Mary Rose Faith
May you Rest in Peace
Our house is not the same without you. We are not the same without you. Our world crumbled when you left this world. “Mary Rose Faith DiMinno- that is quite a name”, that is what I used to say to you every night before you went to sleep. I also told you, how you were so strong and brave and how proud I was of you. I told you to always remember that you were loved no matter what, no matter where we were, that we would always love you, in person or in spirit.
Well, now it is you that comforts us, watches over us and makes us laugh, cry and celebrate your life. Your spirit is what carries us when we are down, it heals our hearts when we want to just hold you one more time or hear your laughter ringing throughout our house. We find ourselves watching your old videos just to hear your voice, just to feel your spirit for life, to laugh out loud or to just have a good cry. You are missed beyond words, yet we know that your spirit is very close to everyone.
There is also a great sense of love and support from all of the people who you touched while you were with us, and continue to touch in spirit. We continue to get cards, letters, gestures, and overall kindness from people every day. We are very grateful to everyone for this. Your spirit is very powerful, “Mary Rosie” and we love you very much….and I think you always knew that and you always will. (February 4, 2013)
Some times all of the writing, comments, memorials and WORDS are just that, ‘words”. Words on a page that are, at times, disconnected from life.
It seems as if we have become so engrossed in keeping busy or occupied that the meaning of the words get lost or are put aside from any “real” feeling. They are, after all, just words on a page. It is as though the words are not connected to our life or we are reading about a tragic story that belongs to someone else.
Then, without any warning, “real life” rears its ugly head and slaps you right across your face. It rips at your heart and literally tears you apart. It is days like that, when the flood of emotion comes over you and takes control, that are the hardest. We know this is all part of the healing process and it is something that everyone has to deal with in one way or another in their lives. Yet it is these very words that are such a comfort to all of us. And for this we are truly grateful. Thank you isn’t enough when it comes to the love and support that each of you give our family. But please know that every word, gesture, prayer or thought is helpful. Thank you…..(February 12, 2013)
Valentines day 2013 – well, what can I say, today was tough. Usually I surprise my girls with a stuffed animal for Valentines day. How it killed me to walk up to that register and not have 3 bears in my hand. We still have Mary’s first bear, the one with the smiley face sticker on it, put on ages ago to make her smile. (Annie sleeps with that bear now). Of course Mary always hated stuffed animals and would much prefer to just throw them on the ground with that spunky attitude of hers. But, none the less, I would still buy Grace, Mary and Annie a stuffed animal each year. It was a tradition that I will most likely carry out as long as they let me. Today was different though – something was missing, a bear that she would hate, or throw, or just sit on a shelf was not there and I feel as though a part of me was missing too. I guess this is just a small step in the long journey of firsts that we must all face in the coming months and years.
We have already had lots of firsts without Mary and each one seems to get harder. Going to dinner that first time as a family of four instead five, a first snowfall and pig pile as my girls try to tackle me. A first visit to a family member or friends house, simply driving in the car as a family, something is missing. Then there are the firsts to come, like birthdays, holidays, picnics, and even firsts we have never done before like going on a vacation. Each one is going to have something missing, yet I know that her spirit is with us always, loving, protecting and holding us up when we are down. I know this, but, it doesn’t make it any easier.
