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Pinnacle Days 2010

Recently attended Pinnacle Days in Gore Va. For those of you that do not know what Pinnacle Days is here you go:

PINNACLE DAYS – An event that began as a way to come together and remember Jason Holloway at a place he loved. It has evolved into a weekend of camping, 4-wheeling, atv’s, barbecue, music, good friends and good times. Plus, a way to raise awareness and funds for ARVD/C research at Johns Hopkins. ARVD/C is the disease that took Jason.

Jason’s parents Bonnie and Rich put on this event each year. This was our first year attending.

To say it was a “good time” would be an understatement…It was totally amazing, not just because of the reason behind Pinnacle Days but also due to the location, people, food, and scenery.

We arrived and people were just camping, talking, riding 4-wheelers and having an all around good time. Shortly thereafter the “climb” to the Pinnacle was to begin. The jeeps lined up (about 20 in all) and not having a jeep Bonnie and Rich made sure we had a ride. All together the ride to the Pinnacle took about 45 minutes and it was an amazing ride and scenic tour the entire way.

Once we arrived at the top of the Pinnacle people mingled again, talked, reminisced about Jay and just took in the view.

After being on the Pinnacle it was time to depart and go back to camp where there was live music, more mingling and then a full spread of food.

Having never attended anything like this it’s really hard to explain or image just how nice it is (you need to attend..hint..hint..) Bonnie and Rich do an amazing job.

Things I took away from it is the Pinnacle is an amazing view but more importantly was listening to Jays friends talk about him and things they use to do. Not only do you realize what a loved young man that Jay was, but also what a caring, fun and family person he was. It is apparent that Jason made an impression on all that he met and it shows. Jason will not only be remembered by his family, but in all those that he came across….

I’d like to think at night that Jay comes back to the Pinnacle, and maybe even brings some of his new friends with him to show them the beauty, and they then just let lose and ride those trails while we all sleep….

Pinnacle Days 2009

I would first like to say thank you to Bonnie for coming up with the idea of  “flags” to be incorporated into “Pinnacle Days” this year. Pinnacle Days is to celebrate the life of Jason Holloway (Bonnie’s Son) and still Bonnie allowed others to become part of the day. I know, I for one can not say “Thank You” enough….

“Every year in late October on a weekend close to his birthday, we get together to celebrate the life of Jason Holloway. At his favorite place, doing his favorite activites, with those that knew and loved him. I know this puts a smile on his face!”…..Bonnie (Jason’s Mom)

Pinnacle Kids
These flag banners represent children who, like Jason, have left us way too soon.
These were made with love by family members to serve as representation of a young life.
They will travel to other events around the Country and beyond.
We have a banner from Australia.
Some parents found it too hard to make a banner at this time to their children have “filler” banners until the time is right.
Sadly, these children have indeed reached the “Pinnacle” in tehir young lives. We will continue to Love, Honor and Remember them.

“If you click on the “Flag” below it will open up a sideshow of all the flags in a new window”

Pinnacle Days

1st Annual Tanner Houk Memorial Golf Tournament

The Houk, Fritts and Peters Families would sincerely like to thank all the sponsors, players, and everyone who helped make this year’s “Tanner Houk Memorial Golf Tournament” a huge success!

Tanner houk Memorial Golf Tournament

PDF Version Here

Beyond Indigo Reunion 2009

The pictures are from the Beyond Indigo Reunion 2009.

Doing a Butterfly Release

If you are thinking about doing a Butterfly Release for your loved one there are some steps to consider. First you need to find someone to get your Butterflies from unless you plan on trying to catch them yourself. This site lists different locations you can get Butterflies from.

It is important to check in advance of the date you need to make sure that they are available. These are typically seasonal for breeders and might be difficult to get. Once you find a person to get the Butterflies from you then need to arrange how you are going to get them and how far in advance.

The Butterflies are delivered to you and they are “sleeping”. Typically they are shipped on ice. Usually you wake them 2 1/2 hours before your event and put them in a cage of some sort (you can get from breeder) and spray water on the netting so they get some energy. We also gave them some watermelon to get them going prior to the event.

If you happen to order the Butterflies and they get delivered a day or so before the event you might have to wake them up and feed them and then put them back to sleep. Again, you can check with the breeder.

The Butterflies are shipped as adults and packaged ready for release. Each butterfly is placed in it’s own special release envelope or into a mass release box (net).

Box Butterflies are shipped in

Box Butterflies are shipped in

Envelope Butterflies come in

Envelope Butterflies come in

Net to put Butterflies in

Net to put Butterflies in

Once you are at the event you can pretty much do whatever you’d like. You can have a reading of some sort so people understand the reasoning behind the Butterfly release or anything that you want.

