Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I feel you baby Bri, I feel you...

This morning I slept in. The house was cooler and the bed so very comfortable. Once I was out of bed I realized why, we had a "cold" front come in. Here in Central Florida, a "cold" front means it is NOT 95 to 100 degrees outside along with 100% humidity. Anyway, the temperature in the house was 76, yeah I know, LOL. Continuing on with my morning, I opened the blinds, made some coffee, opened up the back porch for Belina and OMG, the weather outside was glorious, absolutely glorious. As quickly as I could I put my shoes on and took Belina out for a walk and then the tears just starting streaming down my face...Bri was everywhere, I could feel her presence, I felt as though her arms were wrapped so tightly around me and even though I am back inside typing this, she is here with me. I feel so blessed to be able to recognize the feel of her love, the feel of Christ's love. Thank you baby Bri for this very special time together this morning. I love you so very much.

Monday, September 28, 2009

What is there to say

I know...I have been away for some time now but in all reality, what is there for me to say? really, what is left to say? Each and every day I wake up and think ohhhhhh another day. I can't believe how fast the time is going by. Bri died 3 1/2 weeks ago yet it seems like yesterday. Upon her passing I felt that I had no regrets that I (we) had left no stone unturned but as the time continues on it is easy to find things that I regret, just holding her a little more, singing to her a little more, hugging and smelling her a little more....we just miss her presence in our lives so very much. My heart aches like you couldn't believe. Jerry is back at work full time and Ashley is back at school full time and I am working at the house sorting out "stacks" of "stuff" that have been stacked up for the last 2 1/2 years. LOTS of filing and organizing to do. I hope in the near future to find at least a part-time job. Guess I will see what God has in store for me next.

We so appreciate the many donations made to the Brianna Gives Hope Foundation and Jerry and I are working with the folks at our church, First Presbyterian Church of Orlando's Heart of the City Foundation, to make each and every dollar donated to Brianna Gives Hope counts. We feel honored to have FPCO's Heart of the City Foundation work with us to make a change in other people's lives. Jerry, Ashley and I feel so incredibly proud to be able to honor Brianna's life in such a way to help others. God has been and continues to be so good to us. We will be sure to keep you posted on information regarding Brianna's Foundation.

Good night sweet baby Bri.....we miss you so very much.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Shining Down

Jerry and I are in Atlanta....talk about rain. Goodness, it's been raining so much that houses are flooded, roads are closed, schools are closed....forecast called for rain today too but little Brianna and her T-18 friend, Christina took care of business today and had the sun shining for us. Christina is the daughter of Mills and Kathryn, whom now reside here in Atlanta. They are the first couple we met with a child with T-18. Christina lived here on earth for 13 months but without even having to say it, she still resides here on earth in her mother, father, grandparents, and many others including us. It's comforting to know that today both Brianna and Christina were smiling down upon us with BIG rays of sunshine. Thank you sweet angel pies.

Kathryn was gracious enough to spend the day with me. We talked, cried, talked, laughed, window-shopped. I thoroughly enjoyed the day. A big thank you Kathryn for your time.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Reading the blog

I just opened Bri's blog again, or actually my blog about Bri and read my last post....oh, it sounded so sad. Part of me feels like I should apologize but then another part knows that I shouldn't because that is where I was at that moment. That is how grief is, up one moment, down the next.

I'm feeling pretty good right now, yesterday I went to a conference with a wonderful girlfriend, the presenters were Beth Moore, Priscilla somebody and Kay somebody (I love it when I really know what I am talking about...lol) and what light they showered on me. More on that later but let me tell you, if you want a GREAT bible study, go online and look up Beth Moore....she is something else.

Today Jerry and I went kayaking in the Winter Park chain of lakes. Surprisingly, we missed church to do this. I learned from Beth Moore that there are times when you have to really look and see what is important "this day" and do it....today it was important for Jerry and I to get out and be together. We are glad we took the time to do this, it was a great day, there was no doubt that we were blessed for doing so.

In the morning I am flying to Atlanta with Jerry. He is returning to work. What a difficult time and I want to be there to support him.

Ashley spent the weekend at the beach and took some great photos of Bri's best friend, Susie....they are so sweet. Check them out on my facebook account....brenda langston botts.

Special thanks to Jesus Christ, he is such an awesome God.

Good night all. Especially to sweet baby Bri.

Friday, September 18, 2009

oh where to start

I open up Bri's blogspot and can't stop crying. The tears are pouring like rain. We miss her so much. Her absolutely beautiful happy face radiating out from the blogspot. It has been 15 days since she died. Died, I have to say that word. I can't continue to say the unreal words like "passed or gone away". Brianna has died, end of sentence. Yesterday I was at the doctor with Jerry, it appears that he has thrown his back out, and luck would have it (although I wouldn't really call it luck) that I would look at my watch right at 2:55 pm, the time she died two weeks ago. Tears, tears and more tears.

