Tuesday, April 16, 2013

{April 16, 2013} [12 weeks]

April 16, 2103

Dear Kenton,

Hey buddy!  I miss you!  We all miss you!  Hope you've had a good week.  We love the sunshine smiles that you send.  We love you!

This morning my thoughts are all over the place.  I know, right?!  Me?!  All over the place?!  ;)  Stop laughing!  No, don't stop laughing - sometimes I hear your laugh in my head (that makes me sound about a few kinds of crazy) and it makes me smile.  Your smile, your laugh, your hugs...I miss those.  I miss finding little sheets of paper all over the house with horses drawn on them.  I miss the notes in my scriptures, in my school bag, on my white board when you'd come to help with centers. I miss going to do something and finding it already done with a little "love you!" note left behind.  I miss hearing you (grumbling) and practicing the piano.  I miss hearing you sing your favorite songs.  I miss making you breakfast every morning.  Um, I think I'm missing you a lot.  Your bus is just about to drive by.  Most mornings I try to be where I can't hear the bus.  I still hear it.  Some days it doesn't bother me.  Today, I don't think, is one of those days.

The other day I was thinking back to the day we brought you home for the final time...January 20.  After all of the excitement of the escort through the canyon, the hero's welcome into Hyrum, and trying to figure out where we all were going to sleep, you and McKayslin were both so hungry.  It was Sunday.  We had food in the house, but most of it would need to be cooked.  Except there was a pizza lunchable in the fridge.  You said that sounded good, so I opened it and you told me you would make your own pizza so Daddy and I could work on getting the living room cleaned out so we could all go to sleep in there.  I wish I would have taken a picture of you just then.  You fixed one of the pizzas for yourself.  And then you silently and carefully worked to fix the other two for McKayslin.  You knew exactly how she liked them.  And when you had them ready, you called to her, handed her the plate, and you both ate.  Those kinds of moments are etched in my heart.  You spoiled your little sister, you know, by being the best big brother ever.  One of my favorite things is hearing her play with her friends and hearing them all talk about you with such fun memories.  Thanks for always making sure she knew you loved her.  You still do that for her.  I'm so grateful for that.  It's been a hard couple of weeks for her.  Stay close to her.

The wind is blowing this morning and it's a grey and cloudy day.  Probably going to get some rain.  Or some snow.  Every time the wind blows, I hear your bird feeder that you made at scouts rattling in the tree.  That was one of the last things we did before your diagnosis - fill and hang your bird feeder.  We loved watching the birds gather to eat.  Part of me wants to take it down and save it in some special place where it won't be ruined by the weather.  But I know that wouldn't make you, or me, any happier than seeing it filled each spring and watching the birds come visit.  Our little red finch is back. He was out on the trampoline frame the other day.

One of the things that's been on my mind a lot over the past week (really over the past 12 weeks and then even a little longer than that) is the question Teri asked in the letter she wrote you, "...and why no miracle."  At the very beginning of your battle, Daddy and I (and everyone else we've talked to) all felt like you were going to be just fine.  That this was just a trial that you'd take head on, like you did everything else, and then, come January, after the trial, everything would be fine (this is what I think is super interesting - I always felt that come January you'd be fine).  Keep that thought in mind for a minute...

You see, I'm pretty selfish.  You already know that.  ;)  From the day you were born, you were MY boy.  We had so many of the same traits.  So many of the same talents.  So many of the same likes.  We were pretty inseparable.  You cooked with me, you shopped with me, you crafted with me.  McKayslin has always been more like Daddy.  Even on our Saturday morning adventures, you would always opt to come with me to the craft store, while McKayslin would choose to go with Daddy to the DI (weirdos, lol).  Upon diagnosis at Logan Regional, there wasn't even a question who would ride with you in the ambulance or who would stay with you at the hospital.  It was just a given that it would be me.  Throughout June and July (round 1), I stayed with you constantly except to come home, repack, and return on a Saturday while Daddy and McKayslin stayed with you.

