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A Year of Loss

When 2015 started, I had a great feeling. I decided to finally start the blog I thought about. At this point, I was not really working, and everyone seemed fine. It made sense to start spending time doing something I’d certainly enjoy. There were so many ideas and tips I wanted to write about. While there are bloggers who give some of the information I do, my goal was to get all the things I’ve learned and will continue learn in one place. We all learn from each other, and I hoped I could contribute something meaningful.

My youngest son finally accepted we were not pulling him out of preschool and stopped crying when we dropped him off. Explaining to a three-year-old that Mommy has nothing to do while he is gone at school all day was hard for him to grasp. He wanted to stay home with me.

Things for my older son were going well despite our concerns with placing him in public school. Kindergarten at his private school did not go as well as we’d hoped. He’s extremely bright, but he is a ball of energy. How do you keep him interested without breaking his spirit! It is a constant challenge and as his biggest advocate, I want to embrace the task. First grade in public school did not start out well, but a lottery drawing placed him in a new classroom with a teacher who was a blessing.

This teacher was amazing and knew how to work with his compassionate, intelligent, never-ending ball of energy. She is a one of a kind teacher, and I know we will probably never find another teacher like her. Rather than placing him back in private school for second grade, we placed him in public school hoping to get lucky once again. Within two weeks, his new teacher had him sitting in the corner alone. After nearly four straight weeks of sitting alone, there was another lottery system for the new teacher.

This time, he did not leave the lottery to fate and applied for the new class. The new teacher came in, and while she was not as magical as we hoped, she was not his original first or second grade teacher either bringing us nicely into 2015.

My husband was doing well. Even though I will never be fully able to tell you what he does for a living, I can say that Chandler Bing always comes to mind when he says that part of his job involves statistical analysis and data reconfiguration. No one ever really knew what Chandler did anyway, which is why I laugh when I try unsuccessfully to explain his job to friends who ask. He loves Chandler and always says that is who he identifies most with from Friends. I see him more as a Ross. That is actually fitting, because I am most like Rachel. Monica’s OCD hits me often, but I cannot even cook. The woman was a chef!

I probably launched my site a little sooner than I should have, because I was really excited to have my own little piece of the Internet where I could write. Blogs are so much fun to read, and I love blogs with lots of details. Blogs where the words, and not the pictures, do the talking are the ones I go back to read. While I love pictures as much as the next person, I want to know how everything works. My analytical brain connects more to data and details, so I never bought the picture is worth 1000 words quote. Give me 1000 words with the picture! This probably ties directly into my lack of right-brained activity. Many may already know that I am not creative.

After about a month of tinkering, I felt my format was finally around where I wanted it. Within a few days of that, my sister called to tell me that my 8-year-old niece was in the hospital with an enlarged heart. We were all on the edge of our seats while she transferred from hospital to hospital trying to find someone who can help her when all the doctors kept telling her it was too late. My heart broke. How could it be too late when no one knew anything was wrong with her! The third hospital finally agreed to do the surgery after hours of sitting on the side of the road in an ambulance immobilized on the icy trek.

Two days after taking Sammy to the first hospital when my sister noticed swollen limbs, she was gone. Sammy was a dream child. She never complained, and was a thoughtful soul. Her whole spirit was a breath of fresh air. If I had to describe her in one word, I would say she was the “light.” A light filled with beauty, courage, strength and spirit. Every year on February 18th, I will celebrate the light and not focus on her death. No one could say a bad word about her, because she was a rare child who lived to make her Mom’s life easier.

That is probably why she never told her Mom she was hurting. After she passed, the librarian at her school contacted my sister to tell her that they wanted her to keep the book Sammy checked out about controlling asthma. She knew she was sick, but she checked out a book instead of telling her Mom. This is who Sammy was. Until the end, her compassion was always clear.

Sammy was a talented writer, and I am not even speaking relatively for an 8-year-old. Her pieces were insightful, thought-provoking, detailed, descriptive and moving. As someone who started a blog a month before such a precious soul passed, the idea of writing anything made me sad. My material seemed irrelevant compared to the profound things she wrote about. I thought she would make a huge impact on the world when she grew up. Dealing with the idea she would never grow up and seeing pictures forever frozen in time on a beautiful 8-year-old face consumed me.

To make matters worse, I was shopping as she was lying in the hospital dying. I was in disbelief. For some reason, I thought I knew more than the doctors and assumed she would pull through. Of course, I prayed for two days straight, but you could not convince me she would not pull through. The idea was foreign and unacceptable. There was no scenario where I imagined any other outcome. When my sister told me she did not make it, life stopped. My heart broke when her daughter’s heart stopped, because I cannot imagine the pain of losing a child. The world will never know its loss either, because she was already an incredible child on her way to becoming an adult anyone would be honored to know. She would have enlightened us all.

It took me two months before I worked up the courage to start writing again. Most days, I think about her as I am writing even though I write nothing anywhere near as deep or substantial as she did. On days I forget, I feel guilty when I remember. Guilty that I am writing and she is not. I also feel guilty when I look at my 9-year-old son born three months after she was. My sister and I were pregnant with them at the same time.

