About Me

Kathryn Bradley was born on 2/5/91 and given a Hawaiian name Kahiwalani meaning "Gift From Heaven" She has been a special gift from the day she was born.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

All Ready for the first day of school 8-30-12

All Ready for the first day of school 8-30-12

Today was our staff training day.  We did some good things today.  We actually discussed and really thought about and worked on how the new teacher evaluation might be.  They are changing next year.  But again as I talked about being more relaxed well that is just it.  I’m not worried about the new evaluations.  I do my job, work hard to do the best that I can and sincerely care about my students and with that I can relax.

We also had students come in as we have before.  We asked them questions one on one and shared our answers too.  It was great!  The kids really like talking to us and getting to know us.  They wanted more.  Most people always say sorry or your brave when I tell them I work as a teacher in a junior high.  They have it all wrong.  Kids are great!  They have energy and spirit.  They keep us young and alive.  They teach us things too.  This is one reason it will be good for me to go back to school.  That reason is the kids.  Well my staff is amazing too and I enjoy sharing time with them too.

I also found my calendar that Kathryn made. It was put away in the closet to be safe.  I was so happy to have found it. 

Tonight I was going through facebook and came across my friends post.  She shared a blog that was actually a video from the author of “One Thousand Gifts.”  It was so perfect.  It’s about cherishing your moments in life.  Your life and the life of those your love are gifts.  The time we have here is a gift.  Those moments as simple as they may seem are gifts.  A walk in the park and camping trip special and should not be rushed.  Don’t rush your life.  Savor every moment and even the simple ones for some of the simple ones are the ones that we miss the most when they are gone.  I had so many simple but special moments with Kathryn.  I did treasure them but then again sometimes life was busy.  I tired to always be there and not do something if it meant not spending time that I could have with my children.  Especially in the last two years.  I would not go skiing if Kathryn or Richard would be home.  I would no give up a moment with them for anything.  I still do that with Richard. I always do what I can to create more time with him.  He has life all figured out in this way.  He knows that time with friends and family is the most important thing in the world.  He knows that there is no rush to get this career going.  He knows that once you start being that adult and having that career you lose some of those special times because your time becomes more limited.  Limited in the way that you have to spend more time at work and less time with friends and family.  He has taken a lot of time off and had to drop several classes to be with his sister.  He knew time with her was well worth it.  It didn’t matter if he spent an extra year or maybe an extra two years in school.  His time was going to be spent with the one he loved.  The one he knew needed him.  The one he would do anything for.  He gave a big part of his life to Kathryn because she was a big part of his life.  He also took time when Kathryn was well to enjoy his skiing while he was young and his body was able.  He took a few winter quarters off to ski.  Scott and I both agreed that there was no rush and that he should enjoy the thing that he loves to do as much as he can while he is young.
So I guess I’m saying “Take time to smell the Roses.”  Slow your life down.  There is no need to rush and miss those simple but precious moments.  Savor the time that you share with others. 

I thought this morning of how lucky I am.  I have so much support.  There are so many people who love me and my family.  I’m also so lucky to have had Kathryn at all.  I could have been told that I could never have children.  That could have easily been the case for me.  That is my female history.  But I was given the gift of motherhood.  Twice!  Even though I would have loved to see Kathryn graduate from college, start her career, get married, have beautiful babies and grow in life I am lucky to have had a daughter that was so very special.  I’m so lucky to have had a daughter who learned to love so unconditionally, to want to share her love and happiness. 

I was also thinking about her today and about her favorite things.  Someone had asked what her favorite flower was.  I said she didn’t have one.  She had such a great appreciation for all things, the beauty of this Earth, the wonderful animals and great people God created there is no way she could pick a favorite flower.  She did have a favorite color.  When she was young it was purple, then in late elementary or middle school she had green as her favorite color and then it was blue.  Her blue was the same shade of blue that was and has been for a long time my favorite color.  We had a lot in common.  It also liked purple when I was young. I also had green as one of my favorite colors too.  But settled on Blue.  The color of blue of her dinosaur costume.  That blue green color but if you find in the crayon box I think it is called green/blue.

I also received an email from the lady from the American Cancer Society who was in charge of the wine auction for Camp Goodtimes.  There were some good photos of Kathryn and I have included a couple here.  I also included one with me infront of the Arts and Crafts shed at Camp Goodtimes so you can see the sign with Kathryn’s name on it.  If you donated to Camp Goodtimes in through us and Kathryn you are the reason the arts and crafts shed was dedicated to Kathryn.  We will continue the donations to keep this going.  Thank you to all of you.

Good night

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Back to Work 8-28-12

Back to Work 8-28-12

So yesterday was Tuesday the 28th and my first day back to work.  My last day was October 12th 2011.  It’s been a long time.  Tuesday was a tech training day.  Our grading program and attendance program have changed.  It’s not so bad.  At least I’m learning with everyone at the same time.  It would have been a real bummer if they got the new program last year and I came back this year to a new program and no training.  

