March 3, 2013
Last Sunday (2-24) I watched a video that a friend had posted and it made me think of team Bradley and our efforts to save Kathryn and Kathryn’s strive to live. It was about a veteran who had been injured from too many jumps from the plane. His knees were toast. He was told that he would never walk unassisted again. He believed what he was told. He gained weight, and a lot of weight. One of the pictures even showed him in a wheel chair. He used crutches most of the time. But then he found someone who believed in him. He worked with him and this man worked hard. He lost weight and failed many times at standing up or doing different yoga positions. But then he did things one at a time. Small steps to lead to the finally result. He walked on his own. He not only walked on his own but he could now run too. The whole story was about never giving up. We have a T-shirt hanging in Kathryn’s room that reads, “Never Give Up.” Richard even wrote in his letter that he had to write to get back into college last spring about how we weren’t willing to give up. We never gave up until Kathryn took her last breath. We tried everything and Kathryn did too. She worked so hard to be able to go up and down the stairs at home. She would practice walking around the circle in our house so she could be strong. She never gave up.
I also read this story about a 6 year old that lost his dog. Well, They had the dog put to sleep because he was so old and in pain that could not be relieved. The parents had the boy attend the euthanasia and he handled it just fine. As the parents and the vet talked, the fact came up about animals living a much shorter life than humans. The little boy piped up and said I know why. He said, “People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life — like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?” The Six-year-old continued,
”Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.”
Kathryn learned quickly how to live a good life. She learned quickly to love everyone and accept them all just the way they were. If they wanted to be better in some way or another she would help them achieve their goals. She also loved herself and that gave her the ability to love others. She believed in herself and that helped her to believe in others and help them believe in themselves. She cared about others and never spoke a mean word about anyone. She knew how to enjoy life. How to make snow angles, lay in the grass on a warm summer’s day, pick flowers, have a cup of coffee that would last two hours over a great conversation, She learned all of this very quickly. She may have even been born with this knowledge and kind heart.
Speaking of dogs, Princess who was Kathryn’s saving grace back in 1999 is now 14 years old. Remember at the ripe old age of 8 Kathryn told us, “I don’t know if I would have ever come home if you didn’t get me Princess.” She was speaking about coming home form the hospital. Sometimes Princess acts like 14 and it scares me. She was getting a bit stiff and having a hard time walking up the stairs. I had to help her. Scott took her to the vet and they gave her a cold laser treatment. I tell you it works so well. She is now like a young dog again. They also had us up the amount of aspirin we give her. She is doing great!
Monday was the 25th. Every time I wrote the date I thought about last year. This was the day of Kathryn’s celebration of life. I write the date at least 4 times a day for each of my math classes and type it at least 4 times as well. Each time I wrote it I paused a bit to think. Just a short unnoticed pause. I was so busy that day that I really couldn’t think about it. I had the gym right after school and then two hours of tutoring that evening. The celebration of some ones life is kind of like acknowledging that the person is never coming back (at least in the earthly form). It’s like the final good bye. But we have not let it be this. We are keeping Kathryn’s spirit and story a live and will forever. Our friends, the Durham’s, are a great help by devoting time and energy to help raise funds to support camp Goodtimes in Kathryn’s honor. They are supplying each child with a pair of water shoes, a mess bag for the shoes, a panda pin and a card with Kathryn’s story. This is Matt’s family and we are so excited about them helping keeping Kathryn’s spirit alive.
About Wednesday I received an email from a coworker asking if she could talk to me about her niece and her brother. She made it clear that she didn’t want to make me feel uncomfortable and it was only if I felt ok talking with her. Of course I was open to talk. He brother had just lost his 21-year-old daughter in October or November. She died form kidney disease. Our stories are similar in a way. However, I feel that they suffered much more than we ever did. And for that I am so sorry for this family. She didn’t know what she could do for her brother. I said her keeping in touch just checking in is great. I told her everyone is different but I know I don’t want people to avoid me or conversations about Kathryn because they are afraid that I will cry. Yes, I probably will cry a little, but I love to talk about Kathryn. She also asked about raising funds for the family and I said that is a very good idea. They will probably never tell you just how much it all costs and they probably didn’t have a huge life insurance policy for her. They could use the financial help I’m sure. So, she was going to set up a bank account for donations. I also told her I know that I had many days and still do have days, just not as often, when I can’t seem to pull myself from the couch. It’s depression and it just holds you down. Maybe a house cleaning or something like that. I know that having a dirty house just makes me even more depressed and I had friends and family who helped with this. It did make me feel better.
On Friday I was talking to a friend when she received a phone call. I could tell it was not a good call immediately. It was her Dad and he was calling to tell her that his cancer had returned. He wasn’t going to tell anyone but he finally decided that he should. We hugged and talked about it. I think she was there with me so I could comfort her. I did my best. She did say at least my Dad has had a good life. He is older. I think the reality of Kathryn’s short life may have helped her that day. Knowing that she didn’t even get to become an independent adult may have made her feel lucky in a way. But still you don’t want to see your Dad go through this or think of losing your Dad. It was hard to watch my Dad slip away. I think even harder for my brothers. I will be watching to see if she is doing ok. She has a rough road a head.
I’m really excited about the fundraiser for Camp Goodtimes. It is the Wine Auction. There will also be dinner and dancing. We have several friends attending and my brother Pat and his wife Gin. This will make it even more fun. Scott and I will be staying in Seattle that Friday and Saturday night.
Today is Sunday March 3, 2013 and we may finally get to taking down the Christmas stuff in Kathryn’s room. It isn’t a big task; just one that Scott and I don’t really want to do. But we will get it done. Yes, it is just about spring and this is a little beyond procrastination. I guess her room is out of sight most of the time so it doesn’t bother me. Give us strength to do this!
I may even get to the yard today. I would like that more than anything. Yard work is my escape. The fresh air is good for me too.
Hope your day and week goes well. Remember to love like a dog, that unconditional love. Live like a dog, enjoying the simple things in life like a walk or a ride in the car. We could all learn a little from our animals.