So many people have said, “I don’t know how you are both handling this so well” or “you are so strong” and for the most part, they are right. We are handling this, and we are strong, but that doesn’t mean it is easy. Like I said there will be many new firsts, many new “normals” that we have to adjust to. A first step of many, Happy Valentines day Mary Rose…..(February 14, 2013)
Photo taken December 26, 2012
2012 – A Letter to Santa – this is what I found today when looking in my top drawer. A single letter with all of our requests that we would hope for from Santa. Of course we had Grace’s one and only request, an IPOD5, our normal request to live happy, healthy, long lives (yes we actually ask for that from Santa each year) and then a small list of things for Mary Rose and Annie. Each year Grace helps write the letter to Santa and this year she sat for around 25 minutes working with Mary and Annie coming up with the perfect list of things they would like. For Mary it was things like – a CD of the Fresh Beat band, educational toys, Puzzles, Balls, anything Big Time Rush. For Annie she wanted a doll and some clothes for them. Simple little requests that under any other circumstance, would be cute. These simple requests from Santa will now live forever as the last letter that is from a family of 5. This simple little letter, this piece of paper, with words scribbled on them, has had the most profound effect on me so far. It killed me to find it yet I am glad we saved a copy. It is really hard to think of what the coming months are going to bring, what hidden treasure, or photo or memory will be found that will trigger a flood of emotion stronger than the one before. Just a small step on the path of our journey I guess. I think I will tuck that letter away in a safe place so we can remember how things were back in 2012. A time of innocence, a time of peace and a time when we were truly a “party of five” (February 25, 2013)
Today was one of those days when I just needed to take on a fear and deal with it. Since Mary’s passing I have not been able to drive by her school let alone visit other than one time back in January. This was true until today, when I went in to be LINDY (the dolphin mascot for Mary’s school) in honor of Dr Seuss’s birthday and the Read Across America campaign. I have played the part of the mascot several times before but this would be the first without Mary Rose. Today, Annie and I would go in together, alone. I dreaded the drive in, the familiar route I had taken so many times to bring Mary to school. Today it was sadly absent of the sounds of Mary and Annie singing the alphabet song or some other crazy version of a song where we would insert all of names of Mary’s teachers into a familiar tune, just to get her to laugh. The drive in was quiet, too quiet. I dreaded to see the crossing guard who would wave every day as we would drive in. I dreaded not hearing Mary say “school” or “Santiago” or “Kowski” or any other word that she might yell as we drove in the parking lot. I dreaded not driving up to the front of the building to drop Mary off, only to find out that she had taken off both shoes and would be laughing hysterically as I tried to put them on before she got out of the car. I dreaded the building, the people, just about everything. But today was the day that I needed to conquer my fear and just do it.
I held my breath as I walked up with Annie holding my hand to the front door only to be be greeted by two familiar faces standing in the doorway who were very happy to see us. A parent that I had gotten to know over the years and the school psychologist. Okay, step one, we are in the door. Now on to the office for step two. Here we were greeted as well by all of the familiar faces who knew us or knew Mary. Step two down.
After a while I escorted Annie to a classroom where she would stay while I was playing the part of the mascot. The hall way seemed colder than I had remembered, and the walk to the classroom (Mary’s first grade classroom from last year) seemed like it was a mile away. We knocked on the door and were greeted by more smiles, not to mention a whole classroom of kids who were excited that Annie was coming in to visit. Most of these kids did not know Mary personally so other than the physical place nothing was really hard about being there. Annie was now safe in a classroom where she would be spoiled like crazy. Step three down.
Within a few minutes I was dressed and ready to go in the mascot outfit. Yes, I became a six foot tall dolphin in a professional costume that was already beyond hot. The battery to the fan in the head was missing so no “cool breeze” for me. (Not that it would make a difference – hot air being blown at you is still hot). Now, me along with someone else who was dressed as the “Cat in the Hat”, were off to visit every classroom. The heat was building and I was not even there yet. My vision was blurred as I only had three small spaces to see out of. Within a minute or so we entered our first classroom where we were greeted by laughing, smiling, and happy children nearly every step we took. They were yelling out loud with excitement as we walked in. “LINDY is here, LINDY, LINDY LINDY” is all I heard.
From this point forward my time was filled with children running up and giving me a hug, or giving me a high five or just saying HI. Everyone wanted a picture with me. As the flashes went off on the cameras I found myself trying to smile at each photo and look right into the camera. This was about the time that I realized that they couldn’t see me smiling so why the heck was I doing it? My cheeks were getting sore from smiling so much and I didn’t need to move a muscle because no one would ever see my face. More pictures, more smiles, more classes, more stairs, MORE HEAT (did I mention HEAT?) Okay now this is fun.
