Someone once commented me to that Kai had such a tender heart and could be so kind to others. I admit, through the mom bias, I too thought he was such a kind soul, but also (through the other mom bias) knew his temper tantrum kicking and screaming side :-). But, the truth is, as Shawn and I are recalling our memories of Kai and trying to write them down I am struck by the many memories I have where Kai showed such tenderness to others – his baby sister, his friends, to Shawn and I. How amazing a spirit is that. What a great teacher in such a small little boy.
When I remembered that comment about a tender heart, I also feel like that word describes what my heart feels like right now, but in a different way than what was said about Kai. The veil of shock is starting to remove itself and our new reality is becoming clear – Kai went Home and we will miss him every single day of our time here on earth. The sharpness of this reality feels almost like a sting and at times I wince because it’s like it somehow truly physically hurts – it hurts my tender heart. I wish he was just taking a nap right now (or having “quiet time” which meant jumping on his bed while singing songs in a whisper so that he was being “quiet”), I wish I could go to the grocery store with him (the Buddy Bucks store he called it… HEB shoppers you know what I mean :-), give him a bath, read books, fix him a snack, so so many things. And we’ve talked about how we grieve that he won’t be able to experience so many things here even though we know his experiences now are so much greater than anything here on earth. In these moments when the memories, the “I just wish…”, and the sadness seem almost suffocating, we’ve tried to get outside. Yesterday we sat out in the sun, and the absolutely amazing day God created, and God and Kai felt so close – they were close, I know it. And Maya, Shawn and I smiled together.
And yes, it’s not the same – our hearts will always ache in pain as long as we draw breath in, but maybe our lesson right now is that while our hearts may be tender to us, we can transform that pain and that definition of “tender” to be more like our little guy – to be kind and tender hearted to others. I think the other thing I’ve realized through this is just how.much.suffering. there is in this broken world. I would get overwhelmed with this in the past, but it is even more real to me now. But, then I feel a little crazy because I can see light now because I know love and community and hope can help overcome each of those situations. I think of each one of you who stepped in to walk with us and while it couldn’t take away the pain and suffering, it for darn sure showed that Love won this fight, hands down, no question.
I know each of us have parts of our heart that have been hurt through our experiences in life, and sometimes it’s easier to harden those parts or hide them or let them become too raw – but maybe it’s those parts that help us more easily reach out to each other, bringing more good than hurt to the world. I don’t quite know how to do this myself yet, but I’m keeping these memories of the unconditional kindness I’ve seen in Kai, in friends, in strangers and I’m hoping that I will turn towards that direction when the pain stings and I thank all of you who have been teachers to us in how to keep moving forward day by day as we navigate our new normal. Thank you so much for your kindness and tender hearts.