Saturday, December 1, 2012

Festival of Trees 2012 - Part 2 Jillian's tree

Wow.  So many emotions, so many thoughts, not enough words to articulate.

And holy smokes - a LOT of pictures.

I decided to do a tree a while ago based on some pretty strong inspiration that came to me in a quiet moment in my car.  I knew it was the thing to do, but I was terrified.  I'm SO not crafty.  I have no eye whatsoever for design.  I've been banned (for good reason) from even TOUCHING a hot glue gun.  Scissors?   Only with adult supervision.  The idea of making a beautiful creation worthy of Festival?  Not bloody likely, but I was gonna give it a shot anyway.

After brainstorming with others, prayer and a lot of thought, the ideas came together.
Next was the begging and pleading for help financially and with decorating.  Can I just say that I have the best friends and family a girl can ever be blessed with?  I put out an SOS and I get more responses of aid than I can even imagine!  Specific thank you's to come, but for now - I am deeply grateful.

Once I had the idea of theme and message that I wanted the tree to portray, it was important to find the perfect items.  My Mom and her husband were more than generous financially so off to do the shopping Mom and I went.

We had a fun day of it as we envisioned stuff, laughed at how inept we both are at designing and crafting, but at the end of the day had just about everything we needed.

Barnes and Noble in Jordan Landing donated literally thousands of dollars of product.  So much so, that I couldn't even use it all, but it certainly got put to good use in the gift shop at Festival.

Friends and family chipped in with donations to gather/donate/make items for under the tree and then Splenda Daddy filled in the blanks.

Monday was decorating day.  I got in line at the docks and waited my turn to unload the tree and all the goodies that went with it.

At about 8, my Mom got there with my friend Elaine and we got to work (under Elaine's watchful eye) of decorating.  She gave us good instructions as she wound the ribbon through it knowing she would be leaving and we would be floundering without her.

Tib called, I had her pick up the rest of the items from my house and she made it over as well.  She also then made a run to the dollar store for more items.  Note for future:  You will always need something extra at the last minute- be prepared.  Tib was prepared!

After finishing the ribbon, Elaine had to leave and Tib, me and Mom worked on it.  Before long Tib was back to her family and it was just me and Mom finishing up.    Thankfully, Debbi stopped by often and gave us input and a whole lot of cheerleading!

John made it over, he calculated my receipts, I got the paperwork ready to turn in, and in the next minute I was by myself.  I was waiting to make sure that they had Jill's name right for the tree and that the story would be attached.  While waiting, I just kind of sat under the tree, looked at it, the books, her picture, and breathed a sigh of relief that it had really come together.

Tuesday was "Invitation only" bidding night.  I had some tickets for me, Splenda, Mom and John.  Unfortunately, I woke up in the middle of the night and realized that I had forgotten a couple of things for the tree!  CRAP!   A quick text to Deb and I was able to get in and finish it up in the afternoon before people started to gather.  I was practically alone in the exhibit hall so I took some more time to sit under the tree and let myself cry.  A good cry.  A cry for all the things that could have been.  For sadness and suffering in others.  For Jill and the pain she must have been in.  For all those who love her  who are left behind still grieving and missing her.  More than anything I was crying with hope that my tree would be meaningful and inspiring to someone else.  Even one person would be enough.
Our tree didn't sell that first night.  There were several that didn't.  Not unusual, but I was kind of freaking out.  I felt like it had been priced too high and like a crazy woman starting texting Debbi begging for it to be marked down.  She calmly talked me off the ledge, reminded me that there were plenty of more days, stuff always sell and really I needed to be reminded that the Festival board knows what their doing.  If they felt like the price was right, then it was right.  I felt better.

I went back over on Wednesday and volunteered for a little while making cotton candy.  Have you ever made cotton candy?  I had it in my hair, my eyelashes and brows and all over my clothes.  It was awesome!  I also took the time to look at the tree again, and then to wander all the aisles and see all the things I didn't get to see on bid night.  I am always amazed at not just the creativity of people, but the generosity of their donations.

Thursday I went back in the evening and just checked to see if the tree had sold and chatted with some friends.  Showed Tuffy and Montana

 Did some more wandering and people watching.  More than anything I love just being there and soaking in the wonderful spirit that is there year after year at Festival.
My friend Wendy giving it the thumbs up

Ann took a beautiful pic

Kim and Brian's kids - whom I love!

Friday, Luke and Mindy were volunteering so I went back after work and showed them the tree as well as a few other favorite and meaningful ones.

And then......  That was it.  I had to leave.

I can't even explain what it felt like to leave the tree for the last time.  Such a sad, sad thing for me.  Was it because it hadn't been sold so I didn't know what was going to happen to my little friend?  Was it just because I had put so much of myself into it and I felt like I was losing it?  I don't know.  But I cried on the way home.  This time for myself.  I felt like I had said goodbye forever to a friend that had offered me solace.  The tree had given me some peace and I was leaving it.  Tears indeed.

I want to thank everyone who has been so damn supportive!  My family, friends either IRL or FB or blog.....I seriously have the best circle of people ever!

