Sunday, May 12, 2013

Not Just Another Day

It's coming up on three years since you passed away. The 14th of May is always going to be a difficult day, but its impact has been changing every year. As the anniversary of the day you died I'm never quite sure how I'm going to feel when I wake up. Sadness, anger, confusion, regret, relief and gratitude have all been on the menu. Strangely, its not the 14th I dread every year. It's today. It's this day when we're supposed to be celebrating and thanking the mothers in our lives and I'm acutely reminded that while I have a mother I love and can hand her a card or call her up on the phone, my children will never have that opportunity again. For the rest of their lives. Forever and ever.

The day you died was a bit surreal in some aspects. We knew it was coming. We'd already had the talk. You'd already said goodbye to the kids, to your friends and family. We woke up together in ICU and there wasn't anything left to say or do. You'd already educated me on our monthly budget and when you paid the bills, gave me the passwords to your email and Facebook, signed the adoption papers for Cori and then drifted back into a Fentanyl induced slumber. All that remained was for me to make the most difficult decision in my life and watch your breathing as long as I could until the life support was switched off and you drifted away from us. It's still a day that conjures so many emotions but most of all a sense of relief, that for you the suffering was over, with the knowledge you were truly at peace with letting go.
But that was the 14th. Days before, on Mother's Day, was the day you were truly lost to us, the day the pain would not stop and you finally had to succumb to the cancer eating away at you. That was the day when the only thing you wanted was your own mother, to make it stop, to hold your hand. You had that comfort on Mother's day when the ambulance took you away and you never returned. That is the day that hurts the most when I think about how you looked, how you writhed in pain and when I realized you were probably going to die.

So today. Mother's Day. All it reminds me of now are the two little people that have been hurt the most by your absence. The two beautiful, smart, loving, smiling faces that will never see their mother again. It's true, all of us are moving past your death in different ways, including your children. I lost my wife and the mother of my children, you were lost as a daughter and a sister and a best friend. Some of those holes can be filled; some are permanent scars. But I can't imagine a bigger void, a more important role lost than yours as a mother to our girls. That can never be completely replaced, not by a grandmother, an aunt, a best friend, or by me. And all this day does is fill me with anger for all the things my children can never have back.
You weren't there for Cori's confirmation. You weren't there for Muffins with Mommy day for Camryn. You won't be there when they graduate high school. You won't be there to talk Cori through her first love, her first heartbreak, or watch her walk down the aisle. You won't be there in the fall when Bean starts Kindergarten and struts up in her brand new school uniform. You won't be there to teach her to tie her shoes or watch her ride a bike without training wheels or laugh at things that come out of her mouth. You aren't here to argue with Cori about her wardrobe and her makeup, or ground Camryn for not picking up her room. And yes, everyone will say you are there in spirit  you're watching all the time, but honestly that's not good enough. They need you here for every moment of every day. They needed you to tuck them in, to yell at them for not picking up their messes, to cook dinner, to pick them up from school, to watch funny TV shows together on the couch and play Guitar Hero. The rest of us can get by in our daily lives, perhaps choking up at a certain song on the radio, smiling at an old picture, or laughing at a cherished memory. You won't be here to create any more memories, or to ever make us laugh again, but we'll get by ok. It might be with guilt, anger or sadness, but life does go on. And it goes on for the girls too, but in a much different way than any of us could imagine. And as hard as all of us try to fill it the void is still there and always will be, no matter what.

Cori is becoming a beautiful strong woman, based on the foundation you gave her. Camryn will do the same, even though she truly has very little recollection of you other than what we see in pictures or talk about. They'll be ok, they will grow up just fine with my love and the love of those around her. They'll have positive and constructive role models in their lives, but never the one thing all the other kids have and take for granted. Today, more than any other day, will be the most painful reminder of what is missing from their lives. The 14th will come and go, your headstone will remain an unchanged monument to your memory, but the day you died isn't the day when we should all stand still and remember what you meant to us. Our babies remember it every single day.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

What Flavor is it?