On my way to school I called my Mom to make sure she knew I hadn’t forgotten her anniversary.  I didn’t call the day before (the real anniversary date) because I didn’t want to call at the early or late hour that I was thinking about it.  It would have been 57 years for my Mom and Dad.  She shared with me a dream she had about Kathryn.  She said it was so clear and Kathryn’s words were so clear.  I’m glad that she had such a nice dream with Kathryn.  One of my coworkers asked me about me dreaming or feeling Kathryn’s presence.  I said I haven’t felt her presence or smelt that sweet smell for a long time now.  I have had only a couple of dreams with Kathryn in them.  It disappoints me.  But he said I should be happy.  He said that means that she is busy doing what she needs to be doing and exploring and her spirit is here.  He made me feel a bit better.  He said can’t you just see her being busy and helping and doing new things and having a good time?  I had to agree that Kathryn would be so interested in her new life and finding out new things and helping others that she would be very busy.  It is her nature to keep moving and doing.  Both of my children are like that.  They would never not be involved.  So I try to think in this way.  It helps.  I have prayed though that God would talk to me.  I want to know if Kathryn is truly happy and doing great things.  I want to know that she is ok not being here on his beautiful Earth.  She loved life so much and appreciated the beauty of this Earth.  I just want to know these things and why she was taken from me.  His answer to my friend that her duty was short is just not enough.  What was her duty? That would be nice to know.  Maybe if I ask enough times I will get some answers from him.  I sure would like to know a bit more. 

It was nice to be at the training and I felt so loved and welcome.  Everyone is so kind.  It makes all of this a bit easier.  I actually think coming back to work will do me good.  I will be very busy and this will keep my mind busy so I have less time to dwell on my loss. 

I went out to lunch with a few staff members and one dear friend bought my lunch for my birthday.  Thank You!

Today was Wednesday the 29th and it was Cougar Kick off Day.  This was the day I was not looking forward to because Kathryn usually helped me with setting up my room.  I had a lot of cleaning and sorting to do so I was pretty busy all day.  Keeping busy did keep my mind off of missing Kathryn.  I did notice that my calendar was gone.  So strange as it has been on that same bulletin board for several years now.  Kathryn had hand drawn the artwork on this calendar so it is very important to me.  I’m really bummed that it is missing.  I left a message with my former sub to see if she tucked it away somewhere.  I sure hope so.  I loved that calendar and it was a very special piece of Kathryn’s work.  She made it just for me and I treasured it.  I hope it shows up.

I also completed my parent letter today.  I said I had two children but then I also explained that Kathryn had passed away in February.  I left that part short with just enough info but not too much.  I think I will have students read it silently to themselves so I don’t have to read it and hear it 5 times on Tuesday. 

I met a lot of new students today and was also greeted by many former students.  One student ask. “How are you doing?” in that sweet concerned tone.  I couldn’t help but tear up.  I tried not to make her feel bad.  It just hit me and I couldn’t hold it in.  Another parent saw and stepped out of the room.  She didn’t know me.  I told her it was ok and to come back in.  I quickly explained and she said I certainly had the right to tear up and she gave me a big hug. 

Oh, I also pulled something off my podium that was covering the front of it.  And there the kids had added to the Mrs. Bradley, We miss u.  So the front of the podium read, “We Miss U Mrs. Bradley.”  I was touched by this.  Kids usually have very tender hearts and this was just one little piece of proof. 

Tomorrow is our staff day.  I hope to have all of my things that will be handed out on Tuesday ran off and ready to go tomorrow.  Well, I will still have my Geometry assignment sheet to write up but I can get that done over the weekend and I really don’t need to hand it out until Wednesday.  It’s all good.  One thing I have noticed about myself,  I’m so less uptight and stressed.  I’m so much more laid back and relaxed.  I guess I have learned that it is so much more important to enjoy life than it is to stress over things.

I have a new yearbook program too.  There are a lot of differences from the other program.  It will just take some time for me to get use to all the new stuff.  It will be new to the kids too so it will be fine.  We will learn things together.  I actually played around with it tonight and I ran into some difficulties but I’m working through it.  Before I would be stressing out over this new program but I’m not.  It will actually make life easier as it is an online program.  I don’t have to be at school on one of only 6 computers that have the program installed on it.  My rep is awesome and I kind of have two reps that will be working with me.  They are nice and close so if I run into trouble I should be able to get help right away.  It’s all good.

I need to get to bed as 6 am comes very early.  I’m not use to having to get up and be somewhere so early.  It’s good practice for next week.

I must request a prayer form you all.  My dear friend Leslie has been in the hospital with ?????  They thought Scarlet fever but I guess that isn’t it.  Her skin is all red and she has a fever.  She doesn’t need this as she already has that nasty thing called cancer (Multiple Myeloma).  Some of you know that is a cancer with no cure.  So ask God to get her out of the hospital.   Pray that the doctors can figure this out so they can help her. 

Thank you everyone.  Don’t for get our little Rowan too when you say your prayers.  

Monday, August 27, 2012

Camping/Birthday 8-23 to 8-26-2012

Thursday Richard and I headed out with Princess to go camping.  As I was packing up things I thought about Kathryn.  Her little poke-a-dot bag would be with us filled with Princess things and games.  She would be sitting with Princess as we drove out and making sure we had good music to listen to.  When we arrived we had a choice of sites.  There were not too many people there.  The sites with plugs were almost all taken but the tent sites were wide open.  I hope they never make those middle tent sites set up for RVs and such.  We set up pretty darn fast.  Richard and I headed to the beach to check things out and he taught me how to play some cribbage.  I think I had finally gotten the hang of it.  A bit later his girlfriend joined us.  We popped popcorn over the campfire and had a very nice evening.  My brother stopped by and sat around the campfire for an hour or two with us.  He shared some interesting stories with us.  It was a good evening.

