Saturday, September 17, 2016

The Raul Binkeez

Today a new blanket was dedicated to Raul; each of the patterns that Binkeez uses is dedicated to someone. We had been hoping a new car/truck fabric would come available, and recently it did! At the beginning of the book launch event two new blankets were dedicated, and Raul's was one of them. Susan gave a very kind speech, and then had me come up to be presented with the blanket by the Binkeez volunteers. It is their tradition when giving a parent a blanket to wrap it around their shoulders. My dad was able to get a video of part of the speech, as well as some photos:

The ABC's of Love Book Launch

Soon after we came home I was asked if Raul could be part of a book that a friend was writing. This friend was Susan Posterro, the founder of Binkeez for Comfort, who we had met several years earlier through another charity. Susan wrote a wonderful story of love and kindness, featuring an alphabet where each letter represented a different child she had come to know through her work. Raul was to be letter 'R'!

Today was the book launch for her book, The ABC's of Love. The day started with a reception for the families at the Binkeez headquarters. Susan wanted all the families to be able to have time to see the books and their child's illustration before the main event. It was nice to be able to see their work space and learn about the organization and how they make the Binkeez. I was also able to spot both the new blanket being dedicated to Raul, as well as the one used for the program at the UofM for EB children undergoing transplant, which we had gotten started earlier in the year. There was profile of the MN program with Raul's photo in the annual report, as well! We also got to meet some of the other families, which was nice.

Then we headed to the library for the book launch. We were able to meet some of the Binkeez volunteers, as well as the publisher, editor, and illustrator of the book. One of the first parts of this even was two new blanket dedications, one of which was Raul's! There were several speeches and introductions, and it was great to hear more of the story behind both the organization and the book. Then the editor read the book, and it was fun to hear it for the first time.

To purchase the book, go here:

This dinosaur fabric will be used for blankets that will go to MN

Finished products packaged and ready for MN!

 The Raul binkeez are on the top left

Raul's illustration

Cookie with an image of the book cover

The annual report page about the MN program

Library displays

 Raul's page!

Reading of Raul's page

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Raul's Butterfly Release

At the end of Raul's graveside service we had a butterfly release. The company schedules them to be delivered the day before, so it was bit nerve-wracking making sure they were okay until the release! I did release one yesterday onto the red plant we bought for the cemetery, and it actually was still there this morning. Today when we released them they had warmed up more, so many did fly off immediately. Others hung around for a bit, and we tried to move them onto flowers.

Raul's Graveside Service

Today was Raul's graveside service and burial. My mom read an introduction/told stories about Raul, my dad and brother in law read poems, my sister read an excerpt from the Velveteen rabbit, one of my grandmothers spoke, and I read a poem during the butterfly release. I had chosen the poems and excerpt before Raul's Minnesota service, and we used them for both services. We also showed his memorial video back at our house after the service.

We got lucky to have a beautiful sunny day, as the forecast had been showing the possibility of rain/thunder as recently as late yesterday. We had been hoping for a fire engine red casket, but based on the catalog photo we thought it might be a darker red. We were very happy to arrive and find a bright fire engine red casket! On Friday we had also dropped off a truck blanket, little lovey blanket, and a few trucks to go in Raul's casket.

Because it is Memorial Day weekend, the cemetery had placed special flags on all the graves for firefighters, and this morning the man who runs the cemetery placed one by Raul's grave as well. We were very touched when we arrived to find this. Raul would be pleased, as he is buried in a cemetery with many firefighters!
"To the living, I am gone.
To the sorrowful, I will never return.
To the angry, I was cheated,
But to the happy, I am at peace,
And to the faithful, I have never left.
I cannot be seen, but I can be heard.
So as you stand upon a shore, gazing at a beautiful sea – remember me.
As you look in awe at a mighty forest and its grand majesty – remember me.
As you look upon a flower and admire its simplicity – remember me.
Remember me in your heart, your thoughts, your memories of the times we loved,
the times we cried, the times we fought, the times we laughed.
For if you always think of me, I will never be gone."
Margaret Mead

"Don't think of him as gone away
his journey's just begun,
life holds so many facets
this earth is only one.
Just think of him as resting
from the sorrows and the tears
in a place of warmth and comfort
where there are no days and years.
Think how he must be wishing
that we could know today
how nothing but our sadness
can really pass away.
And think of him as living
in the hearts of those he touched...
for nothing loved is ever lost
and he was loved so much."
Ellen Brenneman

“The Skin Horse had lived longer in the nursery than any of the others. He was so old that his brown coat was bald in patches and showed the seams underneath, and most of the hairs in his tail had been pulled out to string bead necklaces. He was wise, for he had seen a long succession of mechanical toys arrive to boast and swagger, and by-and-by break their mainsprings and pass away, and he knew that they were only toys, and would never turn into anything else. For nursery magic is very strange and wonderful, and only those playthings that are old and wise and experienced like the Skin Horse understand all about it.

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

"I suppose you are real?" said the Rabbit. And then he wished he had not said it, for he thought the Skin Horse might be sensitive. But the Skin Horse only smiled.

"The Boy's Uncle made me Real," he said. "That was a great many years ago; but once you are Real you can't become unreal again. It lasts for always.'"


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

One Week

Today marks one week since Raul passed away. Last Monday at around 7:20pm Raul passed away, and today at that time there was a beautiful sunset over the ocean. Earlier today we visited the cemetery and the MA funeral home. Raul's grave will be the second from the woods, as the back one was pre-purchased by someone for future use (so for now there won't be anyone behind him). Across the cemetery you can see the police memorial garden, which I'm sure Raul would like! 

Not much news from the funeral home other than that the MN funeral home put an incorrect date of death, which will have to be sorted out! We also will not be able to see him again, unfortunately, so we are very glad we pushed to see him in MN and spent some time with him then! The lady also confirmed that Raul arrived from MN late last Friday night, and was brought to Rockport Saturday morning. When we got in the car to leave, one of the songs from his memorial video was playing on the radio.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

MN Memorial Service Photos

Here is a sampling of photos from Raul's MN memorial service. It was nice to spend some final moments with many of the people who loved and cared for Raul over the final eight months of his life. The memories and cards from those who attended are things I will always hold dear, and they are tucked into his memory box with his ceramic hand print.