And now for something completely different!

Well sort of anyway. I'll try not to spout any soul crushing memoirs here today, just some happy news and anecdotes. Yay, something fun to write about!

Bittersweet. It's probably one of my most hated words in the English language. Mainly due to its overuse and frequency of occurance in my life over the past few years, I've really grown to detest the word. However, sometimes it's a pretty apt adjective for the situation and I'm forced to use it myself. And, as I dropped off Cori for 8th grade and Camryn for her first day of Pre-K, I can say it was definitely a bittersweet moment, in many ways.

Obviously, there were many missing parts this year and I really wished Krissy, Dad and Grandma could have seen my girls on this day. Losing them all over the past 2 years has been difficult in so many ways, but I strive to give my babies the life the deserve and need and really tried hard to make this a fun and exciting day. It's a blessing they don't notice the gaping holes as clearly as I do. It really is the one thing that has helped me to wake up everyday knowing that they are truly happy little people. They're not blind, but perhaps we've blunted the hurt by now and I think our every day lives are proof of that.

I'm pretty sure I made a much bigger deal out of this day than was necessary. I spent the few weeks prior to school buying school supplies, backpacks, new shoes, cute outfits (friendly solid colors and prints for the colorblind!) and talking up just how COOL it was going to be when Bean got to school. Turns out I didn't need to hype it up at all. As I pulled into the school parking lot and braced myself for any reaction I might face, Cam belts out "Ok, bye Daddy, have a good day!" before I could even put the car in park. Well, I guess someone was ready for school, and it wasn't me.

It turned out to be a truly enjoyable experience dropping both of my girls off and watching them glide effortlessly into the daily routine of school, friends and teachers. since her first day, Cam has already had to be separated from a little boy for talking to much (shocking) and has worked her way into the heart of pretty much every staff member she's run into. Yeah, I can't wait to see how she does in high school.

Also inspring and definitely not bittersweet (sorry) is Coral returning to play volleyball for her final year at Corpus Christi. I was so happy to hear she was ready to give sports another try and have been very proud of her work ethic in practice and also in her studies. She's been juggling both extremely well so far this year to the point where I'm starting to feel like a third wheel. All she's needed me for is printing papers and handing out lunch money. Not a bad gig if you can get it I guess. I'm just really proud to see her growing into an organized, determined young woman. sort of exactly like another woman I once knew...

As for me, standing in the midst of this whirlwind of school and sports and driving here and there like a good Mr. Mom... has been a blast actually. It's fun! Tiring, exhausting, challenging fun, but I'm thoroughly enjoying this place in our lives. Finally enjoying the opportunity to sit back and realize how much my girls have grown in two years and mentally pat myself on the back for getting them this far. Seems silly, I never expected the wheels to fall of the bus in the first place, but I'm pretty satisfied with where we are all right now. If I had to describe my feelings right now, they'd be anything but bittersweet.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Random Access

Pools of gold. Pools of gold, molten, flowing, coalescing before my eyes. I try to wipe them away, but they are relentless, so I let them burn. I let them flow down my cheeks, fall onto my shirt, my lap. I'm driving, and I'm holding her hand, and all I can see is a liquid swirl of gold that is raining from my eyes. Drowning my thoughts, drowning my words, drowning hope. And there is a song playing, an album, and now a theme forever fused to this memory of pain and disappointment. An association that can never be erased. To this day, every time I hear it, all I see are pools of gold.

It's amazing how strongly smells, sights and sounds can become tangled up with your memories. They can take you back to your childhood, your first love, your grandparents house, your first heartbreak. They have the power to overtake the reality before you and replace it with one you've stored for years, perhaps decades. The most uncanny aspect of the association is how you have no control over it whatsoever. To this day, every time I smell the first lilacs of spring I'm transported back to my Dukes of Hazzard big-wheel. I'm five and I'm riding down the sidewalk away from my home and I almost run over a baby bird that has fallen from it's nest. It's already dead and its mother has left it. The baby bird is lying on the sidewalk, under a lilac tree, and the smell is intoxicating, overpowering. My five year old brain has just plugged these sensory events together and welded them tight. Every spring, the lilacs bloom and I'm back on that big-wheel and wondering how the baby bird fell from its nest.