One group of campers were really interesting.  The Mom and Dad yelled at the kids constantly.  The kids screamed and cried like I have never heard before.  It was awful.  We didn’t sleep well at all because of these neighbors.  They were loud all night yelling at the kids.  We were thinking that maybe they should take the kids to the beach!  That would be a novel idea.  I think a bunch of people complained to the ranger.  They were much better Friday night and Saturday night but during the day and early, very early morning there they were yelling at the kids and using their wonderful parenting skills to create a great camping experience for their children.  Why do people like that even have kids?  Our other camping neighbor actually asked them one morning if they needed assistance.  She was really upset with this situation.  It bothered everyone.  It was a display of how not to be as a parent.

Friday morning I was greeted with “Happy Birthday” Richard and Bee.  Also Scott had left a card under the floor mat of the truck.  We took a nice hike in the morning.  Princess loved that.  We let her off the leash so she could stop and sniff whenever she wanted to.  I remember taking the kids on this trail when they were small.  I would end up carrying one of them.  When I just had Richard I would have to carry him and then when Kathryn was small I would end up carrying her.  It is a long trail for a little one.  We would find cool things along the way like mushrooms, huckleberries and sticks.  After our walk and lunch we launched the boat and went for a boat ride.  We found a cool inlet that we explored a bit.  As we left and headed back we came across a ton of crab pots.  There was a whole bunch that we had to go through.  My friend Robyn came out to spend the night with us.  Scott and my Mom came out too.  We all had dinner and celebrated my birthday.  Scott and my Mom went home but Robyn stayed and spent the night.  Mitch and Pat came in after 10pm.  They drove down from Bellingham. 

Saturday was a beautiful day.  We spent the entire day on the water.  The kids went wakeboarding and we swam, floated and did stand up paddling.  Our camp neighbor also let us drive his seado.  This was really fun.  He even took my Mom for a ride.  Robyn went home in the afternoon but my Mom spent the night. 

It was really good to go camping.  I thought about Kathryn and as we talked around the dinner table Kathryn was in the stories that were shared.  It was good to know that we still talk about her and have fond memories of her.  I know last year I was really concerned about her when we went camping.  She wasn’t feeling well and she used the heat as a reason but I knew in my heart that it was her tumor.  We had gone over Labor Day weekend and by mid September her tumor was back and affecting her stride.  They said at that time they were not sure if it was tumor or radiation damage.  I didn’t know what to say or do at that time.  I was so lost as how I could make this go away.  I have never been so uncertain of what to do in my entire life.  Trying to help Kathryn was so confusing and stressful.  I didn’t know where to turn. All of the places I could go I had gone.  I just felt so helpless.  I couldn’t do anything to make her better.  I still pray for her to be brought back.  I miss her so much.  It still feels so unreal.

Sunday we came home.  All the kids worked well to pick up camp after a wonderful breakfast.  Then they all helped clean up once we got home.  Many hands make for light work.  It is true.  Once we were all settled and had most everything done I went through the mail.  There was our Verizon bill.  As you may have remembered I finally called and canceled Kathryn’s phone about a month ago.  It was so hard to do.  Well they had told me at the time they would not charge me for early cancellation for Kathryn’s phone since she passed away.  But there it was, an $80 charge for early cancellation.  So I called.  The young lady first told me they were fair charges and then I told her that Kathryn had passed away and of course my tears just raced down my cheeks.  I tried not to cry because I know it bothers Richard but I couldn’t hold it back.  They did reverse the charge, but we will see on the next bill if that is truly the case.  I also received more medical statements.  You would think that they could have had this all done by now.  Just a couple of weeks ago I got 5 or 6 pages of medical stuff from the insurance from August of 2011.  Now they send me another 3 or 4 pages from November of 2011.  This one I could have used for taxes or my flex plan but they sent it way late.  Actually I can still use it for flex plan.  It’s so frustrating to get things like this in the mail.  Or the bank sending a credit card for Kathryn.  That one really made me mad.  I cancelled it back in November because someone stole her number and charged illegally on it.  I told them not to send another ever.  After she passed away I closed her joint account with me.  She didn’t even have an account to do with this card.  Money is just too important to big institutions.  I tell you I felt like going to the bank and letting them know that they made a big mistake. I felt like cancelling everything I had with them and moving somewhere else.  But I know any other bank would be the same.  It would just be a big hassle for me.

Today is a beautiful day.  I was hoping Richard would stick around this week and work with Scott but I think he will head up to Bellingham today.  I will miss him.  I love having him around and Bee too.  I will be getting busy with school and all so my mind will have other things to think about.  My walking friends and I are joining the gym so we can exercise when it rains.  Spin classes….  Richard told me he took one once.  That was enough for him.  Well, I will do it and hopefully drop about 15 pounds.  It should be good.  I’m looking forward to it.

I hope you all get to go out and enjoy this beautiful day.  

