Good morning, my boy.
Here we go again. Me trying to take these thoughts crashing together in my head like a storm on the ocean and put them on paper. I'm not a writer. My words don't flow freely. Half the time I don't think they even make sense. Yet, for some reason, I keep getting the answer that my Tuesday letters are necessary, important. So I write.
We're on our 2nd day of summer vacation and the house seems so still and quiet without you here giggling, pestering McKayslin, and running in and out playing. We are having a bit of a tough time adjusting to that. I'm not the "play" type Mom. I'm going to have to work on that. You spoiled McKayslin, you know, with all of the time, love, and attention you gave her. You two are so lucky to be siblings. You both are incredibly amazing kids with so much strength, so much faith, so much love.
Last night Sister Andersen came over and brought McKayslin the cutest little set of monsters. McKayslin immediately named them Bubba and Goose... I think you're the pink and purple stripey monster. :)
It's hard to know how to help her because I don't understand her grief.
Or her grieving process.
I don't understand Dad's either.
Who am I kidding?
Most days I don't even understand my own.
Some days I'm actually almost okay. I can smile. I can talk to people. I don't cry.
But other days, days like today, the tears are just so close to the surface and I know that I'll be crying more often than not. How grateful I am for friends that understand and accept that. It must be hard to be my friend, never knowing when I'm going to be happy and smiling and when I'm going to burst into tears.
Every night my pillow becomes soaked with tears. Sometimes the tears come silently, slipping down my cheeks as I lie awake while Dad and McKayslin sleep. Other times the tears fall faster and I find myself fighting to stay quiet. And other times, the tears come so strong that sobs tear through my body and I gasp for breath. Sometimes the tears only last a few minutes. Other times the tears go on and on until I fall into an exhausted sleep. Every night there are tears. And I don't know what kind of tears they'll be until they come.
Katherine and I were talking last night about this new, strange, uncomfortable place we find ourselves living in. Her grief mirrors mine in so many ways but is so unlike mine in that same amount. We actually had moments of conversation that weren't laced with tears. There's a certain element of comfort for me knowing that Nick was there to greet you home. I hate that Kat has to live without her Nick. That the kids have to live without their Dad. I hate that we have to live without you. We both know that you're close, yet, as Katherine put it, "Sometimes it's just not close enough!" I'm in agreement with that statement. It hurts. It's lonely. It's sad. It's hard.
Pretty sure you guys have set up the Nick and Kenton Ultimate Heavenly Scout Camp! Oh what an adventure you must be having! I have a picture from last June of your big pack we had just purchased sitting in front of the couch with your sleeping pad, your water pack, your new sleeping bag, and all of the other stuff you needed for scout camp. There it sat. Neglected because you were in the hospital. Every time I look at that pack or that picture, I feel sad and angry all at the same time.
I'm angry for you, sad for you that you didn't get to go to camp with Nick and Bob. That you didn't get to go to the BIG scout camp in Island Park. You were so excited about both of those camps.
Yet, I have this unwavering feeling that had you gone to the Island Park camp, instead of being checked into PCMC, you would have been gone a lot sooner because your body was way more sick than we realized. I have to remind myself of that often.
Sometimes I catch glimpses of what it must be like there in Heaven for you. You're doing amazing things there, just as you always did here, my boy. I'm so proud of you!
Saturday and Sunday we went up to take everything off of your grave. The cemetery starts clean-up today and everything we wanted to keep needed to be taken off. There was a lot of love left there for you.
We'll take things back next week when clean-up is over. The cemetery caretakers said that was appropriate. So today, we'll come up and scrub that crazy tree sap off of your headstone. I think I need to make some sort of canopy covering thingie to protect your headstone from all that sap!
Friday, the last day of school, was so different without you here. I kept watching for you to burst through my classroom door to help with all of the littles. I think Liam kept half expecting you to show up also. He's so cute in missing you. When we ask where you are he tells us, "Kenton is walking with Jesus." I love that image. I know it's true. Doesn't make me miss you any less though.
Remember last year when you came to "help" with the Minute to Win It last day craziness? And then you and Cha-Cha drew this picture on my white board easel?
It's still there. I can't bear to erase it.
And then there was the traditional "we survived the school year" dinner and ice cream. These first pictures are from August. You'll never be here physically to do these things with us again. My heart breaks a little more each time we carry through with a tradition. You made us PROMISE to keep doing them. It's important, I know, but oh how it hurts.
Tippets came with us this year. It wasn't quite the same without you there, that's for sure. Having them there (Kylie and Tev are great distractions, lol) did make it easier if that makes sense?!
Last night we went for a bike ride on our "old" bike route. The long one. And my heart broke even more as I remembered back to last year, June 13, when we went for our last bike ride as a family of 4. I was so frustrated with your because you couldn't keep up with us. I thought you were just being lazy. I asked how you were going to keep up with your friends at scout camp if you couldn't even do this bike ride with us. Uuuuuggghh. I don't know when I'll be able to remember that last bike ride without feeling like the worst mother ever.
The next day you were diagnosed with AML. Your red count was super low and your white count was super high. You didn't have enough "red" to run your body - you genuinely could NOT have been able to keep up. Why was I so mean about that last bike ride? Why didn't I know that something was really wrong? Why didn't I choose to be kinder to you? To encourage you? To stay with you as you pedaled slowly along? I hate this memory so much because it hurts.
And now, we find ourselves at Tuesday again. Our first Tuesday of summer vacation. The day stretching before us silent and long.
Thank you for loving me. For forgiving me. For teaching me how to be a better person. I love you son. And miss you way more than I can even explain.
Keep being amazing.
Love you, love you!