I hope all Veterans find comfort in this song. Know this, there are Americans that appreciate you !!! I thank you for your willingness to serve. Thank you for being unselfish. Thank you for keeping America America !!! I ache for the various pains you have suffered. May we move forward as a nation that honors God !!!
Yes, I know, had God wanted Shawn to live he would be alive today. The words from one of Shawn’s nurses, still jolt me. She had told me how unfair it was to make them take care of a body that wasn’t going to survive. I wasn’t trying to be cruel. How do others expect a mom to say “yes”, shut the life saving machines off, to end my son’s life ? How long are these memories going to cause me such torment ? If I would have known what Shawn wanted, I could better accept my role in his end.
For most of you, you will be thinking~what a no brainer, Kathy, think of how awful life was and would have been for Shawn~ his body was destroyed in the fire, get a grip. Folks, until you are faced with that decision~you will not understand the misery. There are some who treat life as no big deal. Partial birth abortions have been promoted by one of the candidates for president. It has caused me great tumult to witness how meaningless some value life. How can I be so torn with my decision, yet those who believe in partial birth abortions, seem to put themselves in God’s place ?
Sometime ago, I think I mentioned the background of my blog? This may be the last photo Shawn took. At the beginning of last school year, I had told some folks at work, how neat it would be to have a panel of the garage door painted using Shawn’s photo. It was told to me how difficult it would be. One of my friends said she would be able to paint it, if I would bring a piece of wood. I had this round board, painted for another project. My friend was pleased and told me it was perfect. The project was put on hold due to the death of my friend’s father. She was going to be very busy dejunking his house and readying it for sale. Then, my friend had hurt her back, while helping one of her passengers, near the end of school year 2015-16. Barb Ward was able to return to work, the last week of school. You would not believe what she brought for me. She did an amazing job !!!~~~
This has been a rough school year. You see, I love constancy, in a huge way !!! As it is, right now, I am to help out, in several ares at work, when I am not driving. The easiest way to explain is that my route is on a TBA list for a particular school. As soon as it is ready, I will have my complete schedule. I will know day to day my drive times and break times. Thus, far, I have spent many hours taking care of miscellaneous tasks and not completing my own tasks.
By this time each year I have labeled my route sheets with notes, for when another driver will have to drive my run. For instance, I have an area, on my run, that gets very foggy. So, I have come up with a fog count. I work with my passengers so they know when to count for the upcoming turn. I have other helpful labelings I do for my route book.
Thus far, this school year, I have spent a lot of time helping others and putting off my to dos. Next week, I am buckling down, I am going selfish. I am going to concentrate on my projects; like working on my ornaments, detailing my bus, making calls, getting beach decorations finished, etc. I love routine. I am not complaining. I am working hard at accepting that this is what God wants from me right now and I am going to do the best job I can, even if it means driving special needs routes.
Last weekend, I was working diligently to sort the many photos and videos of Shawn, after the fire. They are in various locations. I am trying to get them all to one secure place. If relatives want to see them, they can ask. You may not remember that Shawn had 73% deep tissue burns. There were not many areas untouched, on his body, by the fire. I have mentioned how Shawn would rest his head-meaning cheek, on my hand. I would switch from one side of the bed to the other, in hopes he would not get too achy, from being in one position. Shawn’s teeth were beautiful. Some parts of his thighs were okay, areas used for grafting. Anyways, I do not know how to word this~~~as I was looking at some of the recording and photos, I was struck to the core of my being: Shawn did not look like Shawn. Here is where my awfulness comes in, I deserve to be nominated worst Mom, ever. As I gazed at the various images I heard myself say; “Shawn looked scary.” My baby ! How could I have said such awfulness ? How could I ??? I loved him, so much. How could I be so cruel ???
A photograph of Ronald Reagan as a young child. He is standing between his mother and older brother, Neil. Notice his Dutchboy haircut, from which he got the nickname, “Dutch.”
I was the only one who would hold his little left arm. I tried to fix his chapped lips. I would lightly touch his head~I did find his 8 gray hairs~the ones I first found when Shawn was 3 and I was giving him a dutch boy hair cut~it was so cute on him. We were living in my Gram and Gramp Million’s house in Milwaukie. We were on the covered back porch. I remember it so clearly. I remember finding those 8 stiff gray hairs. They stood straight up when the rest of Shawn’s hair lay flat. I remember when Shawn was in the hospital and his hair had started to grow back and I felt those gray hairs. Those precious gray hairs. Shawn’s body had worked so hard to recover from the fire. Who would have thought 8 gray hairs would be such a big deal ???
Why did I say Shawn looked scary ??? How wrong and awful of me !!!
I was in the driver’s room just before afternoon runs. I glanced at the TV, a man in a hospital bed on life support. I needed the channel changed, no one had the courage to change it. Finally, this tall guy stepped up. I thanked him and explained. Then he told me about being in the hospital with his son, who had been in a coma for 5 days. The first moments upon his waking, the son still had some paralysis, which added to his angst. The son was very distraught and profusely apologizing for making his Dad go through all the awful events. The son wanted his Dad to forgive him and he wanted to make sure his Dad knew how thankful he was for his support. He told his Dad he knew he wasn’t the awful person he had been taught to believe. The dad had tears streaming down his face as he recounted the details. The interesting thing is that during those 5 days the son was in a coma, he told his Dad that he knew he was at his side the whole time. He knew about all the tears his Dad had shed and all the prayers prayed. For some reason, Eric told me that my child can still have an affect. ???