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

August 21, 2012

August 21, 2012

Yesterday I received a phone call from a lady I met over a year ago.  She was selling sweaters at the Breast Cancer walk in Bellevue “Making Srides” that I would work at through Wired.  She said she had my card in her bible and prayed for Kathryn every day.  Kathryn had so many people praying for her.  She called to see how Kathryn was doing and of course I had to tell her what had happened.  She said she was afraid to call and this was why she was afraid.  I told her I was really glad she called.  We talked for about 10 to 15 minutes.  I almost didn’t answer the phone as I was just heading out the door for a meeting with my yearbook rep.  I told her about Rowan and told her to now pray for Rowan and her family.  She took down Rowan’s information and said she would now pray for Rowan.  I promised Rowan’s link so here it is: http://www.giveforward.com/RowansCancerFund

I worked on school stuff the rest of the day after meeting with my yearbook rep.  I had a lot of cry time again.  It is hard to be at home and have it quiet.  My mind goes to Kathryn always. 

Later in the day I turned on Dr. Oz and who should be his guest but the Long Island Median.  Oh boy did I listen.  I took it all in and really cried.  Listening to her really made me think that Kathryn is here listening and watching.  I really hope she is here.  I would love to meet with this lady sometime.  I wish I had her talent. Maybe I will get it some day.  Maybe I will learn how to connect with Kathryn

I also received this beautiful poem from a friend.  This poem I have put down here for you to read.  The words are perfect for how I have been feeling.  They really touched me.  It’s at the end of the blog.

Today (Tuesday) I got up and thought I would get a bunch of stuff done.  My stomach wouldn’t let me.  I felt sick most of the day.  Got sick a little.  This always starts out the same with a headache, neck ache and then the sick tummy.  I can’t function like this and spent most of the day on the couch.  Scott pointed out that every time I am planning something that I would normally do with Kathryn I get this way.  Well, I am going camping on Thursday and today I was planning on shopping and organizing.  Getting food ready and such.  Yes, normally this would be a great time with Kathryn and I guess my sickness is my body’s stupid way of I don’t know.  I guess I get sick thinking about our fun activities and her not being here with us.  Is it stress or depression?  I don’t know.  But it sucks. I haven’t slept well for days now and hope tonight I can sleep by taking some advil PM.  My doctor renewed my prescription for my sleep aid and I don’t know exactly what day it will arrive.  The original one couldn’t be refilled until September 11th.  I told him I couldn’t go on not sleeping that long.  He is a great doctor and truly understands my situation. 

I finally felt a little better around 3:30 or so.  I was able to get some things done so tomorrow I won’t have so much to do for camping.  Richard will be here tomorrow to help.  He’s a good man.  Scott brought me flowers.  He’s a good man too.  I’m lucky to have the two of them in my life.

Good Night!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Trip to Bellingham 8-20-12

Trip to Bellingham 8-20-12

I spent the weekend in Bellingham with Richard and Bee.  I couldn’t write my blog there because I was busy and also because I don’t wan to cry around Richard and I always do cry when I write my blog.

So the other day I was listening to the radio and there was this ad about Callie’s Coffee.  Kind of an ad.  Callie is a young girl who had a friend by the name of Ben who had cancer.  They were very best friends and would play together all of the time.  I think Ben and Callie were about 2 when Ben was diagnosed with cancer.  Ben had a neuroblastoma a type of brain tumor and died at age 3 ½.  Callie wanted to help her friend so she sold lemonade.  The lemonade stand didn’t raise money like Callie would have liked it to so she asked her Dad about selling something grownups would like because they have all the money.  That is why she started her little coffee company at age 7.  It can even be delivered to your home.  She is now looking into adding Hot chocolate to her business in order to make even more money.  Callie and her Dad heard about Kathi Goertzen.  Callie said something like, with people like Kathi and myself raising money to help find a cure there will some day be a cure.  She is a child and thinking of others.  My Kathryn also thought that way.  That is why she did the Relay for Life and the Ride for Kids and many other things to raise awareness and funds for the cure for cancer.  But I hate to say this…  but there are people who do not want to find a cure because they make a ton of money off of sick people.  Chemo therapy is big money.  I mean really big money.  One person can cost 20,000 to 100,000 plus a month to treat.  The big drug companies try to stop people like Dr. Burzynski who have a cure.  And one that isn’t so expensive.  It is sad but it is true.

Friday I headed up to Bellingham.  My 2 our drive took me 3 hours and 15 minutes.  Wow, the traffic was bad.  My knee actually hurt because I had to push the clutch in so many times.  I was up there for Richard’s best friend’s graduation.  We treat Mitch just like one of the family.  Mitch’s parents were there from Texas and the 6 of us all went out for dinner (Richard, Bee, Mitch, Mitch’s Mom, Mitch’s Dad, and myself).  The next day we all went to the graduation ceremony.  Joining us were Mitch’s grandparents from Gig Harbor.  After the ceremony we had a nice picnic and three more of Mitch’s friends from Bellingham joined us.  It was all very nice.

The next day I took Richard and Bee shopping.  That’s what parents do for their college students.  One hundred dollars later my two kids have everything they need and they are happy.  I really enjoyed spending my time with Richard and Bee.

