The whole day was emotional.
I mentioned a few days ago we hit the 20 week mark with Baby Peach on the day of the release, and that morning I had a conversation with my mom I might and hope to never forget. Sometimes you just think people have moved on, but then you find out they still feel the pain. It’s not the pain that is the gift — it’s the love through the tears. I got a gift that morning that stirred my heart more than I can even begin to tell you.
And then of course, there was the forecast that had us on our toes all day long. But thank God the weatherman was wrong time, and time, and time again.
What started out with a little inspiration from the movie Tangled grew to a late night drive to the beach with some friends and lanterns a few months ago. Well that – was a disaster. I was too embarrassed to come here and admit it. It was fun, we made memories but we almost caught the beach on fire (if that’s even possible). One of the lanterns never quite took off, one actually made it into the air and the last one was a rolling fireball across the sand. It must have been a sight to see a couple of girls trucking it across the beach late at night chasing a wild fireball, passing a couple parked in a small SUV clearly not paying attention to their surroundings. ahem.
Even though our first experience with lanterns was an epic failure, it was still something all three of us wanted to do. I asked Amanda to see if she would want to come along. From there the word just spread like wild fire! Through facebook people all over the world were asking if they could include their child’s name in our release somehow. We ended up writing over 300 names.
People drove to be with us in person all the way from Oklahoma and Arkansas. It was incredible. In spite of the pending weather we had a large group of 100ish people.
I’m really not a cryer in public, but I was a bit of a mess watching Jenna’s lantern sail into the dark blue sky. It was more beautiful than anything I’d ever seen in real life to honor the life of a child gone too soon.
There were teens remembering their peer from high school, mothers honoring their children and babies, grandparents, siblings. The atmosphere was hard to describe but you could see it on just about everyone’s face. We shared a sorrow, yet none of us were ready to give up hope. We were there to celebrate the gift of the beautiful lives that changed us forever. It is definitely such a different experience being able to be surrounded in person by other loss parents. I cherish my online support, and honestly don’t know where I’d be today without it, but this experience has me wanting to be more involved in person as well.
Needless to say we hope to do it again. Same time, next year.
If you have never done a lantern release and you are able to do it in your area, it is something that really should be on your bucket list! The lanterns are about $3 each (sometimes less). You can grab just about any color on this site.
This event seriously could not have been possible without a few rockstars… one being Amanda. You might think I’m just being nice, and while I love that girl, this isn’t just a compliment. If you saw the list she was meticulously putting together over the past few weeks and answering messages on our event page wall, you’d agree. She works full time too, I don’t know how she did it!
Secondly there were a few beautiful mamas at the event that helped us write some last minute names, bring us water (THANK YOU!) and put up signs around the park. Your kindness in my forgetful stage will never be forgotten!
And lastly, we are SO thankful for the people. The families that trusted us with their childrens’ memory to come out and celebrate their lives together.