There are so many triggers for so many events. Coffee and fresh cut grass will always take me back to Grandma's house. Lilo and Stitch will always conjure an image of a 4 year-old Cori lying on her bed watching intently. The sounds of AC/DC will put me back into the '88 Camaro, the windows down and the summer air streaming in (and the overly loud rock music streaming out). Swisher Sweets cigars will always put me in the passenger seat of my Papa's truck, visions of St. Christopher and St. Francis on the dashboard, keeping me safe. So many triggers, so many memories.

Those that knew Krissy probably have some kind of memory attached to the same trigger as I do. If you ever called her cell phone, you definitely have one. "Need You Now", by Lady Antebellum. Just typing the words opens the flood gates. The first time I called her and heard she had set it as her ring tone, it became a theme and a mantra for me. I knew, somewhere deep, that this song was forever going to be burned into my memories of the wife I loved. Every time I called her and got that 15 second snip of the chorus it worked it's way further and further into my mind, on every level. I'd sing along sometimes, sometimes it would make me unbelievably sad, other times I'd swear that I'd never one day hear it and have to long for someone that was no longer alive. That became the mantra. "I'll call her and this song will never stop playing." It became the only way I could endure that chorus for the few short months she was sick, to keep telling myself I'd never have a reason to hate or dread those lyrics.

The day that forever sealed the association with my memories came in late March of 2010. She had finished her 3rd and final round of treatments at Oasis hospital in Mexico and the state of her health at the time was not encouraging. She was beginning to collect fluid in her abdomen as ascities set in. She was uncomfortable, losing weight and strength, and encouragement was hard to find. We had decided in January to keep all our options available and had scheduled an appointment with a very well respected gastric oncologist at the University Hospital in Denver. To this day, I'm honestly not sure what we expected to come of this visit, as all our encounters with modern medicine had gone badly. But, we were open to anything that could help and Krissy wanted to know if she was making any progress. She had a CT scan a few weeks earlier and concrete results were what we wanted to see. The appointment was brief and brutal. She was told her alternative therapies were not working, and in fact the cancer was still growing. They had nothing to offer her but experimental chemo therapies that might prolong her life by 6-9 months, at the cost of all of her quality of life in the form of violent sickness, vomiting and all the other lovely side effects that tissue destroying chemicals would normally have. We thanked them for their time, no thanks on the chemo, and saw ourselves out.

Despite knowing what she was up against, the results of the meeting were devastating for Krissy. Any confidence she had about the decisions she'd made for treatment or her possibility of recovery were crushed. I tried to put an optimistic spin on it, that we should have known they'd be skeptical of her treatment plan, they were doctors of WESTERN medicine for Christ's sake, we already knew they thought we were crazy. So screw them. But it wasn't working, and I think she made a decision for herself that day. Her time was running out, this wasn't working, and it was time to make changes. Not long after we pulled Camryn out of daycare and she stayed home with Krissy until the beginning of May.

The ride home was... difficult. There wasn't much left to talk about, so we didn't. I-25 was a mess, so we decided to take Highway 83. It was a slower drive anyway, gave us time to process. It was late in the day that March, and we drove in silence for a while. I held her hand, because I couldn't think of anything else to do for her. And I drove. When the silence began to feel like silence again, she turned on the radio. The new Lady Antebellum CD was in, so she played it. I'd already been crying, and this didn't help, but it was better than the silence. The sun was beginning to descend on the mountains, against an unusually clear sky, and it was blinding. The tears refused to stop for the onslaught of the sun, so I let them come. The pools of gold would fill, bulge, overflow and fall. They swirled in my vision, mixing with the black of the road, the green of the pines alongside us, the white of her hand in my periphery. The CD just keeps playing, laying down track after track of beautiful and uplifting rhythms, music and lyrics, and none of them can penetrate the moment. They just get fused to my subconscious, to be recalled every single time I call her phone, hear a song on the radio, in a bar, on the TV. Forever locked to what is left of of my vision as the tears obscure everything that is real and transform it to a vortex of color and emotion. Eventually the music stops, and the tears stop, and the car stops, and we move forward towards another day.

