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.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Love My Kids 9-26-12

Love My Kids 9-26-12

My children have always been my pride and joy.  They are perfect in my eyes.  I get complements about them, strangers have come up to me and tell me just how wonderful they are.  Both Richard and Kathryn have a way with people.  Maybe that is why I love spending time with them. To me they are the best kids there ever was or will be. 

Monday Richard came down to see me.  He arrived just before I got home from work.  I canceled an appointment and a dinner date to hang out with him.  I put time with him first.  We took Princess for a walk and talked about life.  I remember that was one of Kathryn’s favorite things to do.  She wrote it in her book.  She liked to go for walks with her family.  Richard and I went out for dinner since I had nothing in the fridge but condiments.  We went to Boat House 19 in Tacoma.  I really like this place, but don’t order the fried oysters.  It was nice to spend the evening with him.  Knowing that he was in his room sleeping that night made me feel real good. 

At the gym on Tuesday I ran into several people I know.  One was a teacher from Mason.  I taught there years ago and many of the same staff members are still there. It was a hard decision to move when I did but I needed to teach something more challenging and mind motivating at the time.  I was beginning to feel brain dead.  Some day I would like to teach at the college level but never if I have to get a doctorate.  A master’s degree is as far as I plan on going.  And that has been done.  I taught for Seattle Pacific University the past couple of years and loved it.  The teacher I was talking to at the gym has a 19-year-old daughter.  She said she just couldn’t imagine what she would do or how she could go on if her daughter passed.  I said that so many times in my life.  In fact I was quoted in the paper as saying,  “I don’t know what I would do without Kathryn.”  I saw a lot of parents lose children over the years.  I couldn’t believe how strong they all seemed.  I didn’t know how they did it.  But I’m there now.  I’m one of them.  And I know what they do.  You do go on because you have to.  As my friend at the gym said, “What would Kathryn want for you?” Happiness was my answer.  I know she would want me to be happy and go on with life, living it with spirit, joy and love.  I know what those parents do when they are on their own too.  They may smile and appear happy but there are times when that fountain of sorrow just rises up.  Missing Kathryn is the most difficult thing in my entire life.  I have had many disappointments and hard times but this certainly out does them all.  But as I told my friend you do pull yourself together and go on.  Remembering how Kathryn always celebrated life really helps me pick myself up and go.

Another friend invited me out to the movies.  Kathryn loved going to the movies.  She really liked attending the opening shows.  On time we were in Hawaii and had tickets for the opening show but when we got to the theater there were not enough seats.  Such a bad deal.  We did go to this movie the next day and waiting in line for an hour.  It was Pirates of the Caribbean 2.  Kathryn would know the real name of it.  She loved Johnny Depp.  I think she watched every movie he was ever in.

Today was the first day of School up at Western Washington University.  So many first days of school in our past.  This should have been Kathryn’s senior year.  The world really got shorted.  She would have been such an awesome child life specialist.  She would have helped so many kids.  She would have given so much comfort and brought smiles to little faces that were fearful. 

Richard is excited about his Geometry class.  He had started it last fall but had to drop it as we left town to go to Houston.  That was on class he just couldn’t do with out being in class.  He also picked up his new stand up paddleboard Tuesday and took it out after school today.  He really likes it.  I’m so glad he is such an outdoor type of guy.

Scott will be home tomorrow.  He has been out of town.  That’s why the frig was empty when Richard was here on Monday.  Scott is looking forward to barb-b-q.  I’m looking forward to his good cooking too.  Yummy!

There was a poster on Facebook today.  It said, “Be kind to everything that lives.”  Kathryn lived this way.  As I watered the plants outside last night there was a huge spider.  He was very big and fat.  I thought about squishing him but then I thought about my dear sweet Kathryn.  She would say, “No, don’t kill him Mom.”  I didn’t even squirt him down with the hose.  I thought about it but I let him be.  I was kind to this big fat spider.  He is a living creature and so I let him continue living.

Well, that’s it for now. 

Good Night

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Watch your Words 9-28-12

Watch your Words 9-28-12

On Tuesday I met the trainer I will be working with.  Her name is Rosey and young woman with two small boys.  She has a heart of gold and just a real sweet girl.  She is two years older than my son Richard.  As we were getting to know each other she asked all the normal questions and then there was that one….  The question I just don’t know how to answer just yet.  I struggle with it and tear up every time.  Do you have children?  Do I say two or one? And when I’m asked about my children what do I say?  It is such a normal question but it doesn’t have a “normal” answer any more.  So I told her I have a son and my daughter passed away in February.  Her eyes weld up as mine did too.  Only I couldn’t hold back the tear that ran down my cheek.  This will always be a question that will get me now.

