Tuesday, May 21, 2013

[May 21, 2013]

May 21, 2013
17 weeks
1 day short of 4 months

Hey buddy. 

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:

Just 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.

Every 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...



TheJohn & Jolene Mortensen Family said...

I love reading your blog! I feel I know Kenton and your family well. My heart still aches for you, but you are a great example to everyone. So, of course you have to continue writing!!! It helps us heal too in other ways. Thanks again!!

The Hafen's said...

You and your family do not know me and mine, however we live rather close to you. I am a young mother of two and whenever I feel like I just want to give up, I remember your story. Every single time I read a new blog post it encourages me to cherish the little moments I spend with my kids and look forward to being home with them. We are truly blessed to have whatever time the Lord grants us. Even with the fake smiles, dirty house, and those down right bad days, I want you to know that you are my hero. Keep on writing.

Nikki Lowe said...

You are so amazing!!! I can not even begin to imagine the pain that comes from losing,a child. My brother did when I was nine, it was thirty years ago yesterday. The only thing that makes loss bearable is our knowledge of the plan. Keep up the great and,inspiring words.
Nikki lowe

6.pac.mom said...

I wasn't sure I want to share this but I feel the need for some reason. Last week one of the days that the kids were over jumping with Goose and then ended up over here just like the 'old normal'. It felt so normal in fact that for half a second, I forgot that Kenton was gone. Then reality set in and I started to cry. T came in about that time and asked what was wrong, I told him I just missed Bubba. He looked up at me and said, " but he's playing with us." It was so matter of fact and because I had forgotten for that half a second, I realized that he probably was out playing. And we just felt his presence extra strong at that moment. The other time I feel him is every day at 2:35 when the Willow Valley bus comes. He was here at least once a week because of a forgotten key or freaked out phone. I loved that he loved us enough to come over and he never thought he was bothering us (he never was). This morning I was up early enough to hear the morning bus and I remembered that it was Tuesday. I spent a long time just thinking about Kenton and how lucky we were to know him. I am sooo very happy that you guys moved in next door to us and we were able to share Kenton's short earthly mission. He was and is a very special kid!

luckeyfrog said...

Sometimes I used to get so jealous of other kids whose dads were still around. (Mine had a healthy physical, and then about 2 weeks later on my last day of 5th grade, died suddenly of a heart attack.)

But I finally had this epiphany. God wanted him there so much that he just couldn't wait anymore- and I think that's what happened with Kenton. God wanted him there, and saw how this kid who SO many loved could help draw others closer to him through this. And yeah, it's awful- but God worked through Kenton in amazing ways, and he's working through all of you, too.

I will completely understand when you don't need or want to write a Tuesday letter anymore- but for now, know that my heart all the way out here in Indiana is touched every time. Hearing someone else go through grief and even admitting those terrible thoughts that EVERYONE goes through- well, it helps me. My dad died in 1998, but I'm still grieving in some ways, and it helps to know that I'm not alone.

I think for my family, the first year was the hardest, because we kept hitting holidays and traditions and "last year" reminders all over the place. And it hasn't been easy since, but it did get easier after that point, and I know it will for you, too.

Hang in there. Sometimes that's all you can do- but it's enough.


Stevie said...

Sincerely, please don't stop your writing.. I don't have the words to explain why I ask for that or why I'm writing this message. I'm just a stranger, I know. I follow your blog often though... I am truly sorry for your sorrow. What you are writing is not redundant or annoying, I hope you don't feel that way! You are going through so much and people care about your feelings and writings. I do. Every week.
You aren't airing dirty laundry either. This is life. You are an amazing person for saying these things out loud. You are giving others the courage to express their pain and teaching them to heal. Please don't stop writing. I pray for your family often. Sincerely, Stevie

Trina Christensen said...

:) Yup! Prayers and Hugs! Love you :)