The drive home only took 2 ½ hours.  Thank goodness.  My Mom then met me at my house and we drove to my cousin’s house in Renton.  Got lost a little but found it.  My cousin Lori and her two boys were here from Texas.  Lori is the one whose husband Rafer passed away in May from cancer.  When we were in Texas trying a new treatment for Kathryn they were also looking for something that would work for Rafer.  Unfortunately neither one of us had the results we wanted.  Of course I was asked how I was doing and how Richard and Scott were doing.  I said Richard stays busy so he doesn’t have time to think about his loss and I believe that is what Scott is doing now too.  I have to think about Kathryn. I can’t let my thoughts go without thinking about her.  I haven’t slept well in about four or five nights because I’m out of my magic sleeping pills and my mind just thinks about Kathryn and songs come into my mind and play over and over.  I asked Lori about her boys and she said she keeps them busy and it helps.  They are about 8 and 6.  It will be hard for Lori to raise them without their Dad but she is a good Mom and a strong woman.  I will never forger how she spoke at her Dad’s funeral.  She was still in high school and she spoke so well.  She didn’t choke on her words or cry.  Her message wash clear and sweet.  I remembered that so well.  She gave me strength to speak at my Dad’s funeral.  I remember thinking that Lori did it – I could do it too.  I had to do it.  My Dad deserved to have a tribute that was from the heart.  One that spoke of what a wonderful Father, husband, friend, and person her was.  She set the bar high for me and gave me strength.  I didn’t make it to Rafer’s funeral.  I just couldn’t take another one so close to Kathryn’s.  But I’m sure it was beautiful.  Lori’s boys look just like each of them.  The oldest, Carson, looks just like his Dad and the younger one, William, looks just like Lori.  Cute and well mannered boys.  Lori’s job has changed to one that allows her to work more from home and do less traveling.  She will have to go to conferences a couple of times a year but she will work that out when they come up.  You know we both looked at each other feeling so sorry for one another.  We both understand the loss and pain of the other.  But we couldn’t really talk about it.  We will later.

My Mom spent the night as it was late when we came home form Renton.  I like having her here.  Scott was so good to make her bed and have the house all clean for us.  I’m lucky to have him. 

I will be heading out to meet with the new yearbook rep in just a little bit.  We have a new program but I think it will actually make my life easier.  I’m looking forward to a good year.

Have a great day!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Five years for one and 29 weeks for another 8-16-12

Five years for one and 29 weeks for another 8-16-12

As I read my friends blog this morning I couldn’t help but feel so connected.  She lost her daughter to cancer 5 years ago today.  Her daughter was only 12 years old.  Today marks yet another Thursday and 29 weeks since Kathryn passed away. 

As I read her blog she wrote about how her husband and son were quiet about the day.  I read about how days before they were on vacation and she worried so about her son.  Every time he would do something even close to dangerous she would worry.  She could not bear the thought of losing him.  I have had those same feelings.  I made Richard very aware of my feelings.  I told him back some time ago to be careful with his life.  I told him I could not bear to lose a second child.  In fact I don’t think I could go on if anything ever happened to him.  It would take me over the edge.  I hope that his is more careful and realizes how important he is to me.

She also wrote about her daughter’s peaceful death.  How she was home and just stopped breathing just as Kathryn did.  Kathryn died right next to me as I held her hand and cried.  Scott had her other hand and Richard was rubbing her leg and Grandma her little foot.  We all kissed her several times before she took her last breath and told her we loved her.  I’m sure my friend and her family did the same for their daughter and sister. 

It is strange how earlier this morning I was reading the obituaries and I thought about how I would write a memory for Kathryn on the anniversary.  I don’t know what we will do on that day.  I feel like we should do something but I don’t want to take away from Richard’s birthday.  February was such a joyful month for us with Kathryn’s birthday on the 5th and Richard’s on the 9th.  Now we have the 2nd as the day Kathryn died.  I just don’t know how we are supposed to go through that day.  I’m not looking forward to it. 

So my friend Karen, I’m glad you are doing better with the time that has gone by.  I know and feel your pain on this day.  It is a day that brings back all those memories and they are not the memories that you want to replay but they are there.  I’m glad you still have your daughter in your dreams and you feel her presents.  I hope that is forever or should I say until you are together again.

I too have thought about vacations.  Family vacations without Kathryn (my buddy).  In just a short time we will be going camping at the same place I have taking the kids since they were very little.  The same place we went last year and the year before and will continue to go.  This will be the first year without Kathryn.  Who will man the flag on the boat as we all wakeboard or water ski?  Who will pack Princesses bag and make sure we have games to play?  Who will take Princess on the floaty when I have had her long enough on mine?  Who will go to the shower house with me?  Who will help set out the stuff for smores and roast the perfect marshmellow?  Kathryn won’t be there.  Just like the party I will pick up pieces that are left that Kathryn use to do.  I will pack up Princesses things.  I will pack up the games.  I will set out the smore stuff and roast the perfect marshmellow.  I may even hold the flag in the boat if I’m not driving or skiing.  It will different.  It will not be the same but it will be camping.  I don’t want to lose that.  It is something I shared with my kids and will continue to share with my son and his friends forever.  As long as I am able I will go camping.  I remember both Richard and Kathryn telling me that they didn’t want to go to Camp Goodtimes because I take them camping and camping with me was enough.  They didn’t need anymore because they had so much fun camping with me.  They did learn that there was more room in their lives for more camp and the love Camp Goodtimes.  But I will never forget the thoughts they shared about how much camping with me meant to them.  It was all they needed. 

