I haven’t found the desire to write recently. It just doesn’t feel right, there isn’t much to say. It just empty – empty words, empty heart. That was until last Saturday, on what would have been Julia’s 9th birthday.
This past summer, during a family dinner, Julia asked if she could have a big birthday party this year. We promised, as most parents do, not realizing what the future would bring. As fate would have it, we kept our promise, thanks to some amazing friends and family that helped to plan and pull off the first ever – Julia’s-PALOOZA.
This past Saturday, more that 500 people joined us in celebrating Julia’s Birthday and the kick off of the foundation bearing her name and embodying her spirit. It was a bittersweet day for us, and for many of you that loved Julia so much. But throughout the day, there were glimpses of Julia. From the smiling children playing games during the carnival to the adults dancing to music during the beef & beer, Julia’s spirit was everywhere. Julia still had the ability to light up the room. It was evident by the energy and excitement in the room. She was still able to bring young and old together, to celebrate, to smile, to cry and to remember what is important – your family, your friends, your community and of course, that you should hug a perfect stranger and not be afraid to make a difference in their life.
At the end of the night, as we cleaned up and packed up the cars, we decided to have an impromptu balloon release, with each of use writing a message to Julia on the outside of a balloon. We walked outside, balloons in hand, than all at once we sent our messages to the stars. We watched as the balloons rose into the sky, into a sky that sent back a Julia wink, a sky that appeared to be pink from the light of a bright autumn moon. We stood together gazing at the pink sky and watched as the balloons appeared to dance, floating slowly to the stars, sending our messages into the heavens.
Happy Birthday, Julia. We love you.