When you were home in July and August, McKayslin would often be off with friends and Dad was at work, so you and I would hang out here and watch movies and play games and read and just enjoy being together.  The first time I left you for an extended time was the middle of August when I had to come home to get ready for the school year.  It hurt my heart so deeply to leave you there.  I knew Dad would take good care of you...but it was MY job.  I am your mom.  (Selfish me, I know).

You came home on the first day of school and we had grand celebrations.  In September, I had to let you return to SLC with Dad.  It was going to be over 100 days before you'd get to come home again.  I'd only see you on weekends.  (See how I didn't even think about this affecting McKayslin  or Dad, only how it would affect me - I'm working on being less selfish, I promise!).

What I learned over the next few months (September - December) is that McKayslin and I, while we loved each other, didn't really have the kind of relationship that I thought we did.  Neither did you and Dad.  Those months of us living in three separate places (home, kid jail, and the halfway house) gave us the opportunity to develop good strong relationships on all fronts.  You and I (even though we would butt heads OFTEN because of our super strong personalities) already had a good strong relationship.  Dad and McKayslin already had a good strong relationship.  You and McKayslin already had a good strong relationship.  Dad and I already had a good strong relationship.  But what was missing was the relationship between McKayslin and I and the one between you and Dad.  During the months of September - December, we had the opportunity to develop those relationships that were missing.

Don't get me wrong, I still missed you.  So much.  I also knew that this was a gift our family had been given.  Time to build and heal relationships.  That's why no miracle.  Heavenly Father had a different plan for you, but because He loves us so deeply, He gave us the gift of time.

In December we first heard those horrible words preliminary relapse.  I still felt like, come January, you'd be fine.  We made the most of every weekend together - you and I would often go out shopping or hang out watching movies or reading while Daddy and McKayslin went places together.

You finally got to come home in January.  FINALLY.  And we hoped this would be the start of the come January Kenton will be fine.  You were home for TWO days.  That Saturday, Dad and McKayslin went home to pack up the halfway house.  You and I were here together, but you were sick.  Very sick.  So tired.  Most of the day I just held you on the couch and we watched movies or you slept.  That night you were readmitted to PCMC.

That Thursday the doctors told us you were in frank relapse.  Friday we were told that further treatment held very little hope.  We had to make the decision to attempt treatment or allow you to go.  One day I'll have the strength to write about that Friday with all of the blessings that happened on that day.  Today is not that day.  

In my heart I was crying (okay, you remember I was crying for reals too - all the time, we all were) saying, "But it's January - he's supposed to be fine!  That's what I've felt since June!"  And then a quiet voice came to me and said, "He will be fine.  He'll be a better fine than here on earth."  

January 20 we brought you home, hoping for 3-4 months of time...that's what the doctors said.  We had plans to do so many things.  There were other plans for you.  2 days later, you stepped into eternity.  Sometimes I wish I hadn't told you it was okay for you to go.  And then I realize I'm being selfish again.  That last day you were in so much pain.  And your body was working so hard.  Then I realize you would have stayed until I was ready to let you go.  That wouldn't have been fair to you.

Come January, Kenton will be fine.

We had to say good-bye to you 12 weeks ago today.  Good-bye to your earthly body.  You're still stuck with us forever, little dude!  ;)

Remember how much we love you, k?  Keep bringing us sunshine smiles and letting us hear your giggle.  Work hard.  You're doing great things, my friend, and I am so very proud of you and so grateful to be your mom.  I must have done something right to have ended up with THIS eternal family...

Lots of Love, Big Squishes, and Extra Kisses!

Have a great week...

Love always,


Kat said...

Thanks for being willing to share your heartache and grief, Deb. In some strange way it makes my own grief feel more normal, more bearable. Tomorrow is 14 weeks for our family. I still like to picture the two of them together ;) Love you!

MilliontoOne said...

Thanks for sharing. Kenton is so lucky to have a mom like you. There is a grief support group in SLC called caring connections where people share similar stories to help others deal with their grief. It is very healing for others to hear others express what they are going through. Just a thought. I know this hasn't been easy. We think about you often and our prayers are with you. We just found out yesterday that one of our dear friends has been diagnosed with hodgkins lymphoma. Our prayers go out to her as well today. We love you and your sweet family.