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.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Seconds 12/29/13

Seconds 12/29/13 It is the second year for many things. As I sat down to write this I could smell something a bit different. I really believe it is Kathryn here with me. She knows how hard it is for me to write but how good it is for me to do it as well. Thanksgiving was not difficult even though it was our second Thanksgiving without Kathryn. It was the first time that I had gone to my brother Pat’s for Thanksgiving. It was nice to be there. After Thanksgiving I had a chat with my Principal to see how things went for him. He said it was ok. We talked about his nephew and how he may not be dealing with his father’s death in the best way. I said that everyone deals with it differently and some choose ways that aren’t so good. They hurt themselves and unknowingly or not meaning to hurt those around them. It is hard to watch others deal with a loss in a manner that is self-destructive. We also talked about the memories. I have tons of memories in my house. I would never take them down or hide them. Kathryn was and is part of my life and who I am. I gave birth to her and loved her and still love her with all of my heart. As I hung Christmas lights outside I thought of Kathryn. She loved to put lots of lights up. The more the better. She would climb in the trees to hang the lights and even get a friend to help. She always helped me put the ornaments on the tree too. We would hang them and then reorganize them until they were perfectly spread around the tree. I made cookies too but not the roll out sugar cookies which were her favorites to make. I didn’t have a kitchen until a few days before Christmas so that was out. Besides, it just isn’t as much fun to do without someone to share it with. My principal also sent me a video clip of Joe Bidden talking with parents and family members of soldiers who had died. He said, “I will send it to you but you don’t want to watch now.” He knew it would bring tears to my eyes. I didn’t know that Joe Bidden had lost his entire family in a car accident. His wife and children all gone in one accident. How devistating! He told the parents about his story and he also shared that he was a strong Catholic at the time. Many people of faith have found it hard to believe that a loving God could allow something so tragic to happen. How could the God we were taught about who loves us unconditionally take our children? How could he allow our children to be ripped away from us like this? We were given this beautiful gift of a child and then to have it taken away… Some people stop believing in a loving God after such a loss. I for one have only come to believe more. I still don’t understand why my child was taken but I will some day. Joe Bidden also made an interesting comment. He said that now when you think of your loved one tears come and then maybe a smile will appear. He promised that there will be a day that you think of your loved one and a smile will come first. Maybe just a smile and no tears. It is true, that day does come. It is so strange how I can talk about Kathryn and not shed a tear and just share her joy and other times I just break down and cry. I can’t get a single word out without crying. We also talked about feeling guilty about being happy. You do feel that way. If you find yourself singing or whistling you stop for a moment and think that you should be sad for the loss of your loved one not happy. But I think finding those moments of joy are good. Our loved ones would never want us to sit around feeling sad. They would want us to embrace life and live life with happiness and joy. Just a day or so before Christmas break one of my students was looking at the pictures on my wall. She asked me, “Are Cody and Kathryn married?” There are a couple of cute pictures of her and Cody up on the wall. I told her they were BFF and Eternity. I told her that they had vow that if they both were unmarried at 30 they would get married to each other. But I said, Kathryn isn’t here any more to do that. You could see the look in her face as she remembered that Kathryn had died. Her heart sunk. I said it has been really hard on Cody. He hasn’t been able to come over to our house since Kathryn died. He has made some bad choices but I think he is getting back on track. He lost his very best friend and his rock. He could go to Kathryn with anything and she would be there for him. I received this quote recently. I thought it was very fitting and true. “To rejoice in another's prosperity, is to give content to your own lot: to mitigate another's grief, is to alleviate or dispel your own.” ― Thomas Edwards On my Dad’s birthday 12/19 I was at the blood bank giving blood. I noticed that it was very busy. There was a group that seemed to be together. One woman was unable to give because of low iron. In the back room where you give blood there was young man and across from him this jolly man trying to keep him smiling. This was his father. The Dad was doing his best to keep things light. I know how you try as the parent to make things better for your children. Their 15 year old son and brother was in the ICU. He had a rare tumor on his lung. They had to take the lung and they were all donating blood to help. Like the aunt said, “This is the only thing we could think of to do to help.” They wanted to do something but there really isn’t much anyone can do but be there. She told me that Monday 12/23 would be the day that they decide on things or know what would be happening. It was like Monday was going to be the day the doctors told them if he would be able to survive or not. I thought of this family and wanted to comfort them but I too was at a loss of what to do. I didn’t even know their names. All I could do was ask God to bring them comfort and peace. Feeling sad and missing Kathryn more this year than ever before. I jotted this down to remember what I was feeling. I know I had been cranky and tired for the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas break. I hadn’t been sleeping and crying a bit more than usual about Kathryn. She brought so much joy to us. I think this year was harder than the first. I don’t know why. The pain fades but never goes away. It is our second holiday season without her. As we have been going through things (forced to by the flood) we keep finding things of Kathryn’s. I swear she left things for us to find. I found something and now I don’t remember what it was but I jotted down “Life with Happiness and Joy.” So, Scott and I were out shopping for Christmas gifts and there were these beautiful ornaments. There was one that was so perfect for my Mom and two that Kathryn would have loved. I thought about being a weirdo buying one for my daughter who had died but then I thought that I should just do it. If she would have been shopping with me she would have talked me into buying it. She could talk me into just about anything. She made everyone melt, especially my Dad. When we finally bought our Christmas tree the man there knew