I apologize for the radio (er, website?) silence over the past few weeks.
All of our volunteers at Capes and Crowns love what we do, otherwise we wouldn't be doing it. I have actually put a hault on my own business and will be focusing on Capes and Crowns from here on out simply because I love it so much.
But sometimes, I think it's easy for us to forget that we have to deal with the emotional side of things, too. That we need to cope in our own ways as well and sometimes step back for a day or two to really just feel everything and remember just why we are doing what we are.
We get to know these children, often times the circumstances are tough to think about, and they make an impact on us forever. Their fighting spirits are nothing short of inspirational, and teach us so much about our own lives.
It was just 46 days ago that Kylie and I were on a flight to California on a few hours notice. We were exhausted as neither of us really slept that night, but we were determined to make sure that we got photos for Arden and her family.
4 weeks ago Wednesday was Arden's Moana session where we surprised her with an entire Hawaiian (excuse me, Montinuian...?) experience, and it was put together with the help of some amazing people.
On Sunday, July 9th, I got a call from my friend in the afternoon telling me that Arden had gone to Heaven and was no longer in pain.
Tears overtook me as in just this short time of knowing her, Arden made such an impact on me. She taught me so much about life, and she doesn't even know she did.
Her service was held on Monday, July 17th. It was a beautiful service at the ReSound Church in Hillsboro. Pictures of a smiling, spunky little girl lined the walls, and little blue hearts were available with a request to write how Arden changed the life of you and those around you. To see so many people, even people that had never met Arden, touched by this 7 year old little girl was just amazing.
When I opened the doors to the auditorium, I noticed all of the little touches that were around me everywhere. The programs featured a beautiful photo that a family friend of theirs took during Arden's Make a Wish trip to the coast on Father's Day. Gorgeous flowers were so fragrant and gave a peaceful atmosphere to the room.
As I walked towards the center of the auditorium stage where the band was practicing their play list, a table was being set up with an assortment of things that Arden loved, mainly things having to do with the ocean and Hawaii. A beautiful lei adorned the table along with some of Arden's shells and her favorite stuffed bunny.
Soon after her table was set up, her 5 siblings came in to unpack all of Arden's stuffed animals to line the stage.
When it came time for everyone to be seated, it was standing room only. Every single seat was taken, and a number of people wound up having to stand. In her 7 short years on Earth, Arden very obviously made an impact on many, many lives. Including those who were unable to make the ceremony.
After their pastor's group prayer, the church band (which Arden's Dad, Jimmy, is actually a part of) played a wonderful set list that had everyone on their feet dancing and celebrating her life.
Following the band, began the family dedications. Jimmy and Pearcia spoke first and their speech filled the room with tears, as well as laughter remembering some of the wonderful times that they had with their little girl.
As the dedications continued, so did the tears, with plenty of laughter as well. Arden was very clearly a spunky, sassy little 7 year old girl who knew exactly what she wanted and wasn't afraid to be herself. Even in the short time I knew her, and having only seen her when she was in the hospital or hospice, it was very obvious that Arden remained to be herself throughout all of her trials in life.
When the service had ended, children (and parents of children) were instructed to each take a stuffed animal from the stage so that our homes would always have some memory of Arden. I took a stuffed bear for my oldest daughter, and she has not let go of it since I gave it to her on Tuesday.
We felt so honored to have been able to be a part of Arden's service in this small way, and to be a part of her life as well. Pearcia, Jimmy, and the rest of the Bogroff family are the most welcoming, caring people that you will ever meet and every single one of the Bogroff kids exudes that same loving personality.
Although Arden is no longer with us, I know I speak for the whole Capes and Crowns team when I say that we will never forget that spunky little girl and her sweet sass.
Thank you, Bogroff family, for sharing these precious memories with us.