Posts Tagged ‘Grieve with hope’

The Sun Never Says….

I’ve been writing and rewriting my thoughts for almost a week now – I’m not even sure if what I’ve written makes any sense and I’m not sure what drives me to write on here, but for some reason I feel like I’m supposed to share them.  I fully realize I have nothing ‘special’ to share – I am definitely not claiming to know anything and I know that there are so many others who have very specific evidence and/or information that can refute or support anything I say. I guess I’m just trying to say – this is just me, a broken person sharing some thoughts and offering it up simply as a perspective.

In less than a week, I’ve learned of a friend’s 8 month old baby fighting for his life against an unknown disease, another friend of a friend’s 4 year old son beginning a 43 week stint in chemo, another young mom asking Jesus just to bring her son home quickly so he doesn’t have suffer anymore, and a young mom to 4 children who has been diagnosed with an untreatable cancer  – and then you turn on the news and there’s the airplane crash, a mass murder of a family, abuse, apathy, the conflicts in the world — it goes on and on.

It can be crushing and suffocating to think of all of these things.

Through this journey with Kai, these stories seem to becoming up more and more frequently. And I am constantly finding myself angry,confused, grieving, and just hating, hating, hating the broken-ness of this world. No more suffering! Please, God, come on! No more! And the pain is visceral and I wouldn’t wish this pain we’ve felt on anyone, and so I feel almost like I am going to lose it when I see others suffering as well.

And then from seemingly out of nowhere, I hear myself say,Thank God this life isn’t all that there is. I question God and ask why this happens and I don’t have answers, but it just makes me convicted even more strongly that there is no stinkin’ way this world and its material things, pain and suffering could be all there is.

So does this mean we don’t engage in this life? Does this mean this life is awful or it doesn’t matter because it’s so broken? No, I don’t think so.

This life has incredible beauty and joy in it, and I think this life matters even more once you realize it’s not all there is because I think you find yourself investing more time in what’s lasting. Realizing the fragility of life and the hardness of life inspires me to live more.

But I struggle at staying inspired, that’s for sure. Most days I am with baby Maya and she is just surprising me and amazing me at every turn, but there’s this constant movie of Kai – my memories of him – that plays all day long,  just outside my direct field of vision and making me feel happy/sad at the same time. And when I glance to the “side” to see him fully, all I want to do is lock myself in a room and just watch videos of him, hear his voice, his laughter, his crying and stubbornness and kicking and screaming, all of it, I just want to do that forever sometimes.  And honestly,at the beginning, I thought about if I could just kind of ignore the life going on around me and hide away forever from people — that would be easier. But then I realized thinking that way, I felt more alone. I also realized it doesn’t honor my son’s life or my daughter’s life, but it was instead selfish and made it all about me and how I felt  and how was sad and why did this have to happen to me — it made me cut off people, made me cut off reality… it made me cut off God.

And I think the truth is, engaging in this life is what has made me start the healing process.

I wish so badly that no one would have to suffer in this world. Oh, how I wish this so much.

We only know this one moment – right now. How can we live it? And if you are like me and still trying to figure out so many things with faith, life, this crazy world, I do believe we can find the beautiful moments even amidst the pain, and those feelings of joy and love are bigger than the broken, even if it cannot change it.

Maybe this looks like mustering up the faith to engage in life and take that leap into confronting the broken-ness to find healing and live life fully. Hope that even amidst everything that is broken, that one day it will be new and there will be no more suffering. And loving – loving God andloving each other and being not afraid to love.

I’m not good at this explaining how I am processing these “bigger” things that this journey with Kai has brought me to and I’m really tempted to delete this, but if anything you can ignore the whole post before this part and just read the next few sentences:

If you wouldn’t mind, please pray for those that are suffering. There are so many in this world including those I mentioned above,baby Malcolm, little David, sweet Kyle, and momma Amy….