of Camp Goodtimes. He worked for the Rural Ambulance Service. I think I messed up the name. They do a fundraiser for camp each year and buy a table at the wine auction. He also knew of Kathryn’s ride home. He heard about the truck getting stuck in our driveway. You don’t hear about ambulances getting stuck in the snow or ice too often. It was quit a connection that we made. Almost two years later and the tacks are still there on the road from the ambulance. This was also the second year that I adopted a family for Christmas. This is through and organization called Candlelighters. This organization helps families who have children going through cancer treatment and have financial needs. I will do this every year. It was very important to Kathryn that we always picked a name or two or three from the giving tree. They adopted out 58 families this year. My friend and I went in on it together. Her daughters went crazy shopping. They received donations from church members and by the time we were ready to deliver the gifts we had four big bags full. When I first read the list of items the kids wanted it sounded familiar. Then I read the names. This was the same family as I had last year. Another second. When it came time to deliver the gifts I could not get hold of the family. The phone numbers I was given wouldn’t work. I finally found out that the little one was back in the hospital. He has leukimia. He was at Mary Bridge. So my friend, her 2 daughters and I all went to Mary Bridge on the 24th. The three of them headed back to the room and I stood at the reception desk. I just couldn’t go at that time. Then the receptionist and I were talking and she noticed the tears filling my eyes and handed me a box of tissues. I explained my situation. I shared how two years ago we were in ICU with Kathryn. She shared a bit with me about the family. The child (21 months) is terminal. His mother hadn’t been there for a while. The family doesn’t visit much. I asked who visits with him. She said, volunteers, nurses and people like us. He calls everyone Mama. I had to suck it up at that point. I knew I would be very mad at myself if I hadn’t spent at least a little time with him. When I went back to the room there were my friends playing and laughing with him. I joined in for a little peek-a-boo. He laughed and giggled. The nurse recognized my name and even called me Kathryn at one point. The doctor for this child is Kahtryn’s doctor. The receptionist also told me that it was not uncommon for families to stop visiting when they know their child is terminal. Wow, I know how much it meant to Kathryn to have me lay right next to her. She didn’t want to ever be alone. I told the receptionist that I couldn’t even bring myself to leave the hospital. I actually had a small panic attack when the elevator doors opened and I was supposed to go inside and head home to take a shower. I couldn’t step foot into that elevator. There was no way I could leave Kathryn for that long. Just so you know I didn’t go dirty either. I took showers in her bathroom. I hope to visit our little friend again. My friend went there on Christmas day and was really quizzed about who she was and what not. She had just missed the Dad and the child was sleeping. I was glad to hear that Dad had been there. I know the child had reached out several times to be held while we were there. It is hard to do when they are hooked up to several IVs. He was getting platelets while we were there. I thought to myself, this is where my blood goes. My blood goes to babies because I am CMV negative. I’m also O negative so anyone can get my blood. I can’t help but think of that poor child leaving this Earth and not being in the arms of one of his parents when he goes. I know that the nurses will be there for him. They are wonderful people. I didn’t mention that the receptionist asked me if we feel Kathryn’s presence. Yes, I told her of some of our experiences like the blender going off. Then I remembered that just the night before that her cat Klyde was going crazy. He kept looking out like he was looking at someone. Then he was chasing something (nothing there). He even got in our bathtub and chased something around and around. We both looked at each other and said, “Kathryn must be playing with Klyde.” She is here right now. I smell her again. That’s because we are talking about her with Mitch and his girlfriend. I was finally able to put my house back together starting on the 20th. I couldn’t touch the kitchen until the 23rd though. There was so much to do that I had no time to think about being sad. We had outside lights to put up, a Christmas tree to buy and decorate, the stuff from the china hutch to put back, all the decorations to put up around the house and presents to buy and wrap. I had bought a few things but needed to go out one more time. Christmas was perfect. We went to Seattle with Bee’s family for Christmas Eve. My Mom and Scott’s sister and family were with us too. It was a fun night. On Christmas Day we had early morning stocking opening and then a break to do a few things for dinner prep. Then we opened gifts. Richard passed them out. Richard thought Kathryn would like the ornament I picked out for her. I gave him one from our vacation in Hawaii. He gave Scott and I each something with a Panda. I received two Panda covers for my phone and Scott got a Panda tin of cookies. I’m really glad to see that he embraces the memory of Kathryn. He also bought me these beautiful hand painted wine glasses. Something he knew I would love. This was a very relaxing Christmas. It didn’t feel rushed or fast. Sometimes it feels like Christmas just zips on by but this year I was able to savor the moment. I enjoyed the time with my family and everyone seemed to enjoy each other. It was perfect. After Christmas I think I am feeling a bit depressed. All of the hustle is gone and it is quiet and there is no schedule to meet. I think not having a schedule is the hardest part. I think that allows the depression to creep in. I’m ok but I know it is there. I think about retiring and wondering if I can handle it. I know I will never fully retire. I will have to do something. I will do something part time after I leave teaching. I look forward to a good 2014. I hope to keep Kathryn’s spirit alive and live as she lived. She loved with her whole heart. She shared with others to help them better themselves. She cared for all of us far more than she cared for herself. She gave and when she received she was grateful and thankful. She knew she had a good life and wanted those around her to have a good life too. I hope to become the person my daughter was while she was here on this Earth. I can’t think of a better person for me to want to be like than Kathryn. “A healthy attitude is contagious but don't wait to catch it from others. Be a carrier.” ― Tom Stoppard This was another quote that I thought was a good one. I hope for all of you a wonderful 2014. May it be filled with love, happiness, joy, and health. Love to all, Carol

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