I am completely and totally moved, to the point of tears, by the emotional outpouring of love, support and compassion that I’ve experienced during the last few weeks.
The comments that have been posted in our Guestbook, by those who witnessed, partook in our journey, or simply heard about Aimee’s Story, have been some of the most beautifully shared, and inspiring expressions of love that I have ever received.
Deciding to create a website in memory of my beloved sister Aimee was an idea, but not something I had been able to bring myself to do, until Saturday, January 8, 2011 in the midst of yet another snowstorm. I had already written, literally hundreds of e-mails, over almost five years, documenting and sharing details surrounding Aimee’s life, care and legacy. Somehow, sitting down to write a cohesive vignette, the Cliff Notes, so to speak, was something up till now I hadn’t been able to emotionally bring myself to do. In my heart, I knew that one day, it would just pour out of me, from my heart to my keyboard, which something would inspire me, and I would just do it.
Well, I received final word from Harrisburg that Aimee’s Bulletin would indeed be published, in the Pennsylvania Bulletin, January 15th, 2011. In my mind, I knew we somehow had to magically create a working website, complete with Aimee’s Story.
So many people knew bits and pieces, of Aimee’s Story, but few, if any, knew it all, so there I sat, with snow falling outside my window, as Aimee’s Story began to pour out of me.
While I sat writing, pausing to reflect, standing, sitting, moving about, Chelsea Badeau, our Award Winning Webmaster, sister to her beloved brothers Dylan and Adam, and vital member of Aimee’s Team, started building Aimee’s website, from scratch. I only had a few requests of Chelsea, that the site’s color theme be primary red, Aimee’s favorite color, that it be energetically HAPPY, playful, clean and contemporary looking, no clutter, easy to use, with a sprinkling of my favorite, Happy Faces, and "No black," please, Aimee didn’t like the color black.
I completed Aimee’s Story by the time the snow stopped falling, and Chelsea built the perfect website in about four days. We never met to discuss or design Aimee’s website in person, it was all done over e-mail, not a single phone call, and it was if Chelsea was able to read my mind. Chelsea got everything I envisioned, with ease.
Truth be told, we kinda felt that our beloved Aimee, Dylan, and Adam, were somehow energetically connected, and our little Angel Guides throughout our process. It was clear that we were doing God’s work, and we were in-action, consistent with having Aimee’s website ready to launch, January 14, 2011.
While the snow plows were cleaning the streets that evening, Sue Badeau, Chelsea’s Mom, and Mom to her beloved Dylan and Adam, took editing to a whole new level. I had been absent the day they taught spelling and punctuation, so I tend to write the way I speak, in one very long run-on sentence. Sue segmented my thoughts, added some punctuation, and presto, before I knew it, Aimee’s Story was edited, and ready to drop into Aimee’s website.
Then Chelsea spent the rest of the week tweaking our website, preparing to drop in the Press Release that Harrisburg was in the midst of preparing, and the actual published copy of Aimee’s Bulletin, which became available on-line, Friday, Jan. 14th, and we were actually ready, one day in advance. We decided that it should be light, fun and joyful, a celebration of Aimee’s life, so we added happy art, embedded throughout Aimee’s Story. When we spoke of how much Aimee loved chocolate, we dropped in a Hershey bar, or a couple of scoops of chocolate ice cream. When we mentioned Aimee’s ability to remember skits from the I Love Lucy Show, word for word, we added the logo from the show, along with a photo of Lucy. When we shared Aimee’s love of music, we added musical notes, and before you knew it, there was a certain aliveness to Aimee’s Story.
We even decided to add music to Aimee’s Story, Alleluia, a very special and inspiring song, one that sends chills up and down your spine, sung by Laura Thomae, Musical Therapist, at Keystone Hospice. Laura had sung Alleluia at Aimee’s funeral, February 9, 2009, again at Aimee’s bench dedication at Keystone Hospice, May 27, 2010, and also to our beloved Dylan during his last hours. Laura had sung to Aimee, during both of Aimee’s stays at Keystone Hospice, so she knew Aimee well, and I was honored that Laura readily agreed to allow us to play Alleluia while our guests viewed Aimee’s Story.
Fast forward, the signing of Aimee’s Bulletin was only the beginning. Aimee’s Team now needs to ensure that families of Special Needs Individuals, throughout the Great State of Pennsylvania will be provided with training, and educated as to their rights.
We have the support of Kevin Casey, Deputy Secretary of Developmental Programs, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare that a Family Training Program will be developed, and a Group will be organized to implement Aimee’s Bulletin. When I met Kevin, Oct. 26, 2006, at the first official meeting of Aimee’s Team, at Keystone Hospice, I shared with Kevin that we need to handle this on a state wide level, and if we couldn’t I would go on Larry King Live to share Aimee’s Story. Kevin responded, “If we go on Larry King, it will be together as partners.” Kevin has proven to be a wonderful committed partner, friend, public servant, and my life line, time and time, again. I remain grateful to Kevin, and the members of Aimee’s Team, who listen, heard and supported me through my darkest of days, and stood by me, until we reached this moment in time.
Thanks for taking the time to learn more about Aimee's Bulletin.