With so many good, great, wonderful, sad, painful and truly terrifying memories of her fight with cancer, I often wondered if I'd be able to ever control the memories. I can't so I gave up trying. I embrace them, for the most part. For a while that song really got to me. I could listen to it, and sometimes forced myself to, because I wanted to feel something. After a while I changed the channel, unless my kids wanted to listen to it. Every time, the pools of gold returned, sometimes just in my minds eye, sometimes in my actual tears. It doesn't bother me as much anymore, and when I hear it now I remember it for a song she loved before all the heartache and as a song that a lot of people associated with her ring tone, so there was some good in it. It also has a message that really speaks to me, that need for someone that can overcome you at the worst times. And every so often I just close my eyes, so I can see that swirl of color and emotion, just to remind myself that she was real.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Fearful Symmetry

I believe everything happens for a reason. I believe in fate. But I also believe that events can occur randomly or by pure chance. I've never been the kind of person that placed faith in when or how certain events happened in my life, but recently the calendar has been difficult to ignore. Allow me to demonstrate:

My father was born on September 14th. My wife Krissy was born on September 20th.
Krissy passed away on May 14th. She was buried on May 20th.
My father died on his birthday, September 14th. He was buried on September 20th, also my wife's birthday.

That's a lot of 14's and 20's. That's a lot of tragic events coinciding with days that should have been joyful occasions. It's hard to ignore when you look at the calendar, and it makes me wonder if there is any meaning to it at all, or just a cruel set of circumstances that just happened to occur on days of personal importance. Either way, it's hard to accept. 

I don't like to live my life marking the days that these kinds of things have occurred in my life. I've always chosen to live every single day as if it's a new day, with a new meaning. I don't dread these anniversaries, at least not yet, but the events are still so fresh in my mind I'm not completely sure how these associations will work come next year, or the year after, etc. Life is strange, wonderful, beautiful and confusing, and most of all unpredictable. Maybe I'll find comfort in the fact that two people I loved so much share so much in common after their passing. Time will only tell.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Remembering Dad

I'm posting Dad's eulogy from his service, for anyone that wants to read, or just remember Dad through our words. This copy doesn't include the additions from my cousin Amber, who read it beautifully, but I think it's good enough. Thank you to everyone that came for his service and reception, I know Dad would have been so happy to see you all.

Frank was loved by many, and always known for his gentle demeanor, worth ethic and his love of the outdoors. And while he was a man of few words, there is much to be said about him by his friends and family. Those that loved him most have written dedications to Frank, and would like to share them now.

From his sister Pat
Frank was one of the best brothers you could have. He was very kind and gentle, despite being raised by four sisters. He was our baby brother which makes it so difficult to know he is no longer going to be with us. I know he will still be watching over us as he is visiting with the loved ones who went before him. He would be so proud to know how many people are here today, even though there is sadness in our hearts. We will never forget you!

From his wife Patrcia
Frank Lanza, my husband, lover and best friend was a simple man that spoke no ill word of anyone, gave to all and never asked for anything in return.  Frank came into my life 13 years ago unconditionally, and with it came something that everyone should encounter in their life and that was an endless love, a love that went beyond anything possible to really find words for. Frank never left the house without saying he loved me and to have a good day. Frank taught me through the years we had together how to love and to love back which I have come to know as his is best virtue. Frank entered each day with tireless energy for his job, family, and friends. And even after the day was done he seemed to find time for me, or the yard or house. Anyone that knew Frank knew that is gardening and his yard was his favorite hobby. He used to say there is nothing better than fishing, camping, hunting or riding ATVs in the rivers and mountains of Colorado that he loved so much. Frank found great joy in our family and especially in our four grandchildren Coral, Camryn, Hannah, and David.

