May 28, 2013
Good morning my handsome boy!
It's Tuesday again. The last Tuesday of this school year. 17 days away from the anniversary of your diagnosis date. 126 days since we last heard your voice, saw your smile, held your hand, or hugged you. To say I'm kind of a mess is a bit of an understatement.
Last week I was driving home from school by myself - Dad had McKayslin because I'd stayed late to work on getting some things caught up, you know how May is. I came home on Main Street instead of coming up Center. The cemetery is on Main. As I approached the cemetery, tears started sliding down my cheeks. Happens all the time. But this time I caught myself feeling cheated, for lack of a better word, out of the time the doctors said we had left with you. When they told us of the frank relapse it was with a timeline of a few months, 3-4 months. Now, I KNOW that they don't know everything, but we really had our hearts fastened on those months to get to say good-bye, to make more memories. So, I'm driving down Main Street, tears slipping down my cheeks, falling more rapidly the closer I came to the cemetery, and I was asking you WHY you left so early. I was actually a little angry. I'm selfish - we've talked about that before. And then I felt this calm, and felt you urging me to understand that it was partially your choice to leave so soon. You hurt. You hadn't eaten in over 2 weeks. Your body was tired. Your spirit was trapped in a body that was broken. You wanted to stay but you knew because of the condition of your body that you wouldn't be able to do the things we'd talked about doing. You were concerned, as you always have been, with us more than you were yourself. You didn't want us to remember you as being so sick. You wanted us to remember the Kenton that only slowed down when he was asleep. The Kenton that was so full of life and energy that everyone was drawn to him because he just knew what life was all about. You didn't want us to feel resentment at lost time, or to become angry with the way that last time with you was spent. You knew where you were going when you died, and you weren't afraid. You always have been one to see the bigger picture. Thank you for helping me understand.
Be thou humble in thy weakness, and the Lord thy God shall lead thee, Shall lead thee by the hand and give thee answer to thy prayers. Be thou humble in thy pleading, and the Lord thy God shall bless thee, Shall bless thee with a sweet and calm assurance that he cares.
Your Goosey Girl misses you. She cries in loneliness, in sadness, in heartache. You are the best big brother any little girl could wish for!
With summer approaching, she's feeling, even more than normal, your absence. Please keep her close. Let her know you're still there. Dad and I are doing our best to help her. It's hard to help someone through their grief when you're still so unsure how to get through your own.
Yesterday we had dinner with Bishop's family and the priests from the ward. Those big boys that you love so much - Bishop, CJ, and Mitch in particular. It was a fun night. Easy conversation. Delicious food. I have such a tender spot in my heart for CJ and Mitch. They're such good boys. (They're going to hate me for saying that!). Every Sunday as they would come into our home to bring the sacrament, they came with such reverence, such respect, and such love. They would prepare and bless the sacrament, and then you would pass it to our family. There was always such a strong spirit here during those times. I'm forever grateful for their example, for their faith, and for their willingness to serve our family in such a personal way.
As we were leaving, Kristy handed Dad a letter. I read it in the car on the way home. I shouldn't have, because I hadn't cried yesterday! With Bishop's permission, I'm going to share part of it...
I don't know if it is because of the date or maybe it's just the time of the year, the time when your lives changed forever, but I am remembering with intensity a great kid, a boy who smiled and brightened the area all around him. He had a gift for making everyone feel happy and good about life. Maybe he really got it, how precious each of our days are, maybe he knew that he had just a short time to help us all smile a little more and to be happy and to really know that everything will be okay. I wonder why he had to leave so soon because we still need that, a smile that says to our mind and our hearts that life is precious and it's going to be okay. I guess I know those things still, but it was just easier when Kenton was here and I miss him. Nobody laughed/giggled quite like him and I have never seen a kid march as he walked with such purpose. I have asked myself and God what I was supposed to learn from such a young teacher and Ii think that it is pretty simple - be happy come what may. I am not sure how he did that or your guys either for that matter, it makes me feel weak and sort of infantile in what I really understand. Kenton got it and I believe that you guys get it too. I think that you have all experienced something beyond what we all understand as sacred, it would be more like something divine and precious, but those things are experienced only at the expense of intense suffering and lots of tears...
I have asked the Lord to have His spirit comfort you and I think he has answered my prayers and the prayers of a lot of others too. Hopefully it has helped a little bit, and maybe in time you will understand how much we love each one of you and that we miss him too.
So please keep being patient with us in our efforts to show you that we love you - we are not experts, but in our minds eye there is this smiling kid that is helping us all try to keep at this thing called life...
I have no idea what Kenton is doing right now but whatever it is I know he is telling whoever he is around about his cool little sister and his great mom and dad, maybe he even gets to show you guys off.
I know he is proud of you and wants you to be happy - I can't even picture the kid without a smile, how he loves you...and must miss you too, and he has got to be elated to know now, not just believe, but to KNOW that families are forever!
...because of Kenton we love our kids a little more freely and with maybe a little more understanding that every day is a gift and we will never regret loving and caring for those closest to us. You are close to our hearts and we love you very much.
Be thou humble in thy calling, and the Lord thy God shall teach thee to serve his children gladly with a pure and gently love.
Yesterday was Memorial Day. We have been up to the cemetery nearly every day since Tuesday. Each day there are a few more flowers, a few more tokens of love, a few more messages in the book we left there.
Your headstone is truly remarkable.
You are very loved. We miss you, and so do many others.
You did well, son, at this thing called life. You set a high bar for those of us that know and love you.
Just like Bishop said... Maybe he really got it, how precious each of our days are, maybe he knew that he had just a short time to help us all smile a little more and to be happy and to really know that everything will be okay.
I know you really got it. You always have. Even from the time you were a little boy. Unrestrained, unconditional love, patience, faith, forgiveness, and joy in living.
Be thou humble in thy longing, and the Lord thy God shall take thee, Shall take thee home at last to ever dwell with him above. (Grietje Terburg Rowley)
Love you, love you, handsome!
Thanks for being awesome!