And I wanted to share this poem – I read this many, many years ago when life seemed more full of darkness than light, and this has stuck with me and been an encouragement and inspiration to me.

Even after all this time, the sun never says to the earth, “You Owe Me.” Look what happens with a love like that, it lights the whole sky”. – Hafiz

Thank you for your prayers and for all of the incredible support you’ve given our family without ever asking for anything in return. Thank you, thank you, thank you – you’ve lit up the darkness for us and brought light to our world.

Letter to Kai – your 3rd birthday

I realize that this post may seem cliche or cheesey – so I feel like a disclaimer of this sort is me totally owning up to the nature of what I’m about to write. So here goes.

This 4th of July weekend, I’ve thought a lot about the word freedom. I remember when Shawn and I lived in Romania and learned what the people of Romania had been through in their history and seeing how many liberties and freedom we had, honestly, taken for granted. It was a needed wake-up call for us. I also reflected on how many sacrifices so many people have made for establishing this country – my dad had us recall what we learned in school back in the day – it was good to try and remember those things (though I admit, I had to pull up google for some things!). And then I think about Kai – I have these letters and notes that people wrote to Kai and I do have permission to share them anonymously and I will soon, but one of the notes was written on one of the folded cranes sent in and I remember it said, “you’re free Kai, free as a Krane” (yes, it was spelled with a K).

He is free.

Free from this broken world, the pain he was suffering. A new freedom. And as I think about that, I think about the letter I wrote to Kai last week on what would have been his 3rd birthday (June 27). I kept thinking – should I post this? Does it show too much broken-ness? Should I post something not so bittersweet? But, a wise and kind woman who has also faced (and beat!) cancer with her son, reminded me of the freedom there is in being honest about the broken-ness. We are all broken in our own way from our individual paths, stories, heck, just because we’re human. We’re in this together – and I guess this is me just saying, I’m broken, I’ll never be perfect, and I don’t know what/how this journey is supposed to look, so all I know I can do is be honest and try to look for the good….. to grieve with hope.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of you who were out there spreading light and love on Kai’s birthday. Thank you so very much.

Dear sweet Kai Kai,

Today (June 27, 2014) would have been your third birthday. Oh how I wish so much, so much that you would be here with us and we could have thrown you this celebration today and you would be here. I hope that you felt/saw/heard, however it works in Heaven, all the people here wishing you a happy birthday and loving you and then doing good, kind things for others in honor of your life.

Kai, I miss you so much.

There is such a huge hole in my life – you have not left my heart, but it’s just so different and so hard learning how to be your mom and love you from afar when all i want to do is hold you and talk to you and watch you learn and grow and challenge and investigate and run, jump, sing, scream, cry, talk and grow up. I would love to see you and Maya together.

We were watching our old videos of you and even seeing the one video your Dad had taken right after Maya was born where you were on the floor crying and throwing a tantrum and Maya was next to you screaming and crying and since we couldn’t figure out how to calm either of you we just decided to video tape it for the humor in it. At the time, it was so frustrating, but tonight it’s so funny how when I saw that video, my heart ached so strongly to be able to have that again with you. I keep thinking back to the last few months of your life – I keep thinking if I noticed signs you were sick or if there was any way we could have known. I feel so awful if I missed if you were in pain or if I made you “work out” your tantrum for too long when really it was the brain tumors that were making you unable to settle like you once did. I feel so awful Kai. I know that I didn’t know and that as your mom it was my job to love you which meant not only the hugs and laughs but the firmness and discipline and tears. But, I know there were times I lost my temper and I screamed and I hate that – and I know that I apologized to you and told you when it was wrong of me to lose my temper so badly but I remember your face and how sad you looked when I’d do that. Oh Kai, you were such a patient little boy when I was learning how to be a mom to you and your new baby sister and just had no clue what I was doing. You were so sweet to your sister, such a good, good helper to me.