I also remember going to the beach late one night while camping in 2010.  I cried and cried as Kathryn had just been diagnosed.  I prayed to God that night so long and so loud.  I wanted him to know that I needed her and she needed to be healed.  I prayed for a miracle, which I truly believed would happen but never did.  I really thought that she would wake up one morning and look at me and say good morning.  And that would be the day she was well again.  I still pray for her return.  I guess I’m kind of stubborn.  I keep telling God I know that he can do anything.  Anything is possible for him.  I know he could bring her back.  I know that it could be.  But this has only happened twice.  But I will keep asking and asking.  Sometimes I ask only to see her again or hold her again.  Or even to hear her voice again.  Maybe just a vision of her.  Something… 

I need to get busy.  I will end by saying that Rowan is doing well.  Her Mom and Dad are thinking about getting her back into preschool.  That is exciting and a positive move forward.  Keep praying for Rowan and her family.  It isn’t easy for them emotionally, financially or even physically.  They need our support.

Love to all,

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Missing Kathryn 8-15-12

Missing Kathryn 8-15-12

So Monday was a tough day as I wrote about and it got tougher as the day went on.  After writing my blog I opened my school email only to find that a former student of mine hanged himself.  This young man is one that I remember well.  Even though he was quiet I do remember him.  I had him in my math class both years he attended Columbia.  He had a last name that was also a first name.  Just like Richard Bradley could be Bradley Richard.  I would always call him by his last name.  I told him he looked more like that name than his actual first name to me. When I would catch myself calling him by his last name he would just give me a little smile.  I remember he had a hard time getting homework done.  We talked about it and he would try harder.  He was a bright boy with great potential.  It is a loss that shouldn’t have happened.

Then Scott called and told me about Kathi Goertzen.  So many things that were said about Kathi were said about Kathryn.  How she didn’t want people to feel sorry for her.  How she fought hard and never gave up.  How she stepped up and raised awareness and gave to charity.  She was a strong brave woman. How she never wanted to have her loved ones to worry.  She would say she was ok.  How she loved life and was full of life.  Every one of these things were also said about Kathryn.  Then it was said that the tumor just stopped her breathing and she passed away.  Just like my little Kathryn.  Both made it home to die with loved ones by their side.  Oh it was hard to hear.  It was like I was reliving Kathryn’s passing. 

Tuesday was a better day.  I focused on some projects one of which was fixing the wall that I painted earlier.  I tried to lay out in the sun for a while but it just isn’t the same.  I always laid out in the sun with Kathryn.  We would set up the little whale pool.  Yes, a small little pool with a whale on one end that you can hook up to the hose and it would have water sprinkle out of its spout.  It’s hard to do these things by myself.  I would love to lay out in the sun and sit in the whale pool but doing it alone is just that, lonely. 

So I worked on some lesson plans to occupy my mind.  It helped.  I tried writing my letter that goes home at the beginning of the year.  That was not so easy.  I don’t like what I wrote.  I usually write about my family.  Now part of that is to explain how I have lost my daughter.  I shouldn’t have to write about that.  I should be writing about how she is at Western and will be a senior.  I should be writing about how she is devoting her life to help children with cancer by becoming a child life specialist in the oncology department.  That is what I should be writing.  Instead I will tell about her passing.  No parent should have to make the statement, “I lost my daughter or I lost my son…”  It just isn’t right or fair.  My 6th grade teacher was right after all.  She told me once, “Life isn’t fair.”  Of course I had a quick reply, “If there were less people like you the world would be more fair.”  This is not about people being fair now it is just about life being fair.  And it isn’t.  Why do some people have babies so easily and then abuse them and I had to have medical help to have babies, loved them both with all of my heart, devoted my entire life to my children to have one of them die.  That’s not fair.  I see my son keeping himself so busy so he doesn’t have time to think.  He doesn’t allow himself time to think about his loss.  I hope this is all ok for his mental health.  I love him so much and want him to be happy.  I don’t want him to burry his feelings about his sister.  It seems that he has a hard time even talking about her.  I’m happy though that he asked me to bring some of her artwork up this weekend for his apartment.  I know he loved her so much and he must really be hurting deep inside just like me.

Last night I couldn’t help myself.  I had gone through the day pretty good without the tears but then as I tried to go to sleep I just fell apart.  I just can’t believe God allowed Kathryn to die.  I find it hard to believe that she is gone.  I wanted to snuggle with her on the couch but she’s not there.  So I had Princess come up on the couch and snuggle with me.   Of course it’s not the same but she was part of Kathryn.  My life feels so empty at times.  There is a huge hole that nothing can fill.  And it hurts.  I just want to talk to her and tell her I love her.  I want to hear, “I love you Mommy.”  But those words I will never hear again.  Her sweet voice is gone.  That stupid tumor even took her voice.  She couldn’t talk for over a month.  So not fair.  She could communicate but it just wasn’t the same.  And it was difficult at times to get it all right.  I hope we gave her all that she asked for and needed.  I think we did but I will never be sure.  I wish God would answer my questions.  I wish he would talk to me and tell me why he let Kathryn die.  He could have saved her and he didn’t.  Why?