Once that is done everyone can release their Butterflies. When you open the envelopes you can take the Butterflies by the wings and put them on your hand, a flower or whatever you want. It is a good idea to have “real” flowers at the event in order to make the Butterflies want to stay in the area. It is also important to take the spray bottle of water so you can make the flower wet. The Butterflies will need water. All in all the Butterflies we released some flew away but others stayed for about 2 hours or so.

For our Butterfly relase we used Monarc Butterflies because supposedly they are the most “relaxed” for this type of setting. Also, best bet is to get a photographer to attend the event. It is too hard to plan, coordinate, and take pictures at the same time. It is well worth the few dollars to get it done correctly.

Have a wonderful event.

Butterfly on flower

Butterfly on flower

Butterfly Release

Today for our Son’s 1st Angel Date we had a Butterfly Release. Was not sure how it would turn out having never seen a Butterfly Release but my wife did alot of research and made the event a beautiful celebration for our son.

Below are some of the pictures that we took. We also had a photographer come, and she took pictures but we won’t have them for a few weeks.

Our daughter read this:

Butterflies Released as a symbol of your love.

“Today we celebrate Nick’s life with the release of butterflies. Butterflies symbolize the spirit of transformation, representing freedom and beauty as they take flight. When we experience the vital connection between butterflies and nature, we tend to feel that peace and harmony are truly around us.Their f light is a motion of freedom and calmness and is so beautiful to see.

Please let death be a butterfly with our loved one soaring in an existence that is too wonderful for us to comprehend! “Often in life what appears to be an ending is really a glorious new beginning”.

Today as we release the butterflies we are creating another unforgettable memory of Nick. And to let Nick know that we Love him and he will always live in our hearts and everything we do. Releasing the butterflies is releasing Nick so he can have peace and soar with the angels.

As you release this butterfly in honor of me, know that I’m with you and will always be. Hold a hand, say a prayer, close your eyes and see me there. Although you may feel a bit torn apart, please know that I’ll be forever in your heart. Now fly away butterfly as high as you can go, I’m right there with you more than you know.

The Butterfly you have been given will emerge from their envelopes and alight on your hand for a moment before flying off.
When instructed, please open the envelope and allow the butterfly to emerge on its own. It may take a few moments for the beautiful creature to adjust to the light and temperature before it flies off. These Butterflies are natives, will thrive and insure the continuation of their species, “Never Lose Faith”

What a Grieving Mother Really Thinks

What a Grieving Mother Really Thinks

Hello old friend,
Oh yes you know
I lost my child a while ago.
No, no please
Don’t look away
And change the subject
It’s ok.

You see at first I couldn’t feel,
It took so long, but now it’s real.
I hurt so much inside you see
I need to talk,
Come sit with me?

You see, I was numb for so very long,
And people said, “My, She is so strong.”
They did not know I couldn’t feel,
My broken heart made all unreal.
But then one day, as I awoke
I clutched my chest, began to choke,
Such a scream, such a wail,
Broke from me..
My child! My child!
The horror of reality.

But everyone has moved on, you see,
everyone except for me.
Now, when I need friends most of all,
Between us there now stands a wall.
My pain is more than they can bear,
When I mention my child,
I see their blank stare.
“But I thought you were over it,”
Their eyes seem to say,
No, no, I can’t listen to this, not today.

So I smile and pretend, and say, “Oh, I’m ok”.
But inside I am crying, as I turn away.
And so my old friend, I shall paint on a smile,
As I have from the start,
You never knowing all the while,
All I’ve just said to you in my heart.

….Author Unknown

The Grief of Fathers

The Grief of Fathers

Fathers are cast in a societal role that is different from that of the
mother. Although there are many role crossovers and although frequently
the deep strength in a family is in the mother, society expects, and
fathers themselves expect, that they be the “strong ones.”

Generally the father is the major support of the family, and he plans to
meet his current expenses, insure against the unanticipated, save for the
anticipated family expenses of the future, and establish an education fund
and some security for old age and years of declining capability. In
effect, as a father plans for his family, he also accepts the
responsibility for planning positively for his own death, As he buys a
house, real estate, and particularly insurance, he fully accepts the
concept that insurance actuarial statistics indicate that his spouse will
live five to ten years longer than he, will have her own needs, and may
have to meet all child needs without his productive capacity and support.

The role a father assumes is a learned role: he also often emulates his
own father; a societally imposed role in almost every contact in life
expects him to provide, disburse, save, plan, and guide. For example, it
would be a rare insurance agent who approached the mother of a family
first and rare father who did not carry some insurance against the
anticipated and expected eventuality of his death. In the same sense, he
accepts the possibility of early death of his wife.

