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Saturday, March 28, 2020

I figured I could do another update.   Some final arrangement info on Julia:  Her obituary is online.  A three year old looks so out of place on the funeral home's website:  (There is a tribute wall on her obituary -  it looks like you can leave comments, photos, and virtual candles.)   Julia's remains have been cremated, and the funeral home confirmed her charm bracelet was with her.  We chose a beautiful pink (for Peppa) urn and a pretty bird bath for our yard - blue for her favorite color. When we realized my dad's health was going down hill, I told him I wanted to cremate him and put his ashes into the soil of a new tree in my yard.  I asked if he thought that was creepy, and he said he didn't.  He just said, "OK, but you just have to decorate me for Halloween and Christmas".  (That was my dad's sense of humor... but it's going to happen.) I know right where I'd like to plant it, and I'd like a pretty tree that blooms in the spring and fall, I have a few ideas, but hopefully sometime this summer an expert can come out and give some recommendation based on our soil/sunlight.  Obviously it didn't happen last year with Julia, and who knows if it will happen this year with the virus.  But, sometime. So that was the plan with my dad, so we picked out the bird bath planning on putting it next to her grandpa's tree.  I'd love to look out in the spring and see a beautiful tree in bloom, with birds on Julia's bird bath.  Beauty and life.  That view feels much more appropriate for me personally, as opposed to remains in a cemetery.  Lots of people have asked about a service, and we aren't having one.  Neither of us felt like it was the right thing to do.  And now with everyone in our area (most areas?) doing social distancing, it's just not the right time.  We do plan on having her official blood drive sometime later summer, which we might turn into a remembrance of sorts, and for closer friends and family, perhaps an annual "Julia Raspberry Party" when all our raspberries are out (she loved picking raspberries during her one summer toddlering around). . We are doing OK with everything, though this virus really has my anxiety at a max.  I'm living proof that bad things can happen to someone over and over again, so I have no false comfort in "it's probably not..."   We know Reed was potentially exposed to someone who later tested positive for COVID19, just before Julia's passing, and about 6 days later, he started having a fever.  He's now had a fever for 8 days, along with some other cold-like symptoms.  Gabriel has a pretty good cough, and I have miscellaneous symptoms, not really cold-like.  We've had a video call with our doctor and he just said to stay home and monitor, so that's what we're doing.  But the paranoia is extreme.  And of course my main anxiety symptom is shortness of breath... so it's been a super fun week.  I'm driving Reed crazy.   I think today is the first day Reed hasn't had a fever, and based on my reading (which trust me, has been obsessive), this is the turning point where he will either get better or a lot worse.  And of course, he might just have a normal cold... which would be super awesome.    So hopefully absolutely nothing exciting comes from that and the three of us can just stay cooped up in the house. . Like I mentioned in my last post, we cancelled Julia's blood drive for safety.  The Red Cross has taken major precautions to make blood donation safe, but just with how many people wanted to attend, we had to cancel.  We don't want anyone to feel obligated to get together right now. However, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE donate locally in her honor!  The Red Cross is critically low on blood.  Like... it's really bad.  The representative was very sad to hear we were cancelling because they knew the expected turn out =( They said hospitals have already started rationing all over the country.   So if you're healthy and eligible, please go to ( and find somewhere to donate near you.  It doesn't have to be at an official drive - there are many Red Cross Donation centers that just do donations by appointment.  Both blood and platelets are desperately needed.  Just know - if you donate blood, it WILL go to someone right now.  It could go to a little girl fighting cancer, just like Julia... who could still get life-saving blood even though her outlook might not look too good.  Because who knows where on the 'ration totem pole' someone in her situation would end up =( Let's not let it get there.  Donate!  . Today is Aunt Charlene's birthday <3 <3 (As a reminder, she is my sister-in-law, married to Reed's brother, and their family is who raised Gabriel the whole time Julia was in the hospital.)  I picked one of my favorite pictures of her being an aunt.  This was the summer of 2018.  She had been gone somewhere for a few weeks, and came back for our friends 4th of July party.  So that was the first time she was seeing 1.5 year old Julia and 8 month old Gabriel in a while.  She just leaned down and expert-mom-scooped both up, one in each arm. <3 <3 HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHARLENE! . So we have been enjoying our time with Gabriel.  Toddlers are... something.  He literally runs back and forth through the house banging into the glass doors and then yelling "ow".  Like... why.   Right now he and Reed are sitting in the couch playing Mario.  He thinks the chain-chomps are baby sharks, and in some game Mario can turn into a dinosaur (which Gabriel is completely obsessed with).  So he just wants to go "see baby shark!" over and over and over.  Reed has unlimited patience. And, I proved I have no idea what to do with a toddler when I made all three of us peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and took his word for it when he said "yes" to "can you eat this without making a mess?"  So I handed him the sandwich and ate mine at the counter... then spent the next 45 minutes cleaning up jelly from random places around my house.   . So we're just really taking it easy as a family of three.  ... Are we considered a family of three?  I don't know how that works.  Lots of cuddle time with Gabriel.  We're letting him sleep in our bed, which is probably a mistake for later, but whatever.   This whole coronavirus thing is sort of giving us mandatory grieve-and-accept time, so we're taking advantage of that while we're stuck at home. The world is very strange right now... and not finding toilet paper and having 6-foot-markers for 'distancing' at the grocery store is strange. But we've certainly been through a lot worse, so... we're just sort of accepting that life is really surreal right now.   So, obituary is here (leave a comment if you'd like <3)

And find a place to donate blood, if only so kids with cancer can get this life-saving resource <3:

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Kathy Mcconnon
Kathy Mcconnon
Mar 29, 2020

tysm for your update. the plans for your dad and julia with the beautiful blooming tree for dad and the bird bath for ulia sound amazingly wonderful. i still think of julia a lot especially now when i c updates of jaxon. stay safe u 3 u have all been thru so much.heartfelt love sent your way from tasmania australia.xxxx i have ust read her obituary how beautiful it was regards to u all from kathy ,tas,aus.

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