Jerry had planned on going back to work this past Wednesday. I was going to go with him to Atlanta, with a stop in Savannah on the way, just to be there together but that didn't happen. We couldn't do it. Couldn't leave the house. Every day we kept saying "ok today we will get out and do something". never happened until today. We finally got out and went up to the Wekiva River and sat on the riverbank in adirondack chairs and just enjoyed the outdoors. I could feel Bri's presence in the beautiful outdoors. She was there with us for sure. Big angel hugs and kisses to you Bri, mama, daddy and sissy miss you so very much.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

It's All About Love

It's been a very difficult week. I have so much on my mind that I want to put into words...the time will come. Here's the video Jerry and I put together for Bri's memorial service. Big thanks to Tom Mills for his help. Couldn't have done it without him.

video

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Seven Days Ago

Seven days ago at this time we were begging God to take Brianna. She was in so much pain. But he was gracious enough to calm her and give us another 15 hours with our little angel. 15 hours that she was at peace and in no pain.

I'm here tonight with some rambling thoughts. Today Jerry and I designed Bri's Memorial card to be handed out at the service....no worries to those who can't be there, I can mail some out. Then we went over to First Pres. and figured out the schedule for Bri's memorial service. No tears, almost, but just teary eyes. "Bri is in a better place, Bri is in a better place".....keep saying it silently to myself.....and maybe just maybe I can hold myself together until I get home or at least in the car. Lasted until I got home and then cried myself silly. I know this is part of the grieving process but dang it.

I have to say I am pleased with myself in in the sense that I can look at, touch and talk to babies and small children without tears. Actually, I feel no sadness at all when that happens. I find myself feeling very happy for the parents for their having those dear children.

I am proud of Ashley. She almost wasn't ready to come into our house yet (afraid of all the Brianna paraphenelia laying around) although I did assure her that we had straightened up quite a bit and well, she then decided that yes, it was time. And it was all good. We had a nice afternoon, me, Jerry and Ashley. Went to a casual dinner, stopped by the mall and took her home early since she had quite a bit of school work that needed to be completed. And, in the middle of it all, received a call from the funeral home stating that Brianna's ashes were ready to be picked up. Here I go again, don't think about it, don't think about it, "i'm sorry Ashley, what did you say again???

One more thing I want to share. This morning when I awoke, Jerry was not in bed. He was on the couch. Said that he woke up around 2:00 am and simply couldn't go back to sleep. He was thinking about Brianna and how I felt her presence when the lady bug had landed on me days earlier. He said he was wondering if he would ever get a sign from her, and would he feel it or see it?.....Picked up his iPhone and started reading chapters of the bible, just searching for answers to whatever, got tired, placed his phone under his pillow and started to doze....then his phone beeped signaling that he had received an email....so, when he picked up his phone and looked, it was from me, and it was a picture of Brianna......yes, amazing, huh. Several days earlier I sent him that picture but he never received it until 2:33 am. Just when he needed it, sweet Bri said hello. God is so good. I think I will close on that warm and fuzzy story. Good night all.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Five Days

It's been five days since Bri left this earth. Five days of serious ups and downs, crying, smiling, remembering and being grateful. We miss her so darn much and our hearts are aching. Ashley had to go back to school today, God bless her because it must have been very hard. We love you so much and can't imagine being a teenager experiencing this kind of pain.

As I said in my last post, some friends gave us tickets to Cirque du Soleil for last Saturday night. As it was getting time to leave for the show, we both agreed that we would rather stay home but in our hearts we knew we needed to get out. So we went. The show was awesome, there are no words to describe it, it's simply an amazing one hour and 40 minutes of mouth gaping entertainment. But still, we really weren't there. We were watching yet completely numb at the same time. Cried all the way home.

Brianna said hello to me first thing Sunday morning when I was out with our crazy puppy dog, Belina, by showing up disguised as a lady bug....landed right on my sleeve. We miss her so very much. Going to church on Sunday was a great feeling. Our church family has been and continues to be very supportive. Thank you to our family, friends and church family for being there for us Sunday. It made all the difference in the world.

Monday morning we decided to get up and get out again....maybe go kayaking for a couple of hours instead of sitting home being surrounded by so many memories. We went and it was a nice day.

Lots of things to be done this week, the kind of things you don't want to do so it is easy to procrastinate, but we're getting through it, little by little.

Mama Kathy stopped by a little while ago and we started looking at pictures and videos that I recently downloaded onto my computer. Can't wait to edit and post some of them. The memories had us smiling, not crying...that's a good thing.

Memorial Service planned for Saturday, Sept. 12 at 3:00 pm at First Presbyterian Church, Downtown Orlando
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to "Heart of the City / Brianna Gives Hope", 106 East Church Street, Orlando, FL 32801.

To see the notice in the paper, visit Orlando Sentinel.com, obituaries for Sunday, Sept. 6th.