The death of a child is a shocking, unanticipated, dislocating, damaging
event which weakens the structure of the family’s entire life and makes
all of their work and planning a futility of catastrophic proportion.
Although father may never have stated is or even thought of it deeply, he
has already spent a large portion of his own life being a father.
Suddenly, there is NO future for the lost child and NO reason for a great
deal of what father has been working for.

Our cultural heritage is such, however, that the father is expected to be
strong, to comfort his wife, to assist the siblings in reaching an
understanding, and to cope with ail changes, including the funeral
arrangements. Assuming a normal existence prior to the death, he already
had a job, a mortgage, some problems, some debt, and felt that he had a
load to carry. Suddenly, with little or no warning, he has a terrible
additional, emotional load and an additional practical load Unwanted,
unplanned and emotionally unacceptable to him.

As the responsible family head, the father also feels a responsibility for
the child’s death, and he asks himself: What did I do wrong? Where did 1
fail? Why did I not anticipate? What should I have done to prevent the
catastrophe? Intellectually we know this is irrational. Emotionally we all
seem to do it.

Within weeks, our society expects the father to assimilate his loss,
comfort his wife, guide the surviving children, and go back to work with
his usual dedicated, efficient ability. Responsible men attempt to do what
is expected of them and what they expect of themselves. Still in acute
grief, father finds himself shattered: his working capacity is perhaps
only 30% of normal, and his confidence destroyed by-this event which he
could not prevent, but for which he feels responsible.

As father departs for work he leaves a distraught family, hoping they can
get through the day, and approaches a demanding work situation where he is
expected to be productive, capable and sound. With the physical symptoms
of grief, he has ail the sensations of somatic distress: sighing,
depression, an empty feeling in the pit of his stomach, tension, mental
pain, lack of energy, and a great feeling of futility. Any effort seems
exhausting to him; he is tired; there is no incentive to normal activity;
food is tasteless; any enjoyment hi life seems “wrong.” As he attempts to
pick up the broken strands of his own and his family’s existence, he does
so with a sense of unreality, personal failure, self accusation of
negligence, and a desire to withdraw from others and distance himself from
these very painful and unacceptable circ**stances.

If father is able to work halfway efficiently, communicate, project warmth
to others, and show interest in the job, he finds the effort exhausting
and the result less than satisfactory. He has no patience for the routine
and mundane problems of the workaday world and feels resentment toward
those who cannot see that he is now half a person, faced with great
change, little energy, no zest for life, and little or no incentive.
Having taxed his energy and patience just to get through the day, he goes
home again to the family, knowing they, too, expect much of him Knowing he
has little to give, he can barely hold himself together. The result can be
an increasing sense of inability, inadequacy, failure, and guilt. At times
he feels that he really cannot cope with all of it.

If at this point in time, a friend he trusts will take him to task and
force him to think he is fortunate. Someone needs to remind him that on
the day before the death, he was a responsible, caring parent doing the
best he knew at the time. If less than perfect, he was only human, and a
pretty good human at that – or he would not now be so devastated. As much
as he hates to accept the most undesirable change, it has already happened
and it is irreversible. The way in which he copes with the changes will
have a marked effect on all those lives that touch upon his own. As the
responsible family head, the father must now gather the broken structure,
accept the great loss as best he can, build where he can and work towards
a normality of existence for that family remaining.

In effect, if anything so devastating can be put into one coherent
paragraph, the father’s job is not to hold himself up in great strength
The job he really has is to realize that events beyond his control have
struck him down; he has been nearly destroyed and is severely damaged and
his remaining family is so shattered that he cannot expect too much help

If he can realize how down he is, how depressed, how normal it is to feel
failure, near insanity, and reduced capability, he has made a long step
toward the necessity to pick himself up, keep what remains together as
well as he can, and go on, expecting time to provide some relief and some

Life, after the death of a child, must be restructured. That this must be
done when one is ineffectively functioning and when few goals are
seemingly worth accomplishment, makes it ever so difficult. There is a
positive necessity to avoid major decisions and major changes at this
time. Judgment and balance are impaired. With severe grief the probability
of both physical and mental illness is much higher. A father who realizes
the dangers and recognizes the impairment of self is much more able to
manage until time provides its relief. By accepting the facts of reduced
capability and by establishing smaller goals, a father can obtain the time
and strength to be kind to his family and himself It is not a time to show
great strength as a facade. It is a time to accept the damage and recover
slowly. A father in grief cannot afford the time and energy to feel
“responsible” for his child’s death; his primary responsibility is to
survive and to endure as he slowly restructures the lives which have been
severely damaged by events beyond his control.

