May 21, 2013
1 day short of 4 months
Yesterday afternoon I was sitting at my desk in my classroom when a HUGE thunderstorm rolled in. The rain triggered this memory that I shared on your Facebook wall:
about one year ago, on a day just like today, McKayslin and Daddy had
gone to town for McKayslin's gymnastics class. You had stayed home to
do homework and then to play games with Megan during Shannon's piano lesson. You had just been to the orthodontist
to have your braces tightened and your teeth hurt really bad. You
NEEDED a chocolate milkshake from McDonald's. It looked like rain. It
smelled like rain. And we rode our bikes up to get milkshakes anyway.
It started raining like crazy on the way home. We were drenched when
we got home! The downpour that just started outside my classroom window
triggered that memory. What a fun day that was!
One of my most favorite things about you is the way that you just embraced life! We were cold, wet, and laughing after that bike ride. You always could find the best in every day. I so wish I had that gift. This picture is from a totally different time, a Sunday drive up to Rick's Springs. Something made you laugh, and you laughed that whole body laugh that made everyone around you smile. I miss that smile. That laugh. That joy.
This has been another tough week. Sunday night as I was looking through pictures on my phone, all of these words kept marching through my head and pounding in my heart: shattered, old, empty, broken, sad, useless, tired, hurt, unloving, shattered, old, empty, broken, sad, useless, tired, hurt, unloving, shattered, old, empty... the same words over and over and over again. I wonder if good weeks are just around the corner? Or around the corner after that? Or if they will ever even exist again?
Satan works so hard on us. This episode was a mere 48 hours after a beautiful evening at the temple. Mrs. Speth was at the temple on Friday night also. She asked, "Are you holding up, today?" That seems to be a good way to phrase the question...because we're not fine. I don't know when we will be fine. But some days we 'hold up' pretty well. And others, well, others I completely fall apart. Dad, too. And McKayslin. We all miss you so much. And missing you hurts. Badly.
I try to put on a brave face during the day. I try to smile. Sometimes I even have a real genuine smile, fleeting as it may be. How grateful I am for those friends that have stuck with us and understand that we're trying. That our smiles may not be real for a really long time. And they love us anyway.
Each day it seems we lose a "follower" (or two or three) on the TK Facebook page. That's usually when I say again that I'm done writing. Are people tired of our story? Tired of our heartache? We represent every parent's worst fear - losing a child. I get that. Guess what? I don't want to live this story, either.
What I wouldn't give to just have you back. To be struggling through the last 2 weeks of school, balancing homework and baseball games. To be sitting on the metal bleachers at the Hyrum Baseball Fields in the heat or in the rain, watching you play the game you loved best, hearing you cheer for your team, and for the players on the other team that you knew. There's a reason you were voted MVP for your team last season, my boy. To be planning our summer of cooking and playing and camping and being together. To be normal. Instead, McKayslin and I are faced with long empty days in the house that holds so many memories. Shidlers gave McKayslin their swing set yesterday. She is so excited to have it! She's been begging for years to have one of her own. And she's made a new friend in the neighborhood, for which I am incredibly grateful. I really need to clean and organize our house. Living in 3 separate places over 7 1/2 months and then coming back to work so soon after you left, well, our house looks like an audition episode for Hoarders. Wow, nothing like airing our dirty laundry in a public forum, lol. But, then I think about how much you were hurting that last day of your mortal life. And I wouldn't want you to have to live that pain for any longer than you had to. Sometimes I just want to stomp my feet and yell, "Dangit, this isn't fair! Kenton did EVERYTHING they said! Every.little.thing from changes in what he ate, to taking a bazillion huge pills a day, to clinic visits, and transfusions, and IV meds running all night long, to not eating anything at all for over 2 weeks...he followed every rule, he didn't complain, he didn't whine, and yet he didn't get to stay! WHY?! Especially when that kid doesn't follow any of the rules, and HE gets to stay! WHY?!" Nice temper tantrum, huh? It's kind of embarrassing to admit that I feel that way.
The Tee it up with Team Kenton golf scramble was a great success! With all of the incredible support our family has received, we are medical debt free! We couldn't have done this, and continued to take care of our other financial obligations, without so many people working so tirelessly and giving so freely of their time, talents, services, and love on our behalf - starting with the Hyrum 8th ward and all of the meals brought in while I was with you at PCMC, friends taking McKayslin each day so she could enjoy her summer break, Cotton Candy for Kenton, our Lincoln Family jar of love, and continuing from the very first bake sale/yard sale fundraiser, the 4th of July events at Hyrum City, the Hyrum City Youth Council, wagon rides and concessions sold at baseball games, to the Karnival for Kenton, to Kenton's Cup and Spirit Sleeves, and different soccer team donations, to the concert/silent auction/raffle, The Canyon Elementary Angel Tree, The Lincoln Box of Love, hats and t-shirts, so many gifts of financial love at your passing, those who "wish to remain anonymous" that paid for your funeral expenses, and continuing with the quilt raffle and Zumba-thon, hand-crafted scarves, and finally the golf scramble, along with all of the anonymous donations made to our account, bills paid, and money and gifts sent or delivered to our home. We had many people ask, "What can we do to help?" And then we had those that just DID. One huge lesson I've learned through all of this is the importance of always following a prompting to serve, to help, to love. Don't ask. Just do. It's been really hard for us to be on the receiving end of so much help. So much service. We've been humbled time and time again at the sacrifices made for our family.
One night we came home to find pizza gift cards and a box of chocolates on our doorstep. That was the night that we all came back to work/school after your funeral. The thought of going home and cooking was wearing on my heart...and we arrived home to that. Jodi really listened to a prompting that day! I've had treats show up in my classroom at just the time I needed to know someone cared (Kris, Rachel, Heather). And so many other little random acts, cards sent with money or gift cards simply signed "thinking of you with love!", money slipped into our hands by friends and sometimes by strangers, tokens of love for McKayslin, a random text sent at just the right time, a hug, and so many other little (and big!) acts of service that I could never write about them all, that let us know that we're cared for and loved. And in the end, it's not about the money, it's about the love that we feel when someone takes the time to let us know they're thinking of us in whatever way they are able.
Today's the Mountain Man Rendezvous. Your favorite field trip. McKayslin is excited to go. Hopefully they won't get rained out! It looks like a beautiful day!
The thunderstorm yesterday ended with a beautiful double rainbow - both of rainbows being full rainbows. I don't ever recall seeing that before. And then the clouds as the storm passed were incredible!
I was looking for a picture and came across all of the pictures from Christmas. And New Year's Eve. And from your last hospital stay. So many memories. I'm so grateful for the memories. We really did pack a lifetime of memories into 12 years. No big trips. Just good solid living and loving. Lots of traditions. And lots of love.
Tuesday I swear I'm done writing here on the blog, opening my soul to anyone who chances upon your blog. And every Tuesday I get told in no uncertain terms that
my job is to continue to share the healing process that we're going
through. It's interesting that your story has touched so many people.
Some we know and so many that we don't. I do feel that soon my writing will take a turn and become more about my memories and the lessons learned from being your mom, and less about my heartache and sorrow. But that, I don't know for sure. I seems like when I sit down to write, I have an idea of what I want to share and my fingers type out something totally different.
Your headstone should be finished and placed today. That's the goal. Browns and Bells have worked so hard to get it just right and to have it ready for "Kenton Day." It's beautiful. McKayslin took your wishes, added her wishes, and together the two of you created something that is so incredibly perfect. Well, as perfect as a headstone could be, considering what it represents...
Love you, my boy!
And miss you always!
Always, forever, no matter how far...