I went to the gym again on Thursday.  Both days I saw the Jehovah Witness lady who comes to my house regularly.  I’m Lutheran, but I appreciate what they do.  They are doing their best to spread the word of God.  On this day I was done with my work out (Rosey is learning that she can work me harder) and went up to work on the treadmill for a while.  There on the TV they were taking about 2012 as the end of the Earth.  Oh, they are so sure that something bad is going to happen.  This lady that had struck up a conversation with me agreed with me that there is no reason to worry.  What happens will happen.  I actually just smiled and chuckled at the thought of the end of the Earth.  I know this only means I will be reunited with Kathryn.  I’m not afraid.  I’m not worried.  I have faith and I look forward to that day

After the gym I had a dream that night about Kathryn.  Actually two dreams.  In one dream she was about 1 ½ .  We were in a house that had a wall that had a small opening from one room to the next.  We were playing peek-a-boo through the hole.  She giggled and laughed as I called out peek-a-boo.  In the second dream Kathryn was about 5.  There she was eating a Granny Smith apple and sugar was coming out of the top.  Then there were bugs in the apple and she started screaming. I ran to her and helped her get these bugs off of her.  Weird I know.  Maybe it was a way of me protecting her.  I don’t know.  I was just happy to see her sweet face and hear her voice in my dream.

Today (Friday) I went to a counseling session.  This counselor is very dynamic.  He speaks the truth and doesn’t sugar coat anything.  I like the straight honest words that came out of his mouth.  I hate it when things are sugar coated and total BS (my feelings about most counseling)  Anyhow, there was a part of the session about gratitude.  I spoke about gratitude before and how important it is to remember how much each and every one of us have to be grateful for.  It was nice to be reminded that I need to have gratitude and practice finding it.  I do have so many positives in my life. 

My friend who had posted about gratitude, who also lost her daughter to cancer 5 years ago posted something that I feel I need to share.  She spoke about at woman who was trying to comfort her but really didn’t choose the right words.  How do you tell a woman who lost her child to cancer that you were cured of cancer twice because of God’s great love for you?  That is what she did.  This really upset my friend.  Putting it that way just made it sound like our children were not loved by God so they were left to die of cancer.  I know this woman didn’t mean any harm but make sure you think before you speak.  Especially around Mom’s who have lost their children.  I know God freed Kathryn of pain, worry and all the negatives on this Earth.  God loves her and wanted her to join him in a peaceful place, Heaven.  As one of my friends said, Kathryn’s duty was done here on Earth.  Now she is with God and watching over me, her Dad, Grandma, and of course Richard.  I’m sure she is very happy in Heaven. 

Mooselips, the professional photographer who takes all the pictures for Camp Goodtimes shared a tribute to Gloria on Facebook.  She passed away five years ago today (9-28-12).  She passed away of a nueroblastoma (brain tumor).  I think she was about 11 or so.  A darling and energetic girl.  Kathryn spoke so highly of her.  A luminaria bag sits in Kathryn’s room with Gloria’s name on it.  I tried to get it to her family at the Tacoma Relay but the man who was going to take it for me wasn’t there the second day. 

To end on a good note.  Our little friend Rowan had her last MRI reevaluated.  They have concluded that her tumor has now shrunk 69%.  This is a miracle!  If she had gone with traditional treatment this would not be happening.  I’m so pleased to see this number.  I hope to be invited to her wedding some day.  Scott and I will be going to her 4th birthday on Oct 27th in Disneyland.  Her real birthday is on November 1st.  I’m so excited to see her, and her Mom and Dad.

It’s late 12:50am and I should get to bed.  So, Good Night!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Kids with Cancer/ Boomer-Rang Kids 9-17-12

Kids with Cancer/ Boomer-Rang Kids 9-17-12

So this is Childhood Cancer Awareness month.  My friend posted some facts such as every day 2 out of every 10,000 kids will be diagnosed with cancer.  That means every one of those little kids will grow up faster than you and blink an eye.  Over night they will become little adults.  They will become strong and brave.  They will have no choice. 

She shared a website about Ben Towne’s foundation.  Ben was a darling three year old that died from a nueroblastoma.  Yep, that is a brain tumor that is pretty much the end.  What a darling boy and brave family to start something that will benefit others in the future.  The foundation has raised money to start a clinic to do out of the box treatment.  Not the chemo that causes more harm than good.  The work sounds like it is on the right path but not all put together yet.  I only wish Kathryn had had more time on the treatment she was receiving in Houston.  It was slowing the tumor and it could have saved her life.  But that was not meant to be.

