Saturday, February 18, 2012

I'm back from a break

Connor and Aunt Karen - August 2009
I know I technically blogged a few times while I was on a blogging break, but most of those were scheduled posts that I had written weeks ago (aside from the sick one). I needed a week to decompress, grieve, and give myself space and time to figure out what I wanted to say. It's been a week and I am nowhere near organized in my thoughts. But here goes.

My Aunt, my daddy's big sister, was in our lives for as long as I can remember. We spent Christmases, family gatherings, Thanksgiving's, summer weekends, and other special occasions together. My cousins, my siblings, and I created clubs, put on plays, and played lots of games together over the years. In my adulthood, my aunt and I sent emails to each other discussing things like me becoming a mom for the first time, discussing what it was like for me to lose a baby, and then phone calls talking about me being pregnant with twins. Almost every time we went down to Southern California to visit friends, my aunt and I would email back and forth to discuss when we could come and visit them for a lunch, dinner, breakfast, or just a couple hour catch-up session.

When I would see her, she would eagerly, but very politely beg us to hold Connor, or on our last visit with her, the twins. She would cuddle, rock, and love on our kids like she was the proudest grandma (or, in actuality, great aunt) and it was amazing to see her with them.

Sadly shortly after our visit in October, and I'm sure I'm getting my dates wrong, we discovered that after church one day she went to the hospital and they had found some tumors. After weeks and months of updates, radiation, surgeries, doctor appointments, a million prayers, a visit to a conference, countless emails, and phone conversations and messages passed on from my dad, we found out on February 8th that she had gone to Heaven.

I am not going to tell you how heartbroken I am, because the grief I'm experiencing is nothing compared to her kids and husband. I'm not going to tell you about melanoma and what a HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE disease it is and how you should wear sunscreen (because a. I just told you and b. I wrote a post about it HERE when I was talking about Rebecca's sweet, sweet mom). I'm not going to talk to you about how unfair this is or how healthy she was (seriously!), or how I pray every night that she has found a whole list of friends and family in Heaven and how I hope she is loving on Cole for me until I get there. I'm not going to tell you how utterly devastated I am that she never got to be a grandma or see her babies get married. (And now I'm going to need to take a break to gather myself)...

Instead, I'm going to tell you she was a wonderful Aunt...what a wonderful mom she was...and what a wonderful wife I can only imagine she was. I'm going to tell you that she made a difference here on earth. I'm going to tell you that she was loved. That I loved her. That my husband loved her. That my dad loved her beyond belief. I'm going to tell you that I don't understand why things happen, but I understand that every person here in earth is only on loan and that every minute we have with the people we love should be cherished. I'm going to tell you that I know she is looking down on her kids with such pride and will be with them when they meet people they fall in love with, on their wedding days, in the delivery room when they have their first children, in the moments sprinkled with magical fairy dust and butterflies, and in the ordinary moments we think lack glitter and tears. I'm going to tell you that I am consciously going to live my life differently - laugh more often, love unconditionally, and regularly stop myself from putting the mundane before the extraordinary.

Next week we'll be honoring and celebrating her life and I want so much for my kids to know who she was, how she loved them, and how special she was to me. A couple nights ago I was having trouble sleeping and I went into my email and did a search of her email address to see some of the emails we exchanged over the years. A particular email after Cole passed away struck me; she said more than once "we're so sorry we couldn't be there for you...we love you so much..." I know I tried to assure her that I didn't for one second think that she wasn't there for us or didn't want to be here for Cole's memorial, but I don't know if I did enough to tell her I love her. Did I tell her that she WAS there for us? That all we wanted was people praying for us and thinking of Cole? Did I tell her that she didn't need to fly out here, because an email saying how much she loved us was all I needed from her? Did we tell her how grateful we were that she would hold all of our babies and love on them like they were her own? Did I tell her how I cried when I pulled out the blankets that she and Kira had handmade for the twins in the perfect colors to match the nursery, because it was so sweet - the perfect gift? Is she looking down and has she seen that I have gone in several times with the intention to pull those same blankets out of the nursery - because I want to preserve them?

If I've learned anything in my grief with Cole, it's that I don't have answers. I don't know how to not have regret. But thankfully I can say that I also have peace. I know how important it is to ask those questions, to speak them outloud, and remind yourself how important it is to say the things we really feel before it is too late. I am thankful that I was able to have such a meaningful relationship with her as an adult; I only wish we had started a lot sooner.

To my sweet cousins and uncle, who have been so brave, so selfless, so strong - I love you. To my beautiful Aunt Karen, I miss you. Please, please find Cole, and your mother and father, and tell them I can't wait to see them soon. I love you. To God, please wrap her in your arms, give her strength and comfort, and cherish one of your most treasured Angels.

August 2009 - holding Connor
At Connor's Baby Shower (7 months pregnant) with Aunt Karen in May 2009
Isabella and Aunt Karen October of 2011


Katie Taylor said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

What a great sentiment! She is and will be greatly missed. It was so wonderful seeing her with Connor, unfortunately I never saw her with the twins, but they will all know how much she loved them. It's only natural to feel a sense of remorse When someone passes, but I do believe that she knew how much we care about her and if there truly is a heaven, she will appreciate that she will continue to be in our thoughts. My heart goes out to our Cousins, our Uncle, and Dad! I am glad I will get the chance to see everyone soon and I will be there to hopefully offer some comfort in saying goodbye to such an amazing woman. Love you!

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