Ashley and Brianna at 8 days old


Brenda and Brianna at 2 months old


Daddy-O and Brianna at 3 months old

Saturday, September 5, 2009

What a Draining Day

Jerry and I are wiped out. It's been a very emotional day. We went to see Bri....she was so pretty. Resting peacefully wrapped in her grandmothers quilt and her bear-skin plush rug on top keeping her snuggly. Pretty Florida dress and matching bow. My sister Judy suggested getting Bri's hand and footprints on paper as a keepsake. Of course I took it a little further...and had Bri's footprint stamped on my forearm....Jerry followed suit. No, it's not permanent but it will stay for several days if we are careful.
Came home and wrote Bri's obituary, whew, it will be published tomorrow in both the Orlando Sentinel and the Northwest Daily News. Both newspapers can be read on-line.

Tonight we are going out to Cirque du Soleil. Some friends gave us the tickets. Jerry and I could just stay here at the house on the couch taking turns sighing......stress.....but we're not. We are leaving shortly to get out and get some fresh air.

Thank you Connie and Chuck for the Kahlua pound cake and red wine.....both were delicious. Church tomorrow. We are looking forward to meeting up with our friends and giving glory to God for our family. You are more than welcome to join us. 11:00 am Genesis Service, First Presbyterian Church Downtown Orlando, front row, baby!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Memorial Date

Brianna's Memorial is scheduled for Saturday, September 12, 2009 at 3:00 p.m.
First Presbyterian Church Downtown Orlando, in the sanctuary
106 East Church Street
Orlando, FL

In lieu of flowers we request donations be made to our newly formed non-profit organization: Brianna Gives Hope
We will be posting information on how and where to donate by Tuesday. The Brianna Gives Hope foundation has been created to help other families in similar situations with respite care, provide happy, colorful hospital gowns for sick children, equipment, and that is just the beginning. Our goal is to give back, Brianna gave us so much and we want to pass on the love.

I'm sure Brianna would be pleased to look down and see everyone wearing bright colors at her Memorial for this will be a day to celebrate her life, not mourn her leaving.

We are also checking into hotel information for out-of-town visitors. Should have that posted in the next day or two as well.

One more thing, Jerry and I will be going to church this Sunday and invite you to come with us. God knows we need all the support we can muster at this point. We will be attending the 11:00 am Genesis Service at First Pres. (address above). Meet us under the angel wing (just ask when you get there) or in the Genesis service, we plan on sitting in the front.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Angel Wings

Brianna has earned her angel wings. Today at 2:55. She was not alone. I was holding our sweet baby Bri in my arms, while Jerry, Ashley and Mama Kathy were right there huddled with me. We were all loving on her.

Please understand if we do not return phone calls, texts or emails.

Memorial arrangements to be posted.

Our Sweet Angel Pie

Oh how life can change in the blink of an eye. I took this picture late yesterday afternoon.



Earlier today, resting comfortably at the Hospice House.



Please continue to pray for comfort for sweet baby Bri please.

Still With Us

Bri is still with us. We are all wiped out. Last night was so bad that we were praying for Jesus to take her in his arms. There was no comforting her, even with medication. But once again our God showed mercy and opened up a room at the Hospice House (less than 5 miles down the road) and we were welcomed into the facility after midnight. This is a hotel-type facility complete with nurses and doctors who are here to offer comfort care not only to Brianna but to us as well. Everyone has been so kind. Bri is sleeping right now, so is Ashley. Jerry ran home to take care of our sweet puppy dog Belina and I am sitting in Bri's bed at the foot just watching her sleep peacefully.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

It's a Horrible Night

Pray, pray, pray for comfort for Brianna. The time is near, very near.

I guess from this posting you can tell the doctor appt. didn't go very well. Her heart has deteriorated rapidly. He said she has less than 14 days to live, that's two weeks, less than 336 hours, less than 20,160 minutes.....and that was earlier today. Earlier this evening her heart started racing up and down again, meds didn't help, we had to call the hospice nurse, she is here now. It's not good. We are so very sad.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

ZZZZs are Calling

We are tired, all of us. That is why I am posting early in hopes that all of us will be getting some sleep soon. My mother has been here for a week and she is leaving tomorrow. We will miss her as she has been a big help. Brianna was up this morning around 5:30 then took a nap around 8:30 and at 10:45 I couldn't help but wake her up. After that she was quite lethargic and whiny. Her heart rate would go from 80 to 135, drop back down to 92 then up to 148 all in a matter of seconds. I learned later this afternoon that when the heart rate is going up and down like that it is very exhausting to the person it is happening to. Around 3:30 her heart rhythm got back on track and she was her happy-go-lucky self.

Thank you to Kristen and Madison; Darlene and Max for visiting and bringing lunch. Unfortunately Brianna wasn't in the mood to visit. Another thank you to Cassie for coming over and giving us a break this afternoon.

Tomorrow morning we have an appt. with Brianna's pulmonary doctor. It will be interesting to see what he has to say. Brianna has been on oxygen for a week now and appeared to have stabilized somewhat until today. Of course I will post later tomorrow.

Thank you to all the emails, facebook entries and blogsite entries. I wish I could write each one of you back but the time is just not there. I so appreciate the heart-warming thoughts and prayers.

Brenda