For some reason this year, I was really struggling with planning this party. I am usually able to plan it and pull it off each year without too much emotion, but not this year. When I woke up on his birthday I was so emotional and missing him so much. That is more like how I feel on his Angelversary (the day of his death) instead of his birthday. Over the years, I have made sure that his birthday celebration is a HAPPY day. A day of remembering his amazing life and all he did instead of focusing on his death. And it has always been a happy day. Until this year. When I woke up, I really wanted to just cancel the party. I just didn't feel up to it. I didn't want to show up with a big fake smile and pretend that I was doing great. I had no energy to get everything done that I needed to do for it. I don't remember ever feeling like that on this day. Maybe I did the first year or two, but not recently.
I really have no idea why this year was so hard for me, other than the fact that I had been speaking at various groups lately about him. My talks were titled Making Lemonade Out of Lemons or Happiness is a Choice and I used Tyson as an example. I spoke at three different groups. Speaking to others about him made me feel so close and connected to him. So he was really thick in my mind this year and I wonder if that had something to do with it. And it didn't help that his best friend got married this summer and it was so hard knowing that he should have been there at that wedding. They did a little picture tribute and poem of him and that was still pretty fresh in my mind as well. Whatever it was, I have no idea. I just knew I was not feeling up to pulling off a big party.
I called Dave and through tears I told him that I was just not sure I could do it this year and we may have to cancel. He told me that is okay and to just cancel it then. But... deep down I knew I couldn't do that. So... I decided to change my thoughts. Instead of feeling so down he was gone and no longer here and missing him, I just told myself that this party was not for ME. It was for HIM. And for all those OTHERS that loved him. I needed to do this for them so they could come and remember him and to keep his memory alive in all of our hearts. It was not about me or how I was feeling. I needed to shake it off and pull myself together and just get 'er done! So that is what I did. I may have been moving in slow motion, but I did get 'er done.
There were a lot of those that attend regularly each year that were unable to come this year and so we were few in numbers, but it was still great to see all those that did come. I asked everyone to bring something that reminded them of Tyson so we could display it and that was really special. I need to remember to do that each year.
Karen and her girls brought some place-mats that I made for them years ago for a Christmas present that had a lot of photos of Tyson with them on it. Those were really awesome to see. It made me think that I need to bring photos of him each year in some form. Photos always bring back such sweet and special memories. Tyler brought fireworks. No explanation necessary for that one! haha Mackenzie brought her Tyson bear that Tyson gave her when he was in the hospital one time. Someone had given it to him and he so graciously gave it to her and she has cherished it all this time since she was only two years old. It was just all very sweet.
I also brought Hawaiian leis this year for everyone to wear. Those inspired me with the thought of doing a full blown Hawaiian Luau next year. I figured doing it around a theme would get me excited and I wouldn't have such a hard time next year planning it.
Lots of friends and family came. There were many missing, but I know they were there in spirit.
Dave went to pick up the balloons about 30 minutes before the party and somehow the order didn't get passed along to the clerk and so he had to wait while they blew up all those balloons.
This is the card that we attached to the balloons. Everyone wrote their own special message on the back of it.
Every year (without fail!) Matt's get stuck in a tree. This year we set one off for him because he was unable to make it and it ended up in a bush. (top right photo)
We had a good breeze this year and they all sailed away up high. Not the case last year when there was ZERO wind and the helium wasn't potent enough and so they all ended up landing nearby in our town.
Up - up and away! We love you Tyson!
Once the balloons were launched, we headed over to the cemetery for the most exciting and fun part of the evening... the lighting of the fireworks around his grave.
We had a hard time getting them all lit at the same time this year.
But they were as noisy as ever! And as keeping with tradition, NO cops showed up! However, if they ever do, it will be hilarious because I know Tyson would be dying laughing above.
Sam brought her two cute littles and I had so much fun with them. I really NEED to be a Granny!
Chocolate Ecstasy was served as always. It was Tyson's favorite treat! Well, one of them! That boy had GREAT taste!
Bryce was so cute with Sam's kids and his nieces.
It was a great night to remember a very special boy. And I felt so good during and after the party. The party is exactly what I needed to feel better and so I am glad I didn't cancel it. I never would have anyway. That's just not something I could or would ever do even if the thought occurred to me.
He will never be forgotten and will always be in our hearts FOREVER.
We love and miss you TYSON!