I wish I had new videos of you and new pictures of you. I see your friends changing and growing up and I wonder what you would be like now. I know I’ll only ever know you in your little 2.5 year old body, but I feel like these days your spirit seems wiser or older somehow.  I’m so happy that last year you had such a good time in the backyard for your birthday party. I know that you had no idea what was going on but you were so so happy – Dad carrying you on his shoulders through the sprinklers and your half-smile in amazement as everyone sang you Happy Birthday. And kai birthday surprise 2013then THE best face you made when you realized what a present was and you opened Uncle Richard’s present and saw the dump truck and it was like the most amazing thing ever and you shrieked in such excitement. I want to imagine that when you took your first breath and opened your eyes in Heaven the joy and excitement and love you must have felt were infinitely beyond what you experienced here and your face lit up more than it did that day. And that’s all I ever wanted for you – to know you were loved by us, know how to love, and know that God is taking care of you always and you are safe and secure no matter what. Kai, we will always be here with you here and always celebrate you. I will always miss you and I think I will only be missing you more and more as the days go by – I can’t even imagine more of your birthdays passing by without you here. But we celebrate you today Kai – did you see the balloons? Did you hear your friends shout Happy Birthday? We love you so much Kai – you gave so much to us. And your sister – this morning, I picked her up from her bed to feed her and she was absolutely insistent that we look at your picture before she ate. I don’t know if you see her do this every morning – but you’re still being such a good big brother to her. I love you Kai, so so much. I don’t know what to say to express it, but I’ll ask God to let you know – I know He can tell you perfectly. Happy, happy birthday Kai. I’m so thankful to celebrate three years of knowing and loving you. mmmmm-waaaa!

Is this real?

These days I often find myself asking questions like ….wait, what just happened?!?!…..Is this real? Is this my life?…. I had a son, a little boy named Kai, right? And he slept in this house and he ate in that chair, and he talked to me and laughed with me and threw tantrums and refused naps and giggled and played…. Right? I carried him in my belly and felt him kick and squirm in there, and he was born and rocked our worlds…….. right? And then, I start thinking about when he got sick….the first time he had a weird episode that we now know was the cancer…. Never in my mind would I have thought it was cancer. How could we know? Should we have known? I honestly don’t think there’s any way we could have known. He was so resilient and darn it kids are always sick so we thought it was just a stomach bug or that he was randomly throwing up because he just did seven forward rolls, a spin jump off the couch, had his dad swing him around in circles upside down…. all after eating like 3 servings of dinner. Anyone would throw up after that…. Wouldn’t they?

It all seems so unreal. A number of days I feel like I’m watching myself go through my day. I am not trying to be, nor do I think I’m being fake – I never, ever want to be fake about this.But, I feel kind of split in two. I think there’s part of me doing well and living the “new normal”, while at the same time, having a very real, very present grieving side is, but I admit it’s such a weird feeling – seeing myself do things and interact and it is all real and is good but then having this part of me inside that is just sobbing and grieving and still trying to comprehend the fact that…. he died.

Is this for real?

Please…. No…..Please.

Tell me this is an awful, terrible, horrible dream.

Is this for real?

…..

Yes.

There was a little boy named Kai and he did get sick with ATRT and he passed away.

But…..

There was a little boy named Kai, and in June of 2011 Shawn and I were given the utmost privilege to become his parents. And he did rock our worlds…. He still continues to do so. And he was real – his life, his joy, his ups and downs, the amazing-ness of it all, was and is real. Oh how I wish he was still here with us, I miss him with every ounce of my being and I want him to be real here on earth still. But he is – in my heart, in your hearts.

And God has blessed us with little Maya who is this amazing little person we’re starting to see emerge and has her own quirkiness and resilience…. And she reminds us, Kai Kai is real because when we love her we realize how in this crazy unknown way our hearts have grown so much through their two lives — with love of the same unconditional amount, but love for each of them in such different ways for the different people they are.