Oh no – the biggest dread of all was about to come my way. I was about to enter Mary’s second grade classroom, the room where she sat just two short months ago, right before Christmas break. I held my breath again as I walked in and saw all the familiar faces, her friends, her classmates, her teacher. This was not going to be easy, how was I going to get through this part………..well it must have been the HEAT or my lack of ability to see or hear all that much that made this part of the day really nice. Even though the kids didn’t know who I was, I knew who they were and they were all smiling, happy and enjoying themselves as only Mary would have wanted it. I posed for pictures got hugs from all of them and took it all in. The room was not vacant or sad or missing anything. The spirit of Mary is all around that school, as it is all around our family, friends and supporters. Her spirit was with me, helping me through, making me “SMILE” for pictures. Yes, behind the mask I was still smiling for pictures, I was smiling because I was not alone, I had the spirit of Mary and the entire school with me, and all was good. Before I knew it, it was time to leave and move on to the next classroom, and then the next and so on.
This was taken in 2010 during one of my previous visits as LINDY
My day of dread turned out to be a very good one. A day filled with smiles, love, happiness and unity. All was good, all was good indeed. (March 1, 2013)
You were the glue that held us together and made us strong. These last few months only seem to be getting harder each day. We keep ourselves busy, maybe too busy, to mask the pain and void that is now so present in our lives. We still watch your videos just to hear your voice and to smile. It is comforting yet sad at the same time. The outpouring of generosity and kindness from people are still unbelievable. In fact our entire neighborhood seems to hold us under their wing as do our family and friends and countless strangers. It’s a great feeling, knowing that you had and have this effect on people.
Your swing set is used daily but your laughter and scary acrobatics are missing. We now go out in the Jeep (something we could never do as a family of five before) and the absence of having your arms catching and floating on the breeze, not to mention your constant laughing, screaming and our famous “1 2 3 weeeeeee” is numbing.
We know that it will get easier over time and we know that the love and support that is all around will get us through…..Love You! (April 29, 2013)
It has been so long since I have written anything, perhaps because I am just so numb to everything or everything has already been said in this ongoing letter. Life is flying by faster now than ever before. Days turn into weeks, which turn into months and every day seems like a blur. I have said before, that maybe I keep myself too busy…..too busy to feel…..to busy to think……..to busy for reality to set in. Don’t get me wrong I still have days where I feel everything, but lately I am in such a fog that it is almost as if nothing ever happened. It is nearly five months since you left this world and it still doesn’t seem real……
On the other hand we have made so many changes and so many plans, yet there are still constant reminders that come out or events that trigger a flood of memories. It still hurts when we go out in the car and we are reminded how we are a family of four now…..not five as it should be. Both your mom and I still listen to the CD that we made for the car when driving alone, of music that you liked. Big Time Rushhhhhhhhhh! – singing “if I ruled the world” always gets me. Do you know how hard it is to cry like a baby and be driving yourself in a car………YIKES? Or we will stumble across something that you use to play with, like the plastic balls from the ball pit. The ones with teeth marks are especially difficult to see, yet I still save every one or put them back where I found them only so we can stumble upon them again someday…… Seeing an ad for your favorite movie also gets me – High School Musical will forever be your movie. It was the movie you heard as your left this world, it was the movie that had comforted you so many times in the hospitals or kept you busy on the long trips to Boston to see your doctor. Constant reminders that are always around us……flooding us with good memories of you as well as bringing everything to the surface that is buried behind all that “busyness”.
I have not yet become angry with everything (one of the so called phases of dealing with a loss) Believe it or not I still thank God every day for the gifts that we have received in life (https://kevindiminno.wordpress.com/2013/01/08/nothing-more-than-you-can-handle-the-gifts-we-receive/ ) However, it is wrong that you are not hear with us, bouncing up and down in the back seat to your favorite songs or using my Jeep as your personal jungle gym. Or throwing one of those silly plastic balls at someone with near perfect aim every time…….The Memorial day parade was really hard this year, as is every event that you used to attend with us when we were a “party of five”…….it is wrong that you were not there….yet I know that you are with us always in spirit. I truly believe that you are literally a breathe away from us at any given moment……but sometimes that breathe seems so distant.
As I have mentioned before we also have plans for the future,, but they are plans without you and it feels sad. We also have plans to honor and remember you with Chinese lanterns that will be launched on the 6 month anniversary of your passing. July 4th or thereabouts we will be setting off several of these lanterns into the sky, small bits of light flown up in memory of you.