By Helen and Dayton Robinson – TCF, Tuscaloosa
~lovingly lifted from River Valley Chapter Newsletters, Fort Smith, AR

Normal after your child dies?

Original poem by Tara and Heath Carey
Normal is having tears waiting behind every smile when you realize someone important is missing from all the important events in your family’s life.

Normal is trying to decide what to take to the cemetery for Birthdays, X-mas, Hanukkah, Thanksgiving, New Years, Valentine’s Day, July 4th and Passover.

Normal is feeling like you can’t sit another minute without getting up and screaming, because you just don’t like to sit through anything anymore.

Normal is not sleeping very well because a thousand what if’s & why didn’t I’s go through your head constantly.

Normal is reliving the accident continuously through your eyes and mind, holding your head to make it go away.

Normal is having the TV on the minute you walk into the house to have noise, because the silence is deafening.

Normal is staring at every boy who looks like he is Taylor’s age. And then thinking of the age he’d would be now. Then wondering why it is even important to imagine it, because it will never happen.

Normal is every happy event in your life always being backed up with
sadness lurking close behind, because of the hole in your heart.

Normal is telling the story of your child’s death as if it were
an everyday, commonplace activity, and then seeing the horror in
someone’s eyes at how awful it sounds. And yet realizing it has
become a part of your “normal.”

Normal is each year coming up with the difficult task of how to honor your childs’s memory and their birthdays and survive these days. And trying to find the balloon or flag that fit’s the occasion. Happy Birthday? Not really.

Normal is my heart warming and yet sinking at the sight of something special Taylor loved. Thinking how he would love it, but how he is not here to enjoy it.

Normal is having some people afraid to mention my son, Taylor.
Normal is making sure that others remember him.

Normal is after the funeral is over everyone else goes on with their lives, but we continue to grieve our loss forever.

Normal is weeks, months, and years after the initial shock, the grieving gets worse, not better.

Normal is not listening to people compare anything in their life to this loss, unless they too have lost a child. Nothing compares.
Even if your child is in the remotest part of the earth away from you – it doesn’t compare.

Losing a parent is horrible, but having to bury your own child is unnatural.

Normal is taking pills, and trying not to cry all day, because you know your mental health depends on it.

Normal is realizing you do cry everyday.

Normal is being impatient with everything and everyone but someone stricken with grief over the loss of their child.

Normal is sitting at the computer crying, sharing how you feel with chat buddies who have also lost a child.
Normal is not listening to people make excuses for
“G-d may have done this because…”

I know Taylor is in “heaven,” but hearing people trying to think up excuses as to why a fantastic young man was taken from this earth is not appreciated and makes absolutely no sense to this grieving mother.
Normal is being too tired to care if you paid the bills, cleaned the house, did the laundry or if there is any food.

Normal is wondering this time whether you are going to say you have two children or one child, because you will never see this person again and it is not worth explaining that Taylor is dead.
And yet when you say you have one child to avoid that problem, you feel horrible as if you have betrayed the dead child.

Normal is asking G-d why he took your child’s life instead of yours and asking if there even is a G-d.

Normal is knowing you will never get over this loss, not in a day nor a million years.

Normal is having therapists agree with you that you will never “really” get over the pain and that there is nothing they can do to help you because they know only bringing back your child back from the dead could possibly make it “better.”

Normal is learning to lie to everyone you meet and telling them you are fine. You lie because it makes others uncomfortable if you cry. You’ve learned it’s easier to lie to them then to tell them the truth that you still feel empty and it’s probably never going to get any better — ever.

And last of all…
Normal is hiding all the things that have become “normal” for you to
feel, so that everyone around you will think that you are “normal.”

The above poem was originally written by Tara and Heath Carey after they lost their daughters Violet and Iris in 2002 when natural gas caused their apartment to explode.

Mom – Mother’s Day Poem


With Mother’s Day approaching I know it won’t be easy
You brought me into this life and for that I am grateful
You nourished, cherished, and looked after me
Never once asking for anything in return

If life was perfect, I would be there with you on your special day
Instead there will tears that you will need to wipe away
Distance cannot stop the love of a mother and child
So know that I am at peace, and my heart is full of love

You don’t need to feel bad, or shed a tear
The thoughts, the dreams, and the aspirations you had for me
For your aspirations have been fulfilled
I now sit in the presence of God, what better feat could there be

There will come a time that we will be together again
I’ll be here waiting for you, just as you would me
My love for you will never diminish
Even though I am not there
You’ll always have my tender loving care

Just sit, close your eyes, and you will know
That no matter where, I am always near
You are my Best Friend, My Confidante, My Loving Mother

Happy Mother’s Day ….I Love You….

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