We talked about our hopes and dreams, and I never knew she would never see either realized for her baby. The whole feeling overwhelms me, but I cannot talk to anyone about it. My sister has way more grief from losing a daughter than I have from losing a niece, and she constantly reminds me of this. I do not take it personally, because I will take anything to help ease her pain. Every time I cry or think about it, my husband says life goes on. Yes, I know he’s right, but it has been very hard to stop thinking about it.

Toward the end of the school year, my older son was back to being huge ball of energy and getting in trouble at school. I am still trying to find techniques to get through to him and feel like a failure when I cannot. My sister had this daughter who never got in trouble, and another sister has daughters who never get in trouble. “Boys are harder than girls at that age,” my dad keeps saying.

Is my Dad right? Why is my younger son so much easier than my older son then! It seems like he would be spirited regardless of gender, but I thank my Dad politely as I know he is trying to help.

This intelligent kid failed to test into the GATE program making me also doubt my decision to keep him in public school. The private schools are strict, so I do not think he will last in another one. Getting kicked out of the first was hard enough on all of us. If an intelligent boy, who has read since three years, two months, and constantly tests off the charts cannot get into the advanced program, I fear the future could be even harder. When he is not challenged, his overwhelming energy kicks in.

Having an intelligent son not test into the GATE program hardly feels like a loss when my sister knows what real loss is, so it brings everything back into perspective. Suddenly, I am crying again. You’d think the tears would run out, but they just keep coming like a never-ending rainstorm.

On July 13th, my husband’s grandfather passed away. Like Sammy, he had a heart condition. Unlike Sammy, we knew for longer than two days. He suffered a stroke on 04/23/11 and had other medical issues since then. His condition worsened over the weeks preceding his death, so we knew it was coming. Somehow, it did not make the news any easier. I, once again, found myself grief-stricken.

Only, his loss re-opened the wounds of the last loss, because I was still dealing with that one. I know we are not supposed to have more than we can handle, and I realize people have gone through a lot worse. None of that made me feel any better. My positive outlook on things had a hard time poking through the sadness. The worst part is I feel this sense of dread that I cannot really explain. It may seem crazy, but people always say loss comes in threes. In less than five months, I lost two incredible people. The thought of losing another is probably irrational, but it overwhelms me. In a rational world, my emotions have taken over, and they’re not relenting. I feel like I’ve lost control, and I do not like it.

My husband’s grandpa was an incredible man. He was so kind and welcoming. When I started dating my husband, he was the first one in his family who truly made me feel like I was part of the family. Everyone around him felt his love. I’ve read some of the most beautiful love stories ever written by the world’s best writers, but none of them compared to the love I witnessed first hand. Grandpa and grandma were married for almost 64 years. He always opened doors for her, helped her every time she stood up or sat down, and looked at her longingly when she returned from a short parting.

Anyone standing nearby could feel the love in the air. This man knew how to love, and he had no problems showing it to his family. Many of them picked up on his example, so his loving legacy lives on. As I look at grandma, I see the despair through the smiles and the sadness even in wonderful moments. It takes every bone in my body not to hug her when I see her eyes water (probably at the thought of what her beloved husband would have done in that moment). I refrain though, because acknowledging the moment could make it worse. If she works through it on her own, she is more likely to move forward in the moment instead of collapsing from sadness. Her first great-grandchild since his passing was born recently, and I watched her happiness and sadness battle at the baby shower.

This was the first thing I wrote after grandpa passed. Yes, he was my grandpa. I know I married into his family, but he never made me feel that way. His loss was hard for my husband, but it was hard for me as well. He was our loss. On this very sad day, I am finally ready to share this with you. There were times when I was unsure I would ever share it here. Writing one’s feelings is a lot harder than telling someone what I think of a certain deal. Lifestyle blogs take more skilled writers, and frankly, I am not even sure I am up to the task.

Everyday, but especially on the 18th of February, I will think of Sammy and all the loved ones she left behind. I will pray for my sister, whose had a worse year than I can possibly imagine. If you’re still reading, I appreciate you indulging my break from the norm. Now, I submit this anti-blog. In a world where most blogs are picture heavy and word light, I appreciate those of you who read along sans pictures to a lot of words. Thank you.

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notcreative View All

I'm Kimberly. Shopping is always more fun when I've found the best deal available, so I am always on the hunt. My father instilled that in me, and I love that I carry a piece of him. Sometimes, my husband and sons (12 and 7) let me shop for them, too. They do not use as many beauty products as I do. We can all benefit from nice products, even though their routine ends with moisturizer. That is when I can convince my 12-year-old to apply it.

2 thoughts on “A Year of Loss Leave a comment

  1. Hugs to you Kimberly. February is my sad month too, it’s when my mom passed. I was struck by your words. When you say you were out shopping, because anything other than Sammy being fine was “foreign and unacceptable”. This is one of the reasons losing my mom was so catastrophic for me, because even when the look on the doctor’s face should have said it all, I refused to believe death was an option for my mom. When I lost her, the world caved in around me.

    You’re in my thoughts and prayers friend <3

  2. Thank you. I really miss you and hope you’re doing well. Considering how sad I feel this month, I am guessing you do as well. Next time I see you, I will give you an extra long hug. You’re in my thoughts and prayers as well.

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