So today I will try to get busy and do something to occupy my mind.  Yesterday I worked on lesson plans to help me and I may do more today.  I need to get ready for school soon and this is also a good way to keep my mind busy.   I’m off to try to make it a better day.  Thanks for listening and writing comments. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Weddings 8-13-12

Weddings 8-13-12

I know I haven’t made a post in a couple of days.  Sorry for that.

We had a 60’s Party on Saturday evening.  It was a great time.  Richard’s girlfriend Bee came and helped me prepare food and set up on Friday.  Of course there was a lot more to do on Saturday.  Dash also came over and helped by doing all of the ribs.  I thought about Kathryn the entire time as I prepared for the party.  I thought about how she helped last year for my 50th birthday party.  How she made it so fun with her bucket of things to put on for photos.  Kathryn and I have collected so many things over the years for dressing up.  She had her things so well organized so it was easy to find things that we could use.  Richard had flown down to Reno Firday morning to help Mitch drive back.  Mitch was in a class and it ended on Friday.  The two of them left Reno Friday around 5:30pm and arrived to at our house at 5:30am.  I happened to be up letting the cat out when they drove up.  I sure love those boys.

Richard and Bee made delicious sushi.  They wok so well together.

Late in the evening my two friends and I stayed up by the bond fire and talked.  Late into the night.  My one friend is moving from her home that she and her first husband built together some 20 or more years ago.  Her first husband died from throat cancer.  She is really having emotional problems with thinking about selling this house.  I told her that it is only a building.  Just like selling some of Kathryn’s things I had to remind myself that it was only stuff.  We can’t hang on to all of the material things.  Her new home is for her and her current husband.  It will be a good change for them and make life easier as her husband’s commute right now is so long.  One to two hours one way every day.  This is just too much.  They will be happy to have less work and a shorter commute.  I think she felt better after we talked.  It is hard to let go but some times it is for the best.

On Sunday I was pretty tired as I had maybe two hours of sleep.  I had promised my Mom I would drive her to my cousins wedding in Seattle and I did.  My cousin who got married was adopted.  It was a closed adoption but she had searched for her biological mother the last two years and found her just shortly before the wedding.  When I sat down I sat next to a very friendly couple.  I asked how they knew the bride and groom.  They said friends and then a little later the she told me she was the bride’s biological mother.  She knew the bride’s mother really didn’t want her there but the bride did so she came but wanted to keep a very low profile.  She shared with me that she just was young at the time and the father had left her.  She didn’t have a way to provide for a baby.  She wanted her child to have a good life.  She said it wasn’t about her, it was all about her baby.  Her decision was for the baby.  She chose my cousin and her husband because they were good people and there was also something about having common birthdays.  Later in her life she got married to the man she was with.  They tried over and over to have a child.  She had three different surgeries but was never able to have a second child.  I sure felt bad for her.  She was watching her only child and the only one she would ever be able to have get married that day and all along she felt like she had to hide.  I gave her a couple of hugs and told her she was a very kind and generous person to give her baby up so her baby could have a good life.  She could see that her baby did have a good life.  She also shared with me that the bride and her had so much in common.  She didn’t realize that genes even controlled things like likes and dislikes.  They even use the same hair coloring.  They have the same favorite color and on and on.  Kathryn and I had so much in common too.  She was a part of me.  We lived together and shared so much. 

So many of my friends have children finishing college and getting married.  There is something I will never get to do.  I will never get to help my daughter plan her wedding.  Kathryn and I talked about this so many times.  We talked about dresses and who would be in her wedding.  She wanted an outdoor wedding.  She even talked about having the wedding in our backyard.  She didn’t want a big wedding but you know she had so many friends that it would be way too big for our back yard.  It’s really hard to watch others get married and hear friends and family plan and prepare for their daughter’s weddings.  I will never do this with my little girl as we dreamed of so many times.  I was supposed to make her dress too. 

Bee (Richard’s girlfriend) and I were talking.  We talked about weddings and dresses.  She and Richard had gone to a wedding the week before and we discussed things about this wedding.  She also described the dress she would like.  It will be beautiful.  She has a great figure and it will look so good on her.  She and Richard had talked about weddings a little and Richard said something about eloping.  Bee set him straight.  She said he couldn’t do that.  As his wedding would be the only wedding for me and her wedding would be the only wedding for her Mom.  I don’t know if you all remember but she lost her sister to brain cancer too.  Her Dad also passed away from cancer.  So a wedding for Richard and Bee would be a very special day.  

Monday – Richard and Bee left about 10:00 or 10:30 am.  It is such a let down when they go and I am home alone.  They know just how I feel too.  They reminded me several times that I will see them in just a few days.  Scott and I are going up to Bellingham and will be their houseguests this weekend.  We are going for Mitch’s graduation on Saturday.  Richard said as he left today, “ I need to get your room ready for you this week.”  He’ll be doing it on his own, as Bee will be in Seattle all week working as a nanny.  We’ll also be going camping late next week.  I hope to have several of my kids with me while camping.  We have such a good time.  This will be the first year without Kathryn.  I will miss my little camping buddy.  I would always let Richard and Kathryn bring a friend or two.  There were a couple of years that Kathryn chose not to bring any friends.  She said that I would be her camping friend.  That’s just how close we were. 