I do not like being in the drivers room. One day a young person was asking if it was too hard to be a parent. The answers were all over the place, but then, those folks haven’t had a child die. Life does change after a child dies !!! BUT, I will always cherish that God chose me to be Shawn’s MOM !!!
I am struggling to remember when this happened, but I think it was sometime around Shawn’s b.day, January 2013. Melissa and I were always calling folks so Shawn could hear them. He would try so hard to talk. On one of Shawn’s calls with Bob, he kept saying: “Bob, I am sorry”, over and over and over. We could not get the other words figured out. I feel so awful that I was not able to figure out a lot of Shawn’s words or attempts at communicating. So, as Eric was talking about his son saying he was “sorry”, I was replaying the phone call moments when Shawn was saying “sorry” to Bob.
During Shawn’s hospital times, what I did love was when Shawn would rest his head peacefully on my hand. I recall many times when I was so exhausted that I thought I could not stand anymore. I worked so hard to try and make sure Shawn didn’t know that my hand was aching. I cannot tell you how precious it was to watch him during those peaceful moments. Those moments for hope are gone. How I hope to keep the feeling of those moments.
A favorite saying Shawn would tell his children.
This past October 13th, I was walking down the bus lot, to the track, it felt like the time I was sitting next to Shawn, at Chilis, July 2012. I could actually, feel Shawn’s presence, all the way to the track. It was so real. I had such…I cannot find the right phrase, but it was wonderful !!!
Grief is so frustrating. I thought I had gotten through a bad lung issue, but something was causing a gut grind. I was doing some online searches for asthma helps, last weekend, when I was slammed with a major guilt trip. Did I do enough for Shawn ?
You see, our pastor and his wife had come up to the hospital, to visit Shawn, December 31, 2012. Shortly, before they arrived, a note had been placed on Shawn’s door. Something about only immediate family were allowed in, at the request of the family. Well, I must have missed that meeting.
I thought it would be appropriate for Shawn’s past pastor to visit. A decision was made that we would visit in the waiting room and not cause anymore stress, for me, in case Shawn’s family found out. My first, response back was that; I was part of Shawn’s family, why couldn’t I have some say regarding who visited him ? Our pastor had been informed that my parental rights, as Shawn’s mother, were being threatened and I could, possibly, have my visits with Shawn, terminated. I decided to go along with our pastor’s decision.We had a very nice visit. I hope they enjoyed watching the fireworks, that January 2013, from their room. I know what a comfort they were to me, back then, and I hope God will bless them for their efforts, courage and thoughtfulness.
I apologize for mentioning this issue. It caused me great turmoil during Shawn’s last days. I try, very hard not to mention anything about the other side of my story. I hope, someday, for the mending of relationships and do not want to ruin that opportunity. I, for certain, do not want Shawn’s children to think that Gram K is mean to folks or evil. I am trying to find ways to build bridges with hurt relationships that occurred from Shawn’s situation. I think many issues are still, too saddening, for me. My hope is that time will heal my many aches. I, sure hope I was able to hide that turmoil when I was at Shawn’s bedside, trying to comfort him. I hope I did not add to his suffering. Did he know ???
It was and is, ALL, so hard !!!
My slam this past weekend was in being reminded about Shawn’s repeated plea, telling Bob he was sorry. What if Shawn needed closure with our pastor ? Should I have been more insistent ??? Did I do enough for Shawn ???
About 3 weeks ago, I learned that, many times, Shawn had said he wished they hadn’t shut me out of their lives. I know the words were meant to be positive, but for whatever reason, they pierced me to the marrow. It is my hope, in time, those words from Shawn, will override my guilt of not doing enough for him.
I was speaking with a friend about doing my posts audio, when my bad lung voice is so awful sounding. She was very certain that I need do them, anyway. My voice, no matter how it sounds is part of who I am. I will certainly try.
My asthma voice does not record well. I may have to go back to just typed posts~~~I am just re-figuring things. I need to get my breathing under better control and figure out how I can better voice things. Most days, I can control the wheezing sound, but it is exhausting work. To go through and try to eliminate all the wheezing noises would be extremely difficult. I will check with my listeners who are hard of hearing, and find out if they can understand me~this way. So, please be patient while I figure out what is the best solution.
All my growing up years, with asthma, the doctors would look at my nails. They would tell me they were blue. I just thought my nails were normal, until last night. For whatever reason, I looked at my nails, they were a pale blue. It reminded me what doctors had said, in years gone by. I, actually, was alarmed.
A friend reminded me that ginger helps with asthma times. So, today, I am using my tinctures of: ginger, cinnamon and peppermint. Truth be told, when I was like this growing up, I would be taken to the hospital. The times of most relief came when a nurse would give me a shot of adrenaline. I get emotional when I remember those times. I could feel the medicine travel through my veins. Then, almost suddenly, the pain in my lungs went away, I was able to breathe without work. Thus far, there is nothing that has made my lungs feel so good. I have taught myself how to use inhalers in a more effective way than most medical folks will teach. There are times when my breathing condition is just too much for most medicines to tackle.
How strange, Monday morning when I stepped onto the track, my lungs