I share this childhood cancer awareness month so you can maybe choose to help in some way.  We have chosen to support Camp Gootimes and Make a Wish to give kids with cancer a great time weather it is summer after summer at camp or one big wish through Make a Wish.  We have also chosen the pediatric brain tumor foundation to support for research reasons.  I have seen too many children have cancer not once but twice or three times or more.  The second, third or fourth cancers are usually caused by the treatment they received from the first.  That’s crazy!  So do something to get involved.  You never know it could be your child, your niece, nephew, or your grandchild who is that 2 out of 10,000.  That sounds like a small number but it isn’t.  That is pretty much 2 kids in Tacoma school district will be diagnosed with cancer (Daily).  Think of it this way and that is a lot of kids.

As my friend wrote about her experience I think it is similar to most.  Being misdiagnosed.  That happens a lot too.  Pediatricians don’t see a lot of cancer in their career.  I also think they don’t want to believe that this beautiful child they have known since birth could have cancer.  I know our doc missed it at the start.  I had to come back and demand more tests.  I must admit he was on the right track as he looked at me and I gave him the evil eye and he said the only other thing would be to schedule a CAT scan.  And we did.  But I had to come back two days later and have it moved up.  And there it was.  It is the worst thing in the world to hear that your darling child has cancer.  No it’s not.  The worst thing to hear is that your darling child has 3 to 6 months to live.  And there is nothing more we can do.  That’s the worst thing in the entire world to have to hear and take in and live with.  So get involved.  Too many children die from cancer.

I thought Saturday was going to be a great day but I ended up crying most of the day until I finally kicked myself and told myself to get up and get going.  I finally did around 3 or 4pm.  Too late in the day but I did get some things done.  I guess that is depression.  I have still too much stuff going on in my life.  I just want some kind of normal. 

So I went to the fair with my friend from work to help another friend in the Ed building.  It was fun.  As I got my hands done by the lady selling mink oil she told me her age.  I commented on how she had less wrinkles than I did and she was older.  Than I said, “Well if you have lived my life you would have more wrinkles too.”  She said, something and I liked at my friend and I said, “If you only knew.”  Than she said oh my life, and she started to complain about boomer rang kids. I said, I only wish I had boomer-rang kids.   I didn’t go on but I would give anything to have my daughter want to move back home, if she were only here to do so.  If this lady only knew how lucky she was.  She would never complain about her boomer-rang kids ever again.

I went home Sunday night after the fair and watched the Long Island Medium.  I would love to have a visit with her.  Anyhow she had a client who slept with a piece of clothing belonging to the person who had passed.  I can’t remember what she said exactly but the person who had passed acknowledged that the person slept with this piece of clothing and that his spirit was there when she slept with it.  I had originally slept with Kathryn’s pink baby blanket but it made me too warm so I just kept it close at the head of the bed.  I found Scott sleeping with it several times too.  It was so special to Kathryn.  She took it everywhere.  It went to treatments, MRI’s, Surgeries, Hospital stays, College, Sleep over’s, camping and she finally died with it over her to keep her warm and safe.  It is from her birth.  I wish right now I could remember who gave it to me as a gift way back when.  So I cuddled up with it last night hoping to create that connection to Kathryn.  I slept so well and when I got up I realized I hadn’t even taken my sleeping pill.  I’m going to continue to sleep with that little pink blanket as it brings comfort to me as it did to Kathryn. 

Right now as I write I just don’t’ know how I or any other parent who has lost a child goes on.  I guess it is the people around me that make it happen.  I know I couldn’t do this on my own.  I thank you all for your love and support.

I went training with my friend from work today.  She reminded me of something I wrote about Kathryn never wanting to kill spiders but to save the little guys, just like my Dad.  It made me laugh because I thought about Richard trying to get that spider outside not too long ago.  It moved towards him and he jumped and let out a little scream.  It really made me laugh. 
I may go hiking with Richard and his girlfriend Bee this weekend.  I really look forward to spending time with him.  My friend who I did my training with tonight said I know what is important in life.  Yes, I have learned this lesson.  Bee’s mom has a gentleman friend who spent all of his life making money but he lost out on having a family.  Money comes and money goes.  Time with loved ones is more precious than anything.  It’s the simple things in life that make us truly happy.  I don’t need a lot of money to find those simple pleasures.  I don’t need a lot of money to hang out with my son and his girlfriend and play a game of cards.  Time is all we need.  Time is the most valuable thing we have.  Cherish every moment with your family.  And if you have older kids that want to come home, Welcome them with open arms.  I think it is great when an adult child feels loved enough to come home when needed.