So I always do come back to the fact that yes, this is real – the pain, the longing, the events that unfolded. But this love for our son is real. And it was created by God and it is stronger and everlasting and will redeem this pain that is so real to us at this moment.

The picture I wanted to share today was a gift to me one day while I was really missing my little boy. I loved taking Kai on walks, we’ve always done that – as a newborn it’s the only way we could get him to sleep and as a toddler it was our time to go take a look outside (and for momma to get some exercise!). Now Maya is in that seat…. And, well it turns out that making yourself comfortable while riding in the stroller is something these two siblings share.  Maya and Kai stroller pic

Waking Up

I think we’ve all had moments where we feel we just need to get away – step outside to clear your head, do something completely different, or just close your eyes to rest. Admittedly, I have this feeling alot, every day – I think it may be why I now have to go for a walk first thing in the mornings when I wake up and then go outside and walk around the block after Maya is in bed. I think it’s still hard waking up and realizing Kai’s not here.

And it’s not that I don’t want to think about Kai – actually when I do “get away” from the house, I think about Kai the whole time and I want to think about him, but somehow it’s different when I think about him during the day seeing all of the things he’s not here with us for vs. me being outside by myself just thinking and remembering him.

The other week I had a dream about Kai. The dream was so real to me that when I heard a cry on the monitor that woke me up, I thought to myself, “oh! Kai’s up!”, and it took me a few seconds (you know that waking up fog) to remember oh no, that’s not Kai. And that realization hurt like someone jabbed me in the stomach and pierced my heart. But then, I heard Maya again. oh goodness. God, you are so gracious in creating this little miss maya, what an amazing, feisty little one she is. I am so thankful for this little girl and also the way she recently has been waking up – she now wakes up happy, smiling, babbling, showing her little teeth that are coming in. We didn’t experience these happy wakeups with Kai as a little baby — let’s be honest, Kai was what we call a wee bit of a grump sometimes when he’d wake up. But we loved, loved, loved going to get him each morning – I think we may have even rock/paper/scissors (or roshambo as some of you call it) on who’d get to go get him because as soon as we picked him up and he had his milk he would talk a million words a minute and want you to fix about a hundred different things for him for breakfast and he would crack us up.

I feel like I’m waking up multiple times during the day. Going through all of this, I’m more aware of the little things Maya does, that Shawn does, that each person I meet is doing. I realize that I’m becoming more and more aware of all of the pain/challenges we all are going through. This was kind of overwhelming at first and of course still is at times. But, I feel like God is trying to teach me and tell me through these wake ups that I can do more for others. And so I am trying to learn how to be a better mom, friend, neighbor, partner…. how to be a better “human”. It’s hard — I’m feeling more awake in ways, but then it’s so easy to forget or take for granted a moment — and I do know it’s impossible for us to be perfect in this, but yes, I realize that being awake, while maybe makes things a bit more overwhelming or painful at times, it also allows me to more fully enjoy and love others more than I have before. And honestly, I have these more overwhelming desires to do more for others and to love others better including Shawn, Maya, my family, friends, strangers, even if I’m not sure what to do sometimes. So I’m praying for guidance, courage to reach out, wisdom, patience, healing and everything else that God knows I need in my brokenness to hopefully do some good.

I want to be thankful for each day I get to wake up even with the pain knowing that Kai’s not here and not try to sleep this pain away but be awake and seek God and what His purpose is for me each day. And one day, whenever that may be, I will hopefully get to wake up in the next place, and Kai will be there to greet me.

Oh… and that dream I had about Kai…. I loved it, it was a memory of something I had to do manyyy times before and it was a gift for sure….but oh, little Kai, it wasn’t a sweet dream of cuddles or reading. My dream was of me having to chase after a disrobed, poopy Kai because he had dirtied his diaper and did not want me to wipe the #2 off his bootie….. ooooh that little stinker…..I love you little stinker.

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