We all miss you Mary Rose…..you were literally the glue that held us all together……..(June 3, 2013)
In just days it will be six months since you left this world and became an angel up in heaven. The pain of you not being here is actually getting worse instead of better. Yes, there are times during the day that life goes on, just as if, nothing had ever happened. Then the harsh reality sets in…..you are gone. We are the parents who lost a child way to short in life, and we are the ones, as well as everyone else who misses you, have to deal with the heartache. Time heals all wounds……perhaps, but at this point the more time that passes the harder this is becoming. Then there are the horrible visions that we can’t seem to shake from our minds. Those memories from the hospital haunt us, and I am literally to the point where I say out loud, the word “NO” in the hopes that the memory will fade or the sounds we heard will leave our minds. I have several happy memories that I can use to bring myself back into focus and I am thankful for that. Even good memories from the hospital, like when you smiled and tried to open your eyes when you heard Grace come in and lay next to you. Or, one of the happiest memories I have as your dad is when I would hold you in my arms and spin you around in our kitchen, dancing to some music on the radio or some crazy song we made up. I still see your gleaming face and feel your touch from those happy days. I have other memories or “happy thoughts” that I can go to as well. Each one is a special heartfelt memory that fills my heart with pride that I was able to share those moments with you. We all have memories like this, that we can turn too…..and for this we remain thankful…… if only those bad memories and sounds would go away forever……..one can only hope. Love you Mary Rose……keep watching over us.
December 2013 – it has been a long time since I have written in here but it is time to begin again. As we head into 2014 and go through these last few days of December, I am reminded constantly of your last week on earth. On December 28th of last year you headed to the hospital for what would be the last time ever. I pray and wish that those last few days on earth were peaceful and you did not feel any pain. Each second of those days are etched into my mind and are really coming to the surface now. Every moment, every action, reaction, feeling and emotion is hitting me all at once and I am finding it hard to breathe. A weight lies over my chest and only brings the heaviness in my heart more into focus. What can I say other than we miss you beyond words. It hurts literally…..
This has been a year of firsts for us. We went on vacation for the first time ever to honor your birthday. Grace, Annie, myself and Mommy all smiled, laughed and had fun the entire time. We ate cake with our hands as only you could and we watched fireworks from the top off our hotel for a very private and special showing. We had a party to thank our neighbors for all of their help and support as well as some really close and thoughtful friends and loved ones. We celebrated life at that party…..we celebrated you…… To end the party we set off over 20 sky lanterns into the night sky, each carrying a thought and a prayer for you. I feel you around us and appreciate the signs that you give us, to let us know that you are there. The butterflies around your swing set, the magnificent clouds and sky views are breathtaking. Not to mention the countless other signs that you give us all each and every day. There have been other firsts this year as well and many of them are very hard. Holidays, birthdays, the beginning and end of the school year. Way too many firsts to list but all were very hard and very lonely. We still miss you Mary Rose Faith DiMinno, the girl with the extraordinary name. We love you more than words or actions could ever show.
As the next few days unravel and the feelings of loss and heartache come up to the surface I will try and keep a smile on my face and just know that I will keep you close at heart as I always do.
February 22nd 2014 – Happy Birthday to me! I can’t believe how time is flying by and so many things are going on. This will be my second birthday without our Mary Rose singing to me, as only she could, her best rendition of Happy Birthday. Here is a video of Mary and Annie singing happy birthday just because they liked singing it. http://youtu.be/klKDv7aXTGw Watching this video as well as so many others just brings tears to my eyes. I can’t believe you are gone, it seems as if only yesterday I was chasing you around the house, or being tackled by you and your sisters. Life has changed so much in these past two years. Tonight we went to a birthday party for Sally and had a wonderful time. This is something we would never have done when you were around for various reasons. As nice as it is being able to do new things it is still very hard when the reality of you not being here sets in. I know I have said this before but you are missed more than words can ever describe, yet our life still goes on. We laugh, smile and for the most part, have a good time with each other. Today also marked a special event. Grace played her last basketball game in her league. Now the only basketball we will see is if she tries out for the middle school team or travel team. An end of an era. You would have been so proud of your sister because she played her heart out and made everyone proud. Of course you have the best seat in the house looking down on us from heaven. In any case, it was a great day and a bittersweet day on so many occasions. We miss you Mary Rose, keep watching over us all. I love you my friend.