Take care and Good Night

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Students/Friends/Sons 9-15-12

Students/Friends/Sons 9-15-12

The second week of school is complete and things are starting to become routine.  I have great classes, I love my schedule and it’s all going well.  I have some chatty boys in one class but that is why I like this age.  They are full of life!  I also have chatty girls in my yearbook class but it is only because they are so, so, so excited to be creating the yearbook.  They are pumped.  On Monday we will finish assigning pages and get working on the program.  While working on the program I will also be working with students on their special assignments.  They will be super busy.  We also have to pick the drawing for the cover of the yearbook.  It has been our tradition to always have student art for the cover.  This year we have several great entries and it will be hard to choose just one.  So School is going very well.

Work outs!  I start my actual training with a trainer this coming week.  My friend Sue and I are going to start doing training together too.  She is a great trainer.  My breathing is so strained but I know if I work at it and go slow and steady I will get there.  I gave my life entirely to Kathryn and got completely out of shape so now it is time to get my health back in line.

I had coffee on Thursday with one of my former students.  She had me in 1993 when Richard was having a hard time adjusting to change. A neighbor was now taking him to school not me and this upset him.  She had me again in high school in 1999 when Kathryn was first diagnosed with cancer.  So I had her in 6th grade and 12th grade.  The day I found out that Kathryn had a brain tumor we went straight to Stadium from the hospital so I could let them know that I would be out for a few days. It ended up being the rest of the year.  It happened to be the time of Gina’s Pre-Calculus class and they were taking a test or quiz.  She could tell that I was really upset about something.  She told me that it just wasn’t fair to have to finish that test after seeing me.  She was all thrown off after that.  This girl actually skipped school the day of Kathryn’s surgery to be with me in the hospital.  It was really good to have someone outside of the family there.  She has a great sense of humor and helped keep things light.  So, we have kept in touch all these years.

On Friday I went walking with Sue.  She’s a good friend.  I hope to keep up with our walks or training.  I was thinking about her and her age.  She works with me and she is the age of some of my first students.  I think there are only 3 teachers at my school that are older than me.  All of the rest could have been my students back in the day and the new teachers could be my children.  I don’t feel that old.

This morning I went walking with my friend Laura.  On the way there I missed the first turn because I was in a daze thinking about Kathryn.  It’s ok because the next turn gets me there just fine.  As I drive to Chambers Bay I have to drive by the Tacoma Cemetery.  This morning two cars turned in to the cemetery and I couldn’t help but feel bad for them.  Driving into a cemetery is never fun.  There are always those strong sad emotions.   It’s not the cemetery where we took Kathryn.  She was at Mountain View.  We drive by Mountain View every time we come home from our cabin in Packwood.  And of course every time my mind brings back pictures of her lying there lifeless.  I know Scott thinks about it too as we drive by.  He probably thinks about it even more since he made all of the arrangements.  That had to take a lot.  I just couldn’t bring myself to believe she was going to die.  I even told the ladies from Hospice that I was done.  I was not going to talk about my daughter dying anymore.  They could talk to someone else.  I was going to believe that she was going to be healed and live.

You know they say that songs will some on the radio to remind us of our loved ones.  That song, “We Are Young” seems to be playing all the time and it makes me think of Kathryn.  I don’t know what the song is all about but the part “We are young” just makes me think of her.  She was so young. 

Back in December of 2008 Kathryn and I went to a ceramic store and had coffee and made coffee mugs together.  That was my Christmas present from her that year.  I drank out of this mug every day.  I miss things like this.  No special times with my little girl.  But as I remember to be thankful, I think about the wonderful relation ship Kathryn and I had.  We loved each other and would go to the ends of the Earth for each other.  I know that our mother – daughter relationship was one of the very best ones ever.  I’m so fortunate!  It could have easily been a life with no Kathryn at all with my funky female body.

The sky has been so beautiful lately and on Thursday evening as I walked Princess it had wispy clouds.  There was definitely an Angel with Kathryn’s profile in those clouds.  She and I loved to find things in the clouds.  On Friday morning the sky had clouds in the Eastern part and the sun made them look golden and glowing.  It was so beautiful.

Rowan’s Mom wrote about disciplining Rowan.  How hard it is to do but necessary.  It is hard when you have a child with a life threatening illness.  How can you scold or put a child in time out when you are not sure if they will be with you for another month, or another year?  You need to so they do become respectful, responsible and not spoiled.  I know Richard had to let me know when enough was enough.  After a year or two he finally told me I was spoiling Kathryn.  He said, she is fine now and she shouldn’t be spoiled.  He was right.  I have great faith that Rowan will be healed.  Her tumor is shrinking and she should have a long and happy life.  Hopefully it will go away soon so she can get off of the treatment.  Her Mom wrote about one boy being on it for over 4 years but it worked. 