God has taken this great man from us but he leaves behind many great memories for each of us. Frank I know that you will always be there for me spiritually as I continue through life. The love you gave me will live in my heart forever and I will truly miss and love you. As I never use the words good bye, I will see you later as you now join mom, dad and Krissy. See you later my husband and best friend. I’ll love you dearly each and every day until we meet again.

From his son Joey
Dad was an extremely generous man. He always gave to us no matter what.  We never lacked or went without, and always had an abundance. Even though he was so soft spoken, you could always count on him to be there when you needed him. Dad was very thoughtful and was always meeting other people's needs.  He would go the extra mile to make things special, especially for us kids. He never missed a single baseball, basketball, or football game of mine, he was always involved in the things that were important to us. I always loved hearing him laugh, when he laughed he really went for it. He was a loving, kind, wonderful Dad who will be missed very much.

From his son Frankie
If you asked anyone that knew Dad to describe him, you’d undoubtedly hear something like “he was the most quiet, soft-spoken man I’ve ever met.” And that truly was Dad. Never first to speak, never big on long talks or sharing his feelings. But for me, it was always what Dad didn’t say, but what he did in life, that spoke the most. He’d never tell you what he had planned for the day, but you’d probably end up being treated to lunch or taken to Cripple Creek on the spur of the moment. And if you ever managed to make him really mad, like I did when I wrecked his work truck backing it down the drive way, then you got the dreaded eye-brow raise but never a harsh word. Trust me, the eyebrows were much worse than anything he could have ever said.

As much as Dad’s good nature and mild manner defined him, to me Dad will always be the example of what a hard working, loyal, honest and loving man should be. He was always there, no matter what you needed, and never expected to be re-payed or have the favor returned. Dad was simply a good man.

My best memories of Dad will always be of days spent at the shop, riding in the work trucks, or keeping pace with him on the jobsite back in my gutter hanging days. Everything I learned about being a man and about doing honest work I learned on those hot summer days. I also learned what it meant to be respected, because you never met a person that worked with Dad that didn’t have the utmost respect for him. And at the end of a long hard day, if you were lucky enough to be riding back with him, you probably got treated to a beer and a few good laughs. That’s what I’ll miss the most, the simple times spent with the man that didn’t need to say everything that was on his mind, but expressed every word in how he loved you.

Despite the suddenness of Dad’s passing, my sister Cesa gave me the best visual the other day. She imagined Krissy, enjoying her day up in heaven, and being pleasantly surprised when Dad showed up out of the blue. I can picture their reunion, and take comfort that two amazing angels are together and watching over us here on Earth. At least we know that he won’t talk her ear off.

I love you dad, and we’re all going to miss you.

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Reason Why?

She had been broken. Hopes dashed, fears confirmed. When Krissy learned she had cancer and it's prescribed outcome, she ceased to be the person I had known for the past 10 years. The fighter, the spitfire, the sheer force of will had been diminished and replaced by uncertainty, pain and doubt. And who could expect otherwise? How would anyone respond when faced with their own imminent mortality? We all like to think we'll buckle down, grit our teeth and prepare for battle, but in reality that is very difficult even when faced with the fight for your very life. But this isn't to say Krissy laid down and failed respond to the challenge. Far from it. And this is where her final story begins, where she learned the meaning of her life and why she determined to rise up and face the challenge before her. These aren't my experiences, and I can only recount them second hand, but I hope to set it down as best as I can recall. Not just for Krissy, not just for you to read this mostly untold chapter of her life, but also so that I can try to gain some understanding for myself. So I can find some reason, justification, and meaning in the loss of my wife.

