Beyond a 13th Birthday

Excerpt re-posted from Beyond “it”, a blog  written by Malia’s Mom Annette, about moving beyond the things in her life that get in the way of becoming what God has asked her to be. “It” will be fear, grief, anger, and confusion… but “it” can be a lot of other things too. In this process of moving beyond “it”, there will be many past memories to share & many new adventures to explore together.
 
 

Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast - Childhood Cancer Awareness

My Malia Grace is celebrating her 13th birthday in heaven this next Tuesday, February 18th. As a family we wanted to do something to commemorate the day.  Birthdays, anniversaries of diagnosis, entering hospice, and of the day she entered heaven are all crazy hard, crazy strange days.  The first couple years after her passing it seemed wrong to let the days just slip by quietly, but we struggled how to celebrate when our hearts were broken into a million pieces.  Last year we solved the dilemma for her birthday. Malia LOVED ice cream and we had made an amazing family memory at the end of her earthly life eating ice cream for breakfast together while on her Make-A-Wish trip in Florida. 
 
So we built on that memory and invited about 50 of our closest family and friends to join us in a virtual birthday party on Facebook.  They took pictures of themselves eating ice cream for breakfast and then posted the pictures on my Facebook page.  In the creative style of Malia’s spirit people sent pictures from Malls, drive-thru’s, kitchen tables, couches and cars.  They took pictures of their cats getting a sweet lick or two.  They were silly and crazy and smiling and laughing in every single picture, and as I sat in front of our computer screen at home the tears fell.  I wept for the loss of our time with Malia.  I wept for the joy of knowing her celebration in heaven was outdoing ours by a long shot. I wept because I felt so very deeply loved though all of those pictures.  It got our family through the day with a lot of laughter mixed with those tears and gave us something to look forward to all day as the pictures kept coming in. All day my other two daughters would say, “Let’s check the computer again, Mom!”. Afterwards my sister made a collage in the shape of a heart out of all those pictures. It’s now a treasured memory tucked away in the deepest part of my heart. 
 
So this year we thought, Hey! Let’s open it up for all of our friends to participate if they chose to. So I sent the invite to my entire friends list on Facebook. Malia’s uncle Scott is a big thinker with a creative flare and gigantic heart. Half jokingly he posted that Malia’s birthday was a National Holiday and invited everyone he knew to join the “ice cream for breakfast” party.  My sister thought a National holiday was a great idea and a great way to bring awareness and support to childhood cancer warriors and the families that love them.  She made a poster to plaster all over Facebook… and it has taken on a life of it’s own.  In just 24 hours that poster has been shared over 1,200 times and one site alone has over 600 “likes” on the post, another over 300 “likes” and it’s growing exponentially.  It has already gone viral into more than 6 countries!  So… now it’s an “International ice cream for breakfast” party!  
 
For those close to us- it’s still about celebrating Malia’s birthday, but in grand Malia style it’s become so much bigger than our little family.  There are now people literally around the world who are going to join us in eating ice cream to honor, cheer on and remember all the childhood cancer warriors they know. 
 
I see the gratefulness of parents and grandparents on line who feel loved and supported in that fight or in their grief, and it is mind blowing. It means so much to them to be remembered.  To be acknowledged.  To feel loved.  Who knew ice cream could do all that?
 
After last year- I did.  And I’m thinking it’s a pretty great birthday present for Malia if she knew the impact of her birthday party gone wild.  She would think this is AWESOME!
 
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