Speaking of boys with cancer.  Did you see the boy on TV who beat cancer and had his make a wish be to upgrade his high school baseball field?  Well, he was long boarding without a helmet and hit a rut in the road.  He has a brain injury now.  He’s in the hospital and can’t move or anything.  I saw a boy about the same age in the hospital while Kathryn was in ICU only his injury was from a gunshot and I think it was even more serious in that they weren’t sure that he would make it.  There were several code blues to his room while we were there.  We had talked to the family several times.  It’s tough to think that he was going to be confined to a wheelchair and not able to do anything for himself for the rest of his life.  His poor Mom.  The boy on TV has it bad too but his Mom is a positive person and believes he will make it through this.  At least on the outside she is strong and positive.  I know how this is.  I’m sure when she is alone she breaks down and cries.  Her strong boy is now helpless and may be forever.  I will pray for this family too.  It seems my prayers are helping others as everyone I have been praying for is doing fine. 

My son called me the other day as he was going on a three-day kayak trip around the San Juan Islands.  I was teaching at the time of the call so he left a message.  In part of it he said, “Just in case I’m not back on Saturday this is the route we were taking and where they should look.”  Wow, it’s hard to hear this but I am so glad that he is smart enough to leave this information for the just in case.  It’s still on my phone.  He called that night to say they made the first leg of the trip just fine.  The phone service was poor but I could catch what he was saying and knew everything was all right.  Today is the last day of the trip and I will be looking forward to his call.  I should hear from him around 6pm or so.  Of course I will call if I don’t hear from him by then.  I told him back shortly after Kathryn died to be careful with his life because I could not take losing another child.  He knows how I feel and he takes precaution to do things safely.  He had his life vest and is actually wearing on this trip.  I was glad to hear this.  I know his girlfriend Bee will wear hers.  She’s also an only child now so she is very precious to her Mother.  Not that all children aren’t precious to mothers but when you have two and lose one the other one becomes so important.  You know you couldn’t make it through another one.  I do know a couple who did lose two children to brain cancer.  Their children were very little and now they are divorced and childless. 

Scott is having a hard time.  I doing my best to help him and support him through this.  He loved Kathryn so much.  She was his softness in life.  She was for all of us.  But she was Daddy’s little girl and he has had to try to be strong for me.  Sometimes trying to be strong for someone else makes it harder for you.  I don’t think he has taking the time to yell, scream, and just let it all out.  He needs to do this. It feels good to release all the anger and pain.  Not that it all goes away or every will but it helps.  Every tear I shed helps.  Ever time I talk to God and let him know just how upset I am it helps.  He really needs to let it out!  I will be here for him.  We are Team Bradley and will always support and take care of one another.

Today (Saturday) is going to be another beautiful day.  I’m going to get outside and work in the yard.  I hope you are able to get out and enjoy this sunshine too. 

Have a Wonderful Day!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

9-11-12 (A Dream)

9-11-12  (A Dream)

You know that picture of Kathryn on the blog page was taken when while she had stage four brain cancer.  Look at that smile and the sparkle in her eyes.  She always did her best to not let it get the best of her.

Long Island Medium (Sunday Night)– a Mom lost her daughter to bulimia.  She felt that she should have done more but her daughter said you did – you loved me and respected me. The Mom was wondering why her daughter didn’t tell her how sick she really was.  He daughter said she would have had to say good-bye and how can you say good-bye to your Mom?  Just like Kathryn not wanting to upset anyone.
Also a woman who lost her husband was talking about how her little girl sees her daddy and will say daddy while looking and follow something with her eyes.  I think the little girl is only 15 months old.  The Long Island Medium said that children often see spirit more than adults because they are so open minded.  That’s probably why my little neighbor girls see Kathryn in their house. 

Scott’s cousin posted on FB for us to pray for a little boy and his family.  He has a nueroblastoma stage 4 cancer.  OMG – why does this happen? Braiden is 3 and has a brain tumor that is extremely dangerous. 

A friend at work asked me to pray for her brother-in-law who also has a brain tumor.  I looked up the type that he has and it is considered stage 3.  I didn’t get to read a lot but I will pray for him too.  His name is Alex if you would like to pray for him.

I know far too many people with cancer.  I really hate thinking of the children that have cancer.

