Help Us Get Home
Organized by: Bill Bradfield
My daughters were 9 (Vivian Rose) and 6 (Bella Marie) when their mother (Lisa Marie) passed away at the age of 29 in 2008. We had been divorced for a couple of years, but still considered each other friends. I considered her more. She had given birth to her third daughter just 3 months before her death. The autopsy never conclusively confirmed a root cause, but we suspect her Sudden Cardiac Arrest may have resulted from the stress of having gone back to work as a Paramedic Supervisor so soon after her third pregnancy. She was on duty at the time. After some time to reflect on the way our lives had changed as a result of her passing, I felt that Vivian, Bella, and I needed a new start. Our hometown of Lansing, Michigan seemed to offer not much more than reminders of Lisa's absence. After considering our options, we chose to relocate to Melbourne, Florida. Lisa grew up in Oviedo, a small town not far from us. I thought that raising our daughters in the same general location as their mother's hometown, but far away from any daily reminders of her absence would help them feel closer to her in some way. I was wrong. We've been down here for nearly 5 years, and the only result is that Vivian, Bella, and their family have been robbed of precious time, laughter, and memories. Outside of the kind of husband I was, moving us down here is the great regret of my life. My kids need positive, inspirational, adult role models...especially strong women. They have them in Michigan. Although they've both always received straight A's on their report cards...except for one B+ Vivian got in math in 7th grade...they're now dealing with more complicated issues. Viv is currently in 9th grade, and starting to date occasionally. Some of her friends date regularly. Some are no longer virgins. Bella starts 7th grade next year. Everyone knows how hard those years can be, especially on girls. They need the kind of voice of experience which I cannot provide, no matter how strong my love for them. They're missing a woman's wisdom and perspective. And that's why we've made the decision to move back. Based on the car repairs I'll need for such a long trip, plus all of the other costs associated with moving and finding a new place to live, I've calculated about 8 or 9 thousand dollars in expenses. I settled on $8888 because Vivian was born on the 8th of July, and also because the number 8 represents infinity, which was a concept I used to try to offer some kind of comfort when informing her and her sister of their mother's death. Being as young as they were, I attempted to explain life and death using the language and images found in the Disney films "Brother Bear", and "The Lion King". Both films stress the immortal, or infinite nature of the spirit. So, in the 'spirit' of acknowledging and honoring the 'circle of life' and infinity themes which got me through the most difficult conversation I've ever had with my daughters, the fundraiser is basically this: Vivian and Bella will use their iPhone 4s's to record and upload daily video clips which will detail their thoughts and feelings about leaving the friends and home they've known for almost 5 years, and returning to the home of their birth and family. I hope their stories are compelling enough to help us get there. Thanks for your time and consideration.