Posted by: Kathy | April 15, 2014

Death Can’t Kill

Death killed my mom’s body, but it did not kill her soul.

Death took away my mom’s physical presence, but it cannot take away her place in the hearts of those who will always love her.

Death keeps new memories of my mom from coming to life, but it will never take away the memories of all the precious moments we shared.

Death is the finality of life on this earth. The ones left behind grieve for the loss. We moved forward. Give away our loved ones clothes. Take down pictures. Remove things that symbolize the person who is gone. But it is not the physical knick knacks that hold true memories. Those special moments live in the heart and mind as feelings and pictures of the past. They will live on in the stories I tell my children, and those I keep close to my heart. Ingrained as a piece of me.

I will never stop loving you, Mom. I will never stop thinking of you or forget all that you did for me and all that we shared. I promise that you will never be forgotten by the family who loves you. Always.

Posted by: Kathy | March 25, 2014

Daily Prompt: Moments to Remember

Today’s daily prompt from WordPress asks “what are the three most memorable moments — good or bad, happy or sad — in your life?” There are many memorable moments in my life. In the almost 45 years I have been on this earth, so much has happened in my life. I can truly say that I have lived an interesting life so far. At times my life has been filed with much joy, and during others, deep sadness. To pick the three most memorable is a challenge. Weddings, births, deaths, good times and bad. So much to choose from, but I guess that makes me lucky. I have many moments in my life that have a made a deep impression on my heart, and at times changed me for the better, made me think, and helped me to grow.

For this post, I am going to focus on three memorable moments that have touched my heart and one that made me laugh.

Memorable moment 1 – the day my son became a black belt: on November 15, 2008, at the age of 9, my son became a black belt in TaeKwonDo. He was focused and prepared, but the student I saw on the mat that day was different than one I had ever seen before. Matt showed skill and determination, and never for one moment faltered, even though I knew he was exhausted. For more than 6 hours, my son hardly stopped moving as he demonstrated multiple forms, offense and defense techniques, sparring, and board breaking, along with the historical knowledge associated with each form. When he wasn’t on the mat performing, he was off to the side jogging in place, doing jumping jacks or punches, or in plank position. My son earned that belt and I had never been so proud of him.

I think part of his determination to get that belt was because he knew if he didn’t get it that day, his grandmother would never know he had earned his black belt. While my son was testing for black belt, my mom was dying from pancreatic cancer. This was the only TaeKwonDo testing my mom had missed, but she knew Matt was testing that day. She believed in her grandson so deeply that she fought against the pain of pancreatic cancer so that she could be here when he got his belt. My mom died less than 24 hours after learning that Matt had passed his testing and was a black belt. It was the determination of both my son and my mom on this day that I will never forget.

Matt testing for 2nd degree black belt

Matt testing for 2nd degree black belt

 

Memorable moment 2 – the day my mom revealed her feelings to me: in October 2008, my mom was in the hospital because of complications from pancreatic cancer. Of course, my mom told me that I didn’t need to be there, but I stayed with her the entire day. In the ER, through different tests, and when she was admitted, I was with my mom. She would have done the same for me, even I tried to kick her out. I’ve always said that throughout my mom’s illness, she was the strongest of us all. My mom never spoke to me about her feelings and was always optimistic that she would beat this cancer. The dream she held on to was to dance at her grandson’s wedding.

When we were in the ER, I asked my mom the question I had wanted to know since she’d been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Was she scared? My mom told me that of course she was scared and that she didn’t want to die. Unfortunately, on that day, I think we both knew that this was the beginning of the end. My mom had fought a hard and brave battle against a deadly disease, but it was winning. Now it was time for the truth. It was time for us to make the most of whatever time we had left together. After my mom told me how she felt, she made me make a promise to her. She made me promise that I would always keep her memory alive for the kids. At that time, Matt was 9, and he had spent a lot of time with his grandmother. Nikki was only 2 years old. Although she knew who Grandmom was, I knew she would probably never have any memories of her own. My mom told me that her deepest regret about dying was not being able to see the kids grow up. I promised my mom that I would always keep her memory alive for my kids, and over the last 5+ years I have kept that promise.

Mom and Matt - Easter 2008

Mom and Matt – Easter 2008

Mom and Nikki, Christmas 2007

Mom and Nikki, Christmas 2007

 

Memorable moment 3 – the day my daughter first rolled her eyes at me: almost all parents know what it’s like to have their kids roll their eyes at them. The reason this is memorable for me is because when my daughter first rolled her eyes at me, she was barely 2 years old. I knew then I was in trouble.  I had just put my daughter to bed and was getting ready to turn out the light. Of course, she was not happy about having to go to sleep (this girl can be a night owl if you let her). I said something to Nikki about going to sleep and she rolled her eyes at me. I couldn’t believe it. I asked my husband if he saw it, and he hadn’t, but he believed me. We both laughed, kissed our daughter goodnight, and turned off the light.

Nikki has a spit-fire, shot out of a cannon personality. She is like a whirlwind in my life. Nikki can make me laugh or scream. She can fill my heart with the deepest of loves or with complete frustration. My daughter has a very special personality and you never know what to expect from her. Nikki is like a rainbow, filling the lives of those around here with light, colors, hopes, and dreams. She is always happy, and many times that happiness, along with her love, is just what I need at the end of a long day. The reason the day Nikki first rolled her eyes at me is such a memorable moment is because I could see her true personality coming out – someone who is full of emotions and surprises. I began to see what an amazing person my daughter is, and I can’t wait to see how she continues to grow.

Nikki's famous pout - one of her many expressions

Nikki’s famous pout – one of her many expressions

 

So many memories live in my heart and mind, and a lot of these can be called memorable. It was difficult choosing only 3 to share. But I shared those that came to mind first.

 

Posted by: Kathy | March 15, 2014

Loss of a Faithful Friend

The house feels a bit empty today. No big dog to step over.

As I wrote in a previous post, my dog Kodi was diagnosed with lymphoma less than 2 weeks ago. I started him on prednisone and he was doing great. The lymph nodes went down to normal size and his appetite was back, along with his personality. I had hope for some time with my dog.

But when l felt the lymph nodes in Kodi’s neck on Thursday, they were swollen again. About the size of golf balls. My hope shaken, I called our vet to see what it meant. She was not happy and warned me that it may be the beginning of the end. But I would have never guessed that the end was only a day away.

Yesterday Kodi seemed off. His lymph nodes had doubled in size over night. By late afternoon he was having trouble swallowing and his breathing was odd. Scared, I raced him to the vet. She told me that his lymph nodes were huge and were pressing on his lungs and heart. Soon he wouldn’t be able to swallow at all and would begin to have real trouble with breathing.

I wasn’t with our usual vet, but this woman was kind and compassionate. She showed a clear love for dogs and I could sense her sadness for Kodi’s situation.

My son was with me. I didn’t know what to do. A week before Kodi was doing great. Now I had a decision to make. One that I never thought I would have to make so suddenly. I did not want Kodi to suffer. As looked into my dog’s eyes I could see that he was tired. I knew I had to let him go. Such a hard decision, but the right one for Kodi.

My son said goodbye and then went to the waiting room.

image

I stayed with Kodi until the end. Crying. Hugging my dog. Telling how much I loved him. Somehow I think he knew, and he was calm.

image

This is not the first time I’ve gone to the vet with a crated or leashed pet and come home without my beloved friend. It doesn’t get any easier, and the house seems a little empty today. I am sad, but I know I did the right thing.

Rest in peace Kodi. We love you.

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