Yesterday (Monday) was my first training day at the gym.  The man I worked with has survived two forms of cancer.  He has a great attitude towards life as most people who have survived cancer do.  I know it gave Kathryn a heart full of love to share with everyone.  Well, I have joined the gym and plan on getting into shape so I am healthy.  I was surprised at just how bad I was.  I am so out of shape it isn’t funny.  When we went to Houston we did a lot of sitting.  I did walk but it’s not a work out.  Then when we came home I spent every minute with Kathryn and that didn’t include much activity.  I stayed with her in the hospital just sitting for almost a month and again when we came home from the hospital.  And when I stress I can just gain weight over night.  It is so strange how my body sees stress as a time to build up fat.  It did it back in 1999 and it did it again now.  In 1999 after three days in the hospital with Kathryn I gained 20 pounds. I couldn’t even fit into any of my clothes and sent Scott out to buy me elastic waist pants and some shirts with lots of blousing to hang over my pants.  It was so bad.  At least this time I didn’t gain quite as much and I lost about 10 already.  Now I have to do the hard work.  I can do it and I will do it.  By Christmas I may have to go shopping for some new clothes.

Last night (Monday) I had a dream about Kathryn.  Before I tell about the dream I must tell you that every night for about two weeks now when I roll over on my side to go to sleep it feels like a cat is on the end of the bed or right behind the back of my legs.  The covers are pulling down slightly and gently like maybe someone is sitting next to me.  But someone small.  It’s so light that it feels like one of the cats.  And it only happens when I am turn towards the center of the bed not the edge.  So last night I was in bed praying for all the people I know with cancer or other things going on in their lives and I also prayed to have Kathryn come visit me even if it was in her spirit form.  I kept thinking I saw something around the corner and I felt the covers pull as I described.  I said aloud, “Kathryn I know you’re here and I love you so much.”  I spoke some more and than went to sleep.  Then in my dream I was in a room and this lampshade was flying around in the room.  Not the normal lampshade but one made out of pink and yellow beads.  So Kathryn!  When I grabbed it a spirit moved across the room.  You could see the figure small like Kathryn.  I was white but see through.  Even full of sparkles.  Again, so Kathryn.   I’m sure she was here as I was alone last night as Scott was out of town.  I hope to think that she was there to comfort me.  She did.  I woke up happy and I smiled on my way to work as I thought about this dream of mine. 

It still seems like she is alive.  It still seems like I should be talking to her and telling her about my day and my students like I always would and she would share her day with me.  It just doesn’t seem real that she is gone.  I just hope I get to keep having little glimpses of her.  Or maybe some day I will be able to learn how to communicate with her.  What I so know is that I will see her again when God calls us all to him.  There she will be waiting and I will run to her and hug her tight.

I also must say that I thought long and hard about the people who lost loved ones in the 911 disaster.  Eleven years now.  I remember seeing it on TV as I left for work.  I was teaching at Stadium and some of the kids were pretty upset.  I also remember going to see it with Kathryn in the spring of 2005.  It was quite the sight.  The little church across the street left an every lasting impression on me and also gave me faith.  We should never forget this day.  I know when I go security at the airport I remember and I’m not bothered by what they do to try to keep us safe.

Tomorrow is Wednesday and another day with my trainer at the gym.  It should be interesting. 

Good Night!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Fountain of Sorrow 9-9-12 (My nephew’s birthday)

Fountain of Sorrow 9-9-12 (My nephew’s birthday)

The other day a friend posted a message about her August.  Her daughter Katie (Kathryn) passed away 5 years ago, I believe on August 16th.  So August was an intense month for her.  I’m kind of glad that Kathryn’s passing was the same month as her birthday and Richards.  That may seem weird but it will allow us not to be so focused on her death because we will have two special births to celebrate.  It should ease the pain.  My friend posted this below, she is referring to the month of August and the fun they had on vacation while this is the month of Katie’s passing.