March 5, 2014 Today was just one of those days when the memories of the past are haunting me. Perhaps it was the ambulance we pulled up next to last night with an elderly woman in the back wearing an oxygen mask. You know it still bothers me to see an ambulance, especially the ones parked down in the Shop Rite plaza near our house. Those are the ones you rode in so many times before including your last ride, it was after a snow fall just after Christmas. I remember that ride and those next few days so vividly. It’s as if the entire world went into slow motion, every detail, every sound, every single second is just burned into my mind. I try to forget, I try to smile but the memories just take over. We all still laugh and have really good days, don’t get me wrong, but days like this are just so hard, so real, so emotional. As I sit here in our nightly routine of life I am so thankful that we were blessed with you. We truly were hand picked for the job. You were an angel on earth and now one in heaven. Blessings come in the strangest ways sometime……We love you Mary Rosie.
Happy Saint PATRICK’S day Mary Rose. Now that the snow is finally cleared I came to visit your grave today. Yes another one of those days, a day where your glasses get fogged up. It seems that so many people are thinking of you lately. We have been told by friends, family members, neighbors, and even strangers who know about you from reading this blog, that you have been on their minds lately. We were told the other day that the words in this blog are healing to others and are a wonderful tribute to your memory. It seems you are still having a wonderful impact on others even though you are not physically with us any longer. Your spirit, your spunk, your happiness, your laughter and your overall strength are still making people smile today. And for this, we are all thankful. Thank you my “mini me” for giving us the precious gifts that mean so much to so many people. Continue to paint the sky as only an angel could. Love you.
Well here it is September 18th 2014. It has been a long time since I have written here. It is days like this that the emptiness and sadness really come over you. Today is Annie’s birthday and also your mommies. Annie turned 5 today, I can’t believe our little girl is getting so big. Mommy is only 34 but she is still older than me (ha ha ha). Life continues to pass by at lightning speed. The last time I wrote in here it was early spring and here it is almost the end of summer. You would be so proud of everyone and their accomplishments over the past few months. Grace played softball for a the Plainville Little League and also made the All Star team. She did so great out on that field, we are so very proud of her. Grace also made honor roll at school. She also passed her swimming lessons and will be starting junior life guarding next. She may even join the flag football team and would like to be on the swim team again too. Crazy stuff for sure. Annie on the other hand is now a “whole handful” – she is five years old and like we always say about Annie – “everything she does in life is like going to Disney world to her”. She gets so excited about everything, and I mean everything. The other day she told us that she loved us from above heaven and back. She really is a good kid and so is Grace. We still talk about you, we still ask Annie to do the “Mary shake” dance and she does her best impression of you. We still laugh and have good times and your name comes up quite a bit.
As I sit here and write this a thought occurred to me, it is a thought I have been thinking of for many weeks now. In fact I may even start a new post on the very subject. In any case I am finding it very difficult to lose things that you used to be connected to. I know it sounds weird but I like to say Mary’s DNA is still here or there. Maybe a better word is Mary’s presence is still here. The couches that you and your sister used to play on are still there, my Jeep, so many little pieces of you scattered through our lives. Yet when we lose something that you were connected with it is almost as if we are losing a part of you. I know I am not making any sense here but here is an example. People from our past who knew you can relate and understand what we are feeling, yet we have met so many new people who never knew you that it is hard. Our lives have moved on and now there are new things coming into our life that you were not a part of. I know you are with us always, I get that, I understand that but something as stupid as getting rid of a couch hurts because it is something that you were a part of. I guess another way to say this is, Joey and Bailey, our dogs that knew you. Someday we are going to get a new dog or pet and they will never have known you and that is sad. Some day we are going to lose Joey and Bailey and another part of something you were a part of will be gone. It’s like pieces of you are being chipped away from our lives and I really have a hard time it. ( I am not thinking straight so I will leave this post unfinished for now)
To be continued………………
Read about the life of Mary Rose here – https://kevindiminno.wordpress.com and another post about being thankful. https://kevindiminno.wordpress.com/2013/01/08/nothing-more-than-you-can-handle-the-gifts-we-receive/