I’m sitting here in the house by myself and just crying.  I don’t like being alone.  I use to like the quiet time by myself but now I don’t.  As I was sitting her I heard something fall.  I ran upstairs to see what it was and finally found that the collage poster of Kathryn that is in the poke-a-dot room had fallen.  The window was open and I guess the wind made it fall.  Funny that it should fall as I write about Kathryn.
I just can’t believe she is gone.  I miss her so very much.  It just isn’t fair that she had to die.  

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Sharing 8-8-12

Sharing 8-8-12

My cousin had bought some things of Kathryn’s at my garage sale for her granddaughter.  It was great to hear form her that her granddaughter loves the black sparkly shoes that she had bought for her.  They were the last shoes I ever bought for Kathryn.  She wore them to the Nutcracker with her pretty blue dress.  What was even better her Mom had explained to her where the shoes came from and how special they are.  She puts them on and yells out “Kathryn Power.”  That is really something.  I Love it!

My little neighbor girl had sold lemonade during the garage sale this past weekend.  She told everyone that she was sharing her earnings with a little girl with cancer.  Of course that was Rowan she was talking about.  At our neighborhood gathering Tuesday night she handed me an envelop with $63 in it for Rowan.  She had actually sold $28 worth of lemonade and shared half and they made $80 in the garage sale and shared $49.  This is so good.  Her mother has really taught her a lesson in giving and loving.  Even if she doesn’t know Rowan she knows that Rowan and her family need help and she was willing to work hard all weekend to help another little girl.  My neighbor girl is only 8.  The same age that Kathryn was when she was first diagnosed with cancer. 

Last night Scott loading up all the left over garage sale items into his van to take to the Goodwill.  It was hard for him as man of the items were Kathryn’s clothes and shoes.  We pulled a couple of small pairs of shoes out for our neighbor girl.  We gave her some boots earlier that she loved.

On my walk this morning I got talking to another lady whose dog had followed my friend’s dog.  They wanted to play so bad.  Anyhow she started to talk about cancer.  I don’t know how it all came up but it did.  As she was talking I was thinking, “Lady you are singing to the choir here,” but I didn’t say that.  It seemed like it would be rude.  But I did share that I had just lost my daughter to brain cancer.  Then we seemed to just go on and on.  Until I had to leave because I was meeting someone at my house.  My other friend showed up as we were just finishing our walk and she actually knew this lady I had been talking to.  What a small world.

I had our carpets cleaned today and the same guy who cleaned them after Kathryn’s big Christmas party in December cleaned them today (Wednesday).  He commented on the artwork in the hallway.  When I said it was my son and daughter’s work he was very impressed.  When we looked in Richard’s room that was when he remembered being here before.  I guess the headboard that I made him is very uique and memorable.  He remembered Kathryn and I told him she had passed away.  He said he was wondering since he didn’t see her here today.  He knew she was sick but he didn’t want to ask.  He started to tear up when I told him.  I shared a bit with him.  He asked how old Kathryn was and that lead to sharing her birthday party with him.  As you know she died 3 days before her 21st birthday.  We had celebrated her birthday in a very special way doing all the things she would love to do.  We made pancakes and everyone took at least one turn making a fun shape.  One of her favorite dinners especially fun shaped pancakes.  We had Tequila sunrises as this was her drink of choice.  We sat around the bond fire and shared precious memories of Kathryn.  And finally we had fireworks.  It was a beautiful evening just like Kathryn.

Today I also did an art project.  I thought about Kathryn making the backdrop for photos last year for my 50th birthday party.  She worked so hard on it and she must have done the entire thing left handed.  That means my effort was nothing compared to hers.  And my art project isn’t nearly as good either.  I do think she would approve.  I also shared with him how my friend had asked God why Kathryn died.  He gave her an answer, “Her duty was short.”  What ever she was here to do she did it.  She did do a lot and inspired so many.  Her love and inspiration to do good is still going on. 

Finally tonight I went to the hall closet looking for cotton balls.  I found so many prescription bottles.  All but two were Kathryn’s.  I thought my poor baby.  All these pills.  Too many pills.  I thought about the night before she died.  I had told her, “If Jesus comes to take you tonight, please tell him you want to stay.”  All I could think now at this moment is how relieved she must have been to go with Jesus.  No more pills!  It’s these realizations that are so hard.  I think about how hard she did try to make her body better.  She worked so hard.

I miss her sooo much.  She was my little partner.

I cry every time I write these.  Tonight was a little harder of a cry.  I guess as it gets more and more real it makes thinking about it harder and harder.  I really know she is gone with every thing that we do.  I think of what she would be helping me with and what she would be doing.  I have picked up her little duties and sometimes it is a bit overwhelming.  But I can do anything! 

I’m also debating on what to do about this weekend.  We have a couple who will be staying in Kathryn’s room.  Do I move her little box of ashes?  Will it make them uncomfortable to be in her room with her ashes there?  What to do….

I will be giving blood tomorrow.  I will take it easier than I did last time.  I don’t want to have any issues.