Yet there was, running underneath all of the fun, a “fountain of sorrow.” It made me think of Jackson Browne’s song of the same name.
“I’m just one or two years and a couple of changes behind you
In my lessons at love’s pain and heartache school
Where if you feel too free and you need something to remind you
There’s this loneliness springing up from your life
Like a fountain from a pool
“Fountain of sorrow, fountain of light
You’ve known that hollow sound of your own steps in flight…
“You’ve had to hide sometimes but now you’re all right…
“You’ve had to struggle, you’ve had to fight
To keep understanding and compassion in sight…” - Jackson Browne, Fountain of Sorrow
Gregg & I struggled “to keep understanding and compassion in sight” last month, with the anniversary of Katie’s passing and all of the emotions that come with it. We had some difficult – make that painful – conversations.
Those conversations and their aftermath left me thinking about Jackson Browne’s words describing a pool of sorrow, or an aquifer, running underneath the surface of our lives. This is how it seems, sometimes, since Katie’s passing; it certainly didn’t apply to us before that. We can go along just fine for quite a while (“now you’re all right”), and then, suddenly, “there’s this loneliness springing up from your life, like a fountain from a pool” – and it threatens to drown us, temporarily.
That is why the practice of gratitude is so vital to my survival now. Practicing gratitude helps me to reflect on my blessings, to become aware of them, to connect with God (the source of all goodness), and this lifts my heart. You could say that gratitude is a “fountain of light.” I have to practice it – it is not automatic; it is a pleasant discipline, but a discipline, nonetheless. The more I practice, the more natural (and easier) it becomes.
For me (Carol) there certainly is that “Fountain of Sorrow” and you just don’t know when it is going to spring up.  It’s always there just below the surface.  That loneliness is so strong and pulls so hard.  It makes your heart ach so much.  But sometimes I’m all right. I don’t think I have found that fountain of light.  Maybe a glimpse now and then.  And as for the understanding, it is definitely not there.  I keep talking to God but I don’t feel that he answers.  I believed so strongly that he was going to use Kathryn as an example of his great healing power but he didn’t.  Today I told him that he let satin win.  I can’t understand why he would allow satin to win.  But he did.  You see I just don’t have that understanding.
I also do what my friend does, I practice gratitude.  It isn’t something that is automatic and even less automatic to someone who cannot understand why such a loving person was ripped from their lives at such a young age.  I do have so many things to be grateful for but it is hard to think of those things when your loss is so great.  But I do practice gratitude too.  It is the thing that keeps me from completely falling apart.  If I didn’t remind myself of all the wonderful things in my life I wouldn’t have much of a life.  I also look around and see our beautiful Earth and all there is to enjoy.  There are so many good things in this world and I have been blessed to have so many good people in my life.  Life is Good.  Kathryn knew it.  She savored life and enjoyed it so much.  She even made a poster that hangs in her room that says “Good Life”

There it is!  She knew she had a good life.  It was a beautiful life that she lived and made and shared with all of us.  She was beautiful in every way.

Thursday I started to get real sick.  Oh the joys of working with a bunch of kids and being confined to a room.  I still went over to my friend’s house to help her set up for her Friday night bar-b-q.  By time I got home I was beat.  But remember I am trying to be a better friend.

On Friday I went to my friend’s bar-b-q.  I got there kind of late because I was at work late.  It was a nice little party but I didn’t stay very long.  Being all stuffed up is not good or fun.

My Mom spent the night Friday night so we had a great morning Saturday just chatting.   We certainly don’t get to do this enough. 

I was supposed to go to the Pediatric Ride for Kids on Sunday.  I was still not feeling great and needed to sleep in so I didn’t go.  I feel bad because I know they made Panda patches for their motorcycle jackets and they were going to give us some.  I’m sure Christine will get some for us.  They also make poster as you drive into the event of the kids.  They were going to have one of Kathryn this year.  Just think, last year at this event I spoke and told the crowd that Kathryn told me to tell them that she was doing great and at college just being a normal college kid.  They all clapped,  laughed and smiled.  I kind of feel bad for missing the event but I did really need to get well before a full week of school.

The long Island Medium is on tonight and I plan on watching it.  So I need to go.

May you all remember all of the good things you have and be grateful for.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

School 9-5-12

School 9-5-12

School started on the 4th for us.  The first day went well but it isn’t one of my favorite days.  Going over rules and supply needed is boring for me and the kids.  It’s all fine because it’s about all they can handle on day one any how.  Most of them are tired and not use to getting up early just like the staff.  My students are great!  I even received a very nice email from a Mom sharing her son’s comments about his first day and me.  It really made me smile.  My fellow staff members were good about checking on me to make sure I was doing ok.  Thank you to you who read this.

I had my students will out a form I title “All About Me”.  One of the questions is: What so you like to do?  I shared these things about myself in my cover letter.  Any how one of my girls really took this to heart.  They took the papers home to finish and returned them today.  This girl had a list.  She ran out of room on the lines I had provided and listed more on the back.  She filled about half of the back of the paper too.  As I read through her list I thought about Kathryn.  I thought about her notebooks that listed over 500 things that she liked.  There were many things in my student’s list that were in Kathryn’s list.  Pancakes, stickers, taking showers, staring at clouds, playing with dogs, going to the zoo, and the one that got me big was petting cats.  There were many many more.  Petting cats, well Kathryn would like to see how many different cats she could pet while on a walk.  If there were several cats in a neighborhood that she could pet it was deemed a good neighborhood.  If not it was a not so good neighborhood.  It was a good thing I read this paper after school as it made me cry.  The memories that come in to mind are good but it is hard to think that creating more with Kathryn is over.   Sitting under trees, drawing, getting cards, getting gifts, dancing, making new friends, laughing the pain away, making fire in the fire place, eating outside, talking in riddles, hanging out with my family, listen to music, make people laugh and make people smile.  I could go on.  If we all were like this it would be a wonderful world.

