To honor and celebrate my Step-Dad's birthday Ava wanted to do a balloon release at the cemetery. Initially it was going to be just her and I, but then I thought what a great tribute to his life, if all his Grandchildren were there to do the same.
The kids were all super excited to do this. I picked up 7 heart balloons and 6 "Happy Birthday" balloons for us to release. One for each member of our family. Though my Mom could not be there with us, I made sure to have a balloon to represent her as well. We each wrote messages on blue card stock (blue was his favorite color). We did the notes because last week Ava thought she was going to get to see her Poppy and I had to explain to her that he physically would not be there, but with a child you kind of need to give them something positive, so I told her we could attach notes to the balloons and he would be waiting for the balloons with the notes to reach him in heaven. She liked that.
My brother and sister-in-law met us at the cemetery with their 3 children and I picked up my sisters 2 children since she had to work. We wrote out our messages and attached them to the strings. We even had a balloon for the baby my sister-in-law is expecting come the end of March. We all sang Happy Birthday though I could not even get past the first two words in the song without choking up. I knew there was no way I'd get through the prayer if I had to say it either. So, I asked my oldest nephew if he would like to say the prayer. Oh my how I wish I would have gotten video of his prayer. It was not a long prayer, but it was heartfelt and to the point of how blessed our family has been to have Dan (Poppy) in our lives and how we love and miss him. Dan would have been so very proud of him. I know I most certainly am.
The kids then lined up so they could release their balloons to the heavens where their Poppy was I am sure anxiously awaiting their messages of love. :) We did a count down and they kids all said "We love you Poppy" as they release their balloons.
And away the balloons sailed into the sky...well minus two that ended up tangled near the top of one of the trees, but with a little wind I know it will break free. I told my niece Alyssa (hers were the ones that ended up in the tree), that Poppy would get them once the wind picked up a little. Thankfully she didn't cry. It was a perfect way of celebrating his life on his special day. The day was difficult, but this added some joy to the memory of his life and I know that is what he would want us to do. We all miss him so much, and there is definitely an emptiness to our lives, but he would want us to celebrate the life that he lived and the love that he will always have for us. Happy Birthday Dan/Poppy. We love you so!