Reading about Colton who is a young boy at children’s with leukemia. I believe he is on his second bone marrow transplant. His mother writes about how she wishes she had just those little things in life to worry about and not cancer in her child. You know those things like breaking a nail or maybe being late to an appointment or burning your toast in the morning. Well, when your child gets cancer those things don’t even matter any more. You don’t think about the dust on the picture frames, if your nails are filed or if you have done the laundry. Forget about shopping or going out, your first concern is for your child and everything else is an after thought. I’m sorry if I have made any of my friends feel left out or not in my thoughts in the past few years but Kathryn was always there on my mind. She was always first because I was told that this tumor would take her life when we first discovered it on April 27th 2010. If she was home from school I made myself available to be with her. I didn’t care what I had to push aside because I knew this could be the last time I did this or that with her. Having things like this on your mind makes everything else fuzzy thoughts in the background. So, if you know of someone with a loved one fighting cancer, understand that they are not all there. They are constantly thinking about their loved one. They are in fear and hoping and praying all of the time. Their thoughts are consumed so they may not hear you or understand your needs. This is even more intense for a parent of a child with cancer or their close brother or sister.
This makes me wonder just how Richard may feel. He stuffs it all inside and tries to bury his pain. He over works himself to avoid feeling what he feels about losing his sister and best friend. I wish he would just open up and cry on my shoulder but I know he won’t.
Yesterday (Friday) I had a parent come in after school to learn some math. As we were talking she asked about a tutor. She asked me if I could think of a student that was at the high school that would be a good tutor. Maybe someone I had in the last two years. I told her I wasn’t here at Columbia last year and that my daughter had passed away so my mind was completely blank of any names from the last two years. You see that is what I mean. I taught for that whole year while Kathryn was on treatment but my mind wasn’t really there. And then in the fall of 2011 she had more symptoms and I was absent from everything but thinking about ways we could save her. No thoughts about anyone or anything but Kathryn.
So, Christmas is just around the corner and more and more things remind me of Kathryn. Christmas was her favorite time of year. As I drive by my neighbors house each day I see the paper snowflakes made by the girls. Kathryn would want to go up to their house and teach them how to make round, not square snowflakes. Her friends had made snowflakes last year for her room and she said, “Oh Anna, you need to learn how to not make square snowflakes.” She knew exactly which snowflakes her good friend Anna made.
Our Christmas card is ok this year. We took a photo with our Panda hats on. Even Princess wore one. Klyde wasn’t around so Scott picked a picture of Kathryn holding Klyde. She was turning 20 and we were in Bellingham for her birthday and Richard’s 24th birthday. We had a nice time but they even had a bigger celebration when we weren’t there. You know those college kids!
I told my Mom that I didn’t want to go to the Nutcracker this year. That was our three some tradition. Three generations of ladies dressing up to go to the Nutcracker and then out to dinner. We went last year. I think dinner was frustrating for Kathryn that night. She had a hard time using a fork because her hand didn’t work well. I do think she enjoyed the Nutcracker and then on our way to dinner we watched the boat parade. It just happened to be that night. I don’t know that I will ever go to the Nutcracker again. It was really something Kathryn loved to do and with out her it just isn’t the same.
Zoolights – Well 2010 was the last time I went to zoolights. Can you guess who went with me? Yes, Kathryn. I have the picture on the wall in my classroom of us heading out to go to Zoolights. We were all bundled up with stocking caps and warm coats. I do plan on going to this. I will take my Mom and maybe someone else.
Kathryn’s friend sent me a note about how she found a folder of email from her. She said she could hear Kathryn’s voice and laughter as she read them. She could go back to sitting in Starbucks with her and planning the games and activities for the Western Washington University Relay for life. She loved to plan events. She was great at it too. We both loved having people over and enjoying their company. We had so many parties over the years.
This season of Joy is really difficult. Kathryn’s favorite time of year other than going to Camp Goodtimes. I hope I handle Christmas morning ok. It will be the first one without her. Our family tradition will be different.
Monday marks another one of those days. On December 3rd last year we flew home from Houston. Kathryn told me at the airport, “I can do this without any help.” She was talking about getting on the moving sidewalk. She did do it all by herself. I was so excited. Every time I saw some little improvement my hope and joy took a huge leap. We made the trip home just fine. Even through security with all of her drugs and needles, syringes and pump. All of these things had to fly with us not in baggage. We sent a bunch of things home in the mail like clothes and some things we bought down there. We did leave a huge Teddy bear in Houston. One of the workers at the Hotel gave it to Kathryn. It was so big we would have had to buy it a seat. We explained why we couldn’t take it and gave it back to the girl. We told her she could regift it so someone. She had someone all picked out. We also shared our Thanksgiving dinner with her since she had to work. She really appreciated it.
Lots of memories coming up about the last few weeks of Life with Kathryn. Painful – but also wonderful to have special memories.
Well, my niece is now home and on her way to a full recovery. She went into the hospital the day before Thanksgiving. She had a lung infection. Not a good thing but they were able to take care of it.
Love to all,