Roller Coaster

It’s been over five months.

Those five months are a small part of a roller coaster that won’t end for a very long time. It’s a roller coaster that goes up and down so much that by the time you recognize you’re at a high point, you’ve already leveled off and started a descent. I’ve walked into Maya’s room at midnight and been lifted to a peak only to walk into Kai’s room next and find myself plummeting!

My thoughts are a roller coaster. For many months I lost the ability to zone out – to focus on nothing when it was a luxury to literally think about nothing. Like those times when you find that you’ve driven for 10 minutes but don’t recall actively thinking about driving – you just went from point A to point B! I could not do that anymore. My heart and thoughts and soul permeated with thoughts of Kai nearly every instant that I was not actively thinking about something else. Driving. Eating. Sitting in a dentist chair (really). Kai. Kai. Kai! Those thoughts were always a 50/50 mix of despair and joy and they are totally exhausting. Nowadays those thoughts are heavier on the joy side. I think less about those terrible days in the hospital and more about Kai playing with his sister.

Speaking of Maya – she insists on watching videos of Kai on our phones. It’s the first thing she wants in the morning. If you take your phone out during the day she’ll reach for it and say “Kai, Kai”. She knows her brother and her face lights up when she sees him. She is forcing me to see the beautiful times with her brother. She even learns from seeing him in these videos. It’s amazing to see the likenesses between the two of them and so gutwrenching that we won’t see the two of them grow up together. Kai’s love for Maya is so evident in those videos and Maya’s love for Kai is so evident when she watches them.

On a micro level so many good things have continued to happen including weddings and healthy new babies to friends and family (including a new nephew honoring his cousin with a middle name of Kai!). Yet I’m also more aware now of all the dreadful things that are happening – car accidents and cancer and very sick babies. It is so hard to see friends struggle inside life altering events that it gives me great respect for everybody that has supported us along the way. Providing support to each other (and accepting it) won’t fix everything, but it holds us together.

While I don’t cry as often as I did a few months ago, I miss Kai more than ever. You can’t help but wonder what he would be doing with his sister and his friends. How would he grow with them and learn from them and teach them? I wrote a letter to Kai on his birthday – here is one line: “I would give anything to go back to a point where we are totally exhausted every single day because keeping up with you was like a never ending marathon.” Kai’s missing energy will never be totally replaced with exhaustive grief because the love that was always there will never go away. The roller coaster has always been there. The only thing that’s changed is that while Kai was riding on it with us for a few years, he got off early and is waiting for us at the end.

7 Comments on Roller Coaster

  1. Mik Ichiba
    August 24, 2014 at 10:22 pm (3 years ago)

    Wonderful post Shawn and great to see you last week. I am grateful toward yours and Aki’s writings. When I see your posts, I slow down a bit and try to better appreciate life. We think of you guys all the time and will keep you in our prayers and thoughts. I enjoy hearing how the love is seen between Kai and Maya!

    Reply
  2. lynn anderson
    August 24, 2014 at 10:23 pm (3 years ago)

    Love hearing about Kai, Maya, and how you are doing. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  3. Kevin and Cheryl Smith
    August 25, 2014 at 1:46 am (3 years ago)

    Oh, bless your dear hearts! I am still praying for you on a regular basis, and I am trusting Jesus to hold you close as you continue to walk through the many-faceted stages of grief. Grief is a tricky thing. Just because we walk through one stage and come through it, doesn’t mean we will not re-visit it again…sometimes over and over. Everyone grieves differently. I trust you will give yourself a lot of grace…and just allow yourself to grieve in your own way and at your own pace. Healing will continue to come…in tiny increments, until one day you realize it doesn’t hurt quite as much, and as you said, the joy will begin to outweigh the sadness…just a little bit. God be with you and your precious family, and may He reveal His great love for you in every moment of despair.

    Reply
  4. Amy Salinas
    August 25, 2014 at 7:47 am (3 years ago)

    Daily, you are in our thoughts. I can’t imagine that this grief will ever end. I am thankful for Maya and how she helps you to get through the days and nights. I am also thankful for this site that allows you the opportunity to write and reflect on what you are thinking and experiencing. And I guess all you can do is take it one day at a time.

    Reply
  5. Selena Bragg
    August 27, 2014 at 9:44 am (3 years ago)

    Bless your sweet heart. I am so sorry, and my heart breaks for you and your husband, and your sweet girl, too. I am thankful for the joy that she brings. Thank you for sharing your heart and your family. I will be sure to pray for you, and trust that He hears our prayers, and holds you ever so close. Even amongst the pain and suffering, He’s still there… I am certain there are days where that “seeing” Him is foggy. I pray your faith will sustain you, in both the happy moments, and the sad moments. Hugs and love to you from Tennessee… always happy to hear from you.

    Reply
  6. Selena Bragg
    September 14, 2014 at 9:25 am (3 years ago)

    Thinking of you this morning… May you feel His presence this day. Love, Selena Bragg

    Reply
  7. Michael Slockers
    September 20, 2014 at 7:34 am (3 years ago)

    Great post and the last line is so poetic. We miss Kai often, miss you guys too.

    Reply

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