No journey can begin in darkness. No direction can be found without guidance. And in the beginning, after she was told her life would end, she was completely and utterly lost. Not only would she have to heal from a major surgery that would take up to three months to heal, she would also have to battle terminal cancer with a prognosis of only six months to live. How could anyone reconcile that when just weeks before she believed she was a healthy mother, wife and daughter. Of course she was lost. And she remained lost for many weeks, unsure of what path to take towards healing, or if there was any paths open to her at all. But I knew my wife, and I knew the fighter that lived within her, and I prayed that she could rekindle that spirit. But weeks came and went, and while her body healed its wounds and relearned how to nourish itself, she remained broken of mind and spirit. The holiday season was approaching and I feared that she wouldn't find the resolve to fight this battle. It finally changed one evening, during a visit with her mother, that after another day of struggles with nausea, vomiting, pain and depression, that Debi took her to church so she could pray for strength. I never learned exactly what happened that evening at church, but she returned a different person. She still had fears to overcome and battles to begin, but from that moment on she turned a corner and a big part of the Krissy we knew finally returned to us.

Krissy knew from the beginning that traditional cancer treatment was not her salvation. Chemo, at it's best, was only promised to gain her a few additional months of life with a much reduced quality of living. Prolonging the inevitable was the best they could offer, at a cost of hair loss, vomiting and excruciating pain. So she sought every alternative method of healing that could be found. But both mind and body had to be healed, so in addition to the natural treatments and supplements she would try she also needed care for her spirit. This was found in the amazing Paula Robbins, introduced to us via Aunt Connie. Paula was integral to Krissy's early battle to regaining her will and determination. I'm going to be intentionally vague and ignorant of the actual process that Paula employed with Krissy, as it was highly personal and emotionally difficult for Krissy to endure, so I did all I could do to support her and let her take this portion of the journey by herself. But after each session she was stronger and I could tell that her soul was mending, bit by bit. Paula taught Krissy how to look within herself and to find the damage that was being done and to understand how to use it to heal instead of hurt. Even after their sessions together ended, Krissy would employ what she learned to continue to understand the turn her life had taken.

However, understanding comes at a price. And sometimes even things we learn about ourselves cost more than we care to imagine. My personal belief is that this is what Krissy learned one day as she reflected upon her cancer and why she was suffering so greatly. She had learned to enter a very deep state of reflection as she meditated on these questions. One afternoon, besought by depression and confusion, she sat alone and asked "Why is this happening to me?"again and again, as she sunk further into her meditations. And as she asked and prayed, this is what she told me she saw.

Our youngest daughter, Camryn, did not have the easiest beginning to her life. Before she was born we discovered she had a hole in her heart. At three months old she contracted a nearly fatal kidney infection, which recurred just two months later. After constant eye infections due to a blocked tear duct she finally had surgery to clear it up, and by this time we'd had our fill of seeing her poked and prodded by doctors. As a parent, it's one of the most helpless feelings in the world. You would do anything to make them better. And on that afternoon as Krissy meditated on her own illness, it was Camryn that came to her in that vision. Only two years old at the time, and at daycare, appeared to her.

Krissy described the experience she had that afternoon to me only once, but I will never forget it. Camryn, who should have been napping at the time, appeared before Krissy in her vision and cried out "Hi Mommy!" Krissy spoke back to her, and they had the regular two-year old version of "how was your day" until Krissy began to ask her what she was going. Cam would only reply, "I love you Mommy, I'm ok Mommy." Several more times Cam assured her that she was ok, and that she loved her, before she turned and waved and said "Bye Mommy, I have to go now, I love you!" And at this point Krissy came out of her meditation in tears, but finally assured that she had received the answer to the question she'd been asking for months: why is this happening to me? And for Kris, the answer was clear, she'd asked God to allow her to take away her baby's pain and suffering and ills and to let her take them on herself, and whether or not she could bear the burden and survive, this was what had been done. She had given what any parent believed they would, she had given her life for the health of her child's. And Camryn knew it, and told her everything was ok now, thanks to her mother's love.

I don't know God's plan. I don't claim to understand Him, or how he works in our lives, or if he would even do such a thing. But, Kris believed this was her bargain to ensure that her baby could live happy and healthy and on some level she accepted that. She still agonized over her cancer and the pain and remained resolved to do everything she could to beat the disease, but I think she found some peace in what she saw that day. I still don't know how I truly feel about it, but it's haunted me ever since, and in my own struggle to understand the how's and why's of Krissy's death it's the only thing I can anchor my sanity onto. If my wife had to die, if I had to lose her so quickly and early in our lives, does the fact she died to protect our child make it alright? I don't know, but I can accept it based on the fact that I would have done the same thing and had even asked for as much in my own prayers, just as I had asked God to let me take on Krissy's sickness. I think anyone who knows real love would do the same.

I know there are those that may not believe that God would work in such a way, or that this has anything to do with why Krissy had cancer and died from it. I question it every single day. All I can say is that I have two beautiful girls left as a legacy of the wonderful person that Krissy was. Camryn has barely had so much as a cold since that day, and even when everyone in the house is knocked out with a cold or the flu, Cam is rarely affected. She's rolled down a flight of stairs without a scratch. Every day I wonder if her mother's protection is real, that she must truly be her guardian angel. It's a comforting thought in a time when I can still find little comfort in her loss. Every parent would give their own life for their child's, but if ever presented with this challenge I doubt many could face it with as much courage as Krissy did.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Twenty Questions, Zero Answers

Can you believe how fast our girls have grown?
What is heaven like?
How the hell do I braid hair?
Are you proud of us?
Why didn't we think to record your voice?
How do I remember how to live for myself?
Did you know that we'd be ok?
When did you know you were going to die?
What am I not remembering?
How did you make it all look so easy?
Is it ok if I try to forget some of the bad parts now?
Could things have been different?
Did we choose the right path?
Can Cam really see you?
Where did you hide those papers I've been looking for?
Why didn't you try harder?
Was that you playing with the sprinklers at the cemetery?
Do you think I'll ever find it again?
Was there anything you didn't get to say?

Why did God need to take you away?

Friday, June 10, 2011

From the Mouths of Babes

Last night we were treated to dinner at a friend's house, and on the car ride home Cam asked me "Why wasn't Mommy there tonight?" I wanted to answer, but I'm also trying to figure how how my little girl is understanding things, so I asked her, "Where do you think she is tonight?". Here's how the conversation went from there:

"She's in Heaven daddy"
"You're right honey, she's in Heaven."
"Why did Mommy die?"

And that last question really got me. She's never asked this before, and I didn't know she was already thinking about Krissy's absence in relation to death. I really didn't know how to answer, but I thought if she's processing like this already, then I should be honest. I explained what cancer was, and Mommy was very sick with it, and she just couldn't stay alive anymore so God took her to Heaven so she could rest. She then wanted to know why God took Mommy. I hope this made sense to her and that she'll understand it later, but he took Mommy because she was a good person and so she could rest in Heaven while she watched over us.

Cam was quiet for a minute and I knew she was filing it all way into that brilliant little brain of hers. Finally she asked, "Is that why you cry for Mommy?" Boy, nothing gets by this kid. Yes, I told her, that is why I cry, because I miss her and wish she was here with us instead of being in Heaven, but I'm glad she is not sick anymore. Again, a break to process, and then she wrapped it up with "I love you Daddy" which of course made me cry.

Every single day these girls amaze me with their personalities, their intelligence, their strength, and their perfect little hearts. Although I didn't want to do it alone, I'm incredibly thankful that I can raise them to be such wonderfully good people. And every so often, one of them will completely blow my mind on a simple car ride home.