These are all just simple things that should make all of us happy.  Unfortunately some of us are too busy working for the all mighty dollar to realize that time and simple things are all we need.  I’m trying to be more simple, more patient, kinder and a better friend.  Kathryn’s death has made a huge impact on how I see things.  Some things just are so important and other things are now much more important.    This may sound silly but one of those things is allowing a big old spider to live in my living room.  Usually I would have killed him immediately.  Not now.  He is still alive and as big as can be.  I may even try to catch him and just set him outside.  That’s what Kathryn would want me to do.  You should have seen Richard try to shoo a spider outside.  It ran at him and made him jump.  It was so funny to watch.  But, he did get the spider outside.

I had several comments about my $10 thrift store dress today.  Good comments and comments about dressing nice.  I find it fun to do after spending almost a year in sweats or yoga pants and t-shirts.  It feels good to dress nice.  I appreciate the compliments too.

Well, day three tomorrow.  Real math lessons and all.  My yearbook class worked really hard and well together today to come up with a theme and a cover design.  The progress they made in one day was amazing.  They also worked so well together and were so polite to listen to each other’s ideas.  They were agreeable and just darn nice.  The yearbook rep was so impressed.  She said she had not seen such an agreeable group in all of her years.  I’m proud of them!

I’m off to bed as that darn alarm goes off so early.  I need some sleep to make sure I don’t’ get grumpy.  I’m looking forward to another great day at Columbia!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Labor Day 9-3-12

Labor Day 9-3-12

The best part of our weekend was our dinner the other evening.  Richard worked Ski Bonkers at the South Center Mall Sunday and Monday so he can down for dinner and spent the night Sunday night.  Bee came down too and her Mom and her Mom’s boyfriend.  It was a very nice dinner party for 6.  Kathryn came up in the conversation as we discussed eating different foods. While Kathryn was in Bellingham Richard and Bee would cook for her a lot.  They both watched out that she would eat and eat good food.  A time came up when Bee and Richard made homemade Mac and Cheese and Kathryn asked if they could make her some from the box.  Then we talked about her favorite soup being Lipton chicken noodle.  The kind that comes in a little envelope and you just add hot water and let it sit for a while.  Probably not very nutritious.  It was hard to get her to eat well.  But when we were in Houston she did a great job of eating good food.

As we were also talking in the morning (Bee, Richard and I), the discussion of Down Syndrome being correlated to the age of the father.  I wonder if they have really looked at parents with children who have brain tumors.  I have never been asked for any info or permission to look into anything like this.  You would think they would be working hard to find why some children get brain tumors and others don’t.  Could it be correlated to the age of the parent?  Could it be correlated to infertility drugs?  I just think they need to look more deeply and earnestly for a cause so they can stop tumors from happening in the first place.  Because once they happen it is devastating for everyone involved.  Just my thoughts.  I wish I were younger and could get into medicine and work on this myself.

Richard headed out for work today at Ski Bonkers.  Bee stayed with me for the day.  We worked on getting tickets for our trip to Hawaii in July.  It took a while and really working the system but we did it.  It was just as if my Kathryn were sitting next to me helping me maneuver through the Internet to find the best deal.  She always helped me with the computer stuff.  Our last trip to Hawaii I believe Kathryn helped find the tickets we used to get there and back.  Bee was very helpful and quick.  She really knows her stuff when it comes to booking flights.   I’m lucky to have such a sweet young lady in my life and my son’s life. 

As I looked at the yard I noticed the flowers are changing and the air is cool.  Fall is coming and then it will be grey and I am not looking forward to rain and clouds.  I don't want the weather to bring me down.  It never has in the past but little things effect my life now and weather could.  I will just do my best to stay busy as this is the only way not to let my thoughts cause me to be down and depressed.  Busy, busy busy... and tomorrow I will go sign up at the gym and then plan how I will work out with my friend Laura and also walk with my friend Sue.  Between the two of them I should be working out at least 5 days a week.  Not only do I need to stay busy I also need to drop about 10 to 15 pounds.  So, staying busy will have several benefits.  Spending time with my friends will be really good too.

Well, tomorrow is the first day of school.  I have worked three days but this is the first day with a classroom full of kids five times throughout the day.  I’m ready at least I have all of my things ready for the day.  I will have a hard time with the parent letter so I will have the kids read it to themselves.  Some will catch on to the fact that I just lost my most precious daughter to cancer in February and others, well it will just go over their heads.  They are just 13 and 14 year olds after all.  I always allow questions and it will be interesting to see if I get any about Kathryn.  Probably not but maybe.  It’s certainly ok if they do have questions.  I don’t want to throw this at them and not allow them a chance to ask

Off to bed since it will be an early morning!  Must be on time or even early to school.