up on living and we can't figure out why. We were angry and frustrated. Our Unbirthday Girl was frightened when she saw Little Helen and then hid in her mother's arms. Her mom had to take her outside.

I think we all believed in the power and beauty of Little Curly Girl and Princess Chubness, having watched them laugh and play and be so alive, that-- in the whole wide world, these girls could work a miracle and bring Little Helen to her senses, to make her want to eat (because she won't) and get well. If not for us, then for her great-grandchildren. That we would have another happy story besides The Unbirthday.

But there are times when things will be the way they are and no amount of hoping can make it any different. Some people will go down a rabbit hole where we cannot follow.

The Boy has a saying that I always remember:

"You can't make unhappy people happy. You can only make happy people happier."

I wished things would have been different for all of us. I don't know how much longer Little Helen will be around, and this is probably the last time I'll write about her. It feels like she's given up on herself, and in doing so, has left us all behind much earlier than we would have wished.


'You are old, Father William,' the young man said,
'And your hair has become very white;
And yet you incessantly stand on your head —
Do you think at your age it is right?'

~ from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland


Maggie May May 31, 2009 at 10:51 PM  

How wonderful! My Lola had an Alice party at her 5th birthday, and it was wonderful. We had bottles with 'Drink Me' amongst other things:)

namastenancy May 31, 2009 at 11:25 PM  

Life seems to hand us the bitter and the sweet - often in unequal measure. Your nieces and the love you had/have for your grandmother are the sweet. I can't tell you how lucky you are to have family that you love and that are worthy of love. That is such a special gift. As for your grandmother, If we love them, we never want them to leave us but sometimes their body and spirit are telling them that it's time to say goodbye. I know that you will grieve - I can only imagine how much. My heart is grieving with you but I also know that she created a very special lady with gifts that touch all of us. If she goes - as all of us must - she's left a precious legacy behind. Bitter and sweet, sweet and bitter.

msHedgehog June 1, 2009 at 1:47 AM  

She's so beautiful! She looks a lot like you, too.

My Castle in Spain June 1, 2009 at 2:24 AM  

It is so hard to let people we love just go..i do wish Little Helen finds peace...
sending you much love

~K June 1, 2009 at 3:17 AM  


Those are wonderful little girls..beautiful...I have to agree namastenancy. I watched my Uncle die this way many years ago. Cancer had struck him down in his prime and I was so upset because I loved him dearly. He was one of the few people in the world who "got" me. When he died I thought he had given up fighting. Many years later though as I watched another friend fade and pass after two years of fighting cancer and being bed ridden for most if it I realized. She did not give up, but rather she came to terms with her own mortality and let what would be in the moment..the precious present happen. It's had for us who aren't in that bed though to understand or accept what is happening. It's Ok though it's not time for us to completely understand. When it is then we will be given the same gift. Take care hon..Ken

Anonymous June 1, 2009 at 5:37 AM  

I'm so sorry to hear about Little Helen Julie :-( I have no words of comfort because I don't want to appear condescending.

On a more positive note, your niece looks adorable. beautiful photos!

Just Jules June 1, 2009 at 5:41 AM  

We never want our love ones to leave us - quickly or slowly.

It is never bad for those that leave, it is only hard for the people left behind.

However, those two little babes are the renewed hope - the promise of a new tomorrow.

Elyse June 1, 2009 at 5:46 AM  

I am so very sorry...It is painful to watch someone slip away...I will keep you in my thoughts. <3

Kath June 1, 2009 at 6:06 AM  

It is so hard. Remember though, if Little Helen is leaving on a journey where we cannot follow, she needs to because it is the next step for her. She is not leaving you behind, she is staying in your heart and carrying you in hers. She is not giving up, she is giving in, gently and gracefully, to what must happen next for her, it is easier that way.
And the little ladies? They are so beautiful.
Much love

julochka June 1, 2009 at 6:23 AM  

the boy is very wise.

big hugs to you.

and little princess chubness is cuteness personified. but so is little curly girl. your sister done good. :-)


Yoli June 1, 2009 at 7:52 AM  

I worked many years for hospice and witness just about every amazing thing as we prepare to say goodbye. Don't be angry with her, it is not age that determines our time here. It is really nothing we can pinpoint; only the particular person, knows the journey their body wants to take. Just be there, let her tell her story if she so wants.


PS: Stunning child and beautiful pictures.

Mari June 1, 2009 at 7:58 AM  

What a magical birthday! LCG and the Princess are dewy fresh.

My grandmother did the same thing, she wanted to go. We had a hard time letting her. She hung on until the last person who was very important to her in her life showed up. She died within hours of that visit.

Marilyn Miller June 1, 2009 at 8:16 AM  

It is a difficult road you travel with Little Helen. She loves you and does appreciate your love in return. Sometimes we just have to be there and only that is of comfort. Your unbirthday tea party was a joy to see and read about.

paris parfait June 1, 2009 at 9:03 AM  

Quite the bittersweet post - the magic of the birthday and Alice and the little princess; the inexplicable situation w/ Little Helen. Big hugs to you. xoxox

Cartooncharacter June 1, 2009 at 12:04 PM  

Your post today about LCG and Princess Chubness was one of the most wonderful things I've ever read.

Then I read with sadness about Little Helen. Please don't be angry with her. Speaking from personal experience, continuous illness affects the mind and spirit in a way that others cannot understand, and in a way that is tremendously hard to fight against. It is like the rabbit hole takes hold of you and pulls you in against your will. If she doesn't want to eat, well... Ginny is starting to resist eating, too, and I am starting to have to do a lot of coaxing. So I know she's getting worse. Love the person Little Helen was, love the person she has become now because of her illness, love all the wonderful memories she gave you.

Relyn June 1, 2009 at 1:48 PM  

OH, sweetheart. I don't have the right words to offer. I know that. Just this. I'm sorry. So sorry. So glad, though, that in the midst of the sadness, you do know what matters. That you know that what matters is really always who. Thank God for your precious LCG and PC. Thinking of you. Of you all.

SE'LAH... June 1, 2009 at 4:30 PM  

a very merry unbirthday to the little princess.

beautiful, touching post.

sending positive vibes your way.

Marilyn Miller June 1, 2009 at 4:41 PM  

Thanks for following Delights of the Heart. I thought of you recently as we drove through SF. I wanted to have more time to say hi and also stop by and meet the Queen of Sheba - maybe next time. My grandpa's apple orchard is in Sebastopol and it was so much fun for me to photograph.

Starlene June 1, 2009 at 5:31 PM  

The magic of life, is that if we let it, life will usually serve up sweet to counterbalance the bitterness. It is nothing short of utter tragedy that such sadness or apathy can exist, and yet it does. It may be just a wish, but I dream of a future that your little nieces will create full of enough love for everyone and everything. Enough love to finally start solving some problems.

You've inspired me! I remembered my Grandma as I read this. I finally wrote the blog I've been wanting to for the past month.

lost_but_searching June 2, 2009 at 11:08 AM  

I was struck by several things in this post. First of all, i love the idea of an Alice party. Very beautiful. And Little Curly Girl is simply lovely. I am looking forward to many theme parties with my little one. She'll be three this year!
Secondly, I watched my grandfather slip away very slowly. It is difficult and usually devastating, especially when they have given up long before you. The most you can do for them is be there. Let them know that they are not alone. I stayed by his side as much as I could, and I wasn't there when he passed. I will never forgive myself for that, even though I know it isn't something that should invoke blame. Their passing is mostly just something you have to take as it comes. And maybe your shouldn't take the little ones there. As frightened as they are, sometimes, that in itself can hurt your loved one. I hope things get better for you and yours.
I really enjoy reading your posts, so I'll try to keep up with how things are going. In the meantime, Alice in Wonderland is one of my favorite stories, and Little Curly Girl and Princess Chubness are both darling and lucky to have such a sweet UnBirthday party!

Vanessa June 7, 2009 at 5:19 AM  

A hug for this beautiful post.