Mom and John - Mom, this was a fun thing to do together.  I loved it.  I enjoyed spending the time with you and our talks.  John - thanks for your generosity.  You are a gem of a man and a huge blessing to our family.
Tiburon - Pier One is now my favorite store and your solid shoulder to bemoan on is forever appreciated.
Natalie and Alan Peterson
Carina Both
Wendy Purnell
Tammy Mackintosh
Kim and Roger Henderson
Elaine Senior
Laurie Jacobsen
Kelley Severinson
Robyn Anderson
The Greene Family
Debbie Dewitt
Corb, Kar, Chloee, Luke, Preston and Montana for the family support

and to every other single person who encouraged me on this journey.  From giving me ideas, to cheering me on, to going to Festival and taking pictures of it - every gesture has been much appreciated.  In fact, when I really put it all out there, all of you have done for me, what I was hoping to inspire out of our tree  "The Light of an Angel"

This is the story that was typed and placed on the back of the placard for people to read as they looked at the tree:

On Christmas Eve 2010, our beloved Jillian ended her life leaving behind a beautiful 3 year old daughter as well as many grieving family members and friends.

Over the past 2 years, there has been much thought, reflection, and even research into how we can help others who find themselves in that dark, smothering abyss that we call suicidal thoughts and feelings.

Each of us can have an effect of light to battle that darkness.  Each of us can be “angels of light” with our words of encouragement, love, friendship and support to someone in a dark and seemingly hopeless place.

Jill always kept a journal and particularly loved reading books with her daughter.  Reading with a child is a simple act of love.  We have included many of their favorites

The tree represents light, love and awareness for those who are struggling with the darkness and hopelessness of suicide.

The numerous angels remind us of the daily opportunities we have to lift others around us.  The yellow awareness ribbons alert us to the fact that many are suffering and need our love.  The Angel atop the tree holding the heart survivor ribbon represents Jill and her incredible daughter Chloee.

Our hope is that as you pass by the tree, you will feel a prompting to take a minute and in your own way be an “angel of light” to someone in your life’s path.

We dedicate this tree will all our love to our beautiful Jillian Renee Dunn.

The Catmull Family & Friends

A few minutes ago as I was getting this post all done and ready to publish, I got the exciting text "THE TREE HAS SOLD!"  And then I started getting another one and another one as the news hit Facebook.  That completed the experience full circle.  Someone felt inspired/touched/whatever enough to spend his money purchasing a complete act of love while benefiting hundreds of children at PCMC.
Kim sent me the last picture

I don't know who purchased it.  When it says Friends of Festival, they generally like to remain anonymous.   I don't know what prompted him to do so, nor will it eventually will end up.  And none of that matters.  Instead, I feel a completion of doing something FOR Jill to show her how much she was loved and is missed. And hoping that each of us will remember to find a way to be "a light of an angel"

Merry Christmas Jill


18 comments: said...

Mcat, this is beautiful! Not only the tree, but the message with it is expressed so well by you.
You are my hero.

WhiteMan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
i (is undefined) said...

You, ma'am, are an angel.

i (is undefined) said...

You, ma'am, are an angel.

Jamie said...

A true act of love and a sweet, amazing tribute to Jill.Just beautiful.

Samad Shahid said...

Top PTC Paying Site Ever. Earn Money on without investment for just clicking websites Earning)

" Hit It......." said...

I am totally crying. This tree symbolized so much for you. Your letter about Jill was so touching.

btw - The tree was beautiful. Don't undersell yourself. I am so proud of you!

Pedaling said...

a true labor of love.
service in action!
it is beautiful and with such emotion intertwined in each of these trees you cannot help but feel the spirit they were made by.
nice job to you and all the helpers!

Kati said...


Not a day goes by that I don't think about Jill. I am forever changed by knowing her.

I'm so glad to know you guys still have her in your hearts and that Chloe will know what a sweet Mommy Jill was.

Valerie said...

The tree turned out just beautiful!

I love Festival~ need to add it back in to my "must do's" for the Christmas season.

Kristin Klein said...

What a beautiful tree, truly a work of art and so precious knowing so many loving hands were involved. Wish I had known you were there opening night - would have stopped by to say hello. I remember your lovely tree and I'm so happy it sold. I'm always inspired by the many beautiful donations representing hours and hours of time. And also by the many individuals and business who make the purchases to benefit PCMC. Way to go - you totally rock! :)


Loralee and the gang... said...

Beautiful tree, beautiful sentiments. You are beautiful, inside and out!

ali raza said...

Find Hot Girls, Latest Beautiful hot picture of Girls, Desi Girls and Top Bollywood Actress

tammy said...

You did an amazing job. You should be proud. And hopefully you've found a little more peace in your heart. I know Jill wouldn't want you to be sad, but to carry on being the best G-ma to Chloee, and helping her to know how much she loves her.

Natalie said...

How did I finally just read this? Very inspiring! Your tree was so beautiful. We spent a lot of time by the tree and so did a lot of people around us. I think honoring Jill is so loving and kind. It is something Chloee will always be able to look back on and remember. Good job M Cat!!! We are proud to call you family (as always)!

tahir sumar said...

Most Popular and Famous Vehicles, Latest Speed Cars, Sports Cars Info and Pictures.

muhammad ibraheem said...

Best Beautiful Cars, Latest Hot Vehicles, Strange Cars, Super Cars Model, Funny Cars, Car Latest Models, Cars with Girls, Cars like helicopter and Most Speed and Expensive Cars

muhammad ibraheem said...

Social Media Marketing is a very easy way for Marketing and Advertising, Now you can Get Facebook Likes, Twitter Followers, Favorites, Youtube Views,Subscribes,Likes, Google Plus Followers, Stumbleupon Followers, Digg Followers, Websites Visitors and Much More.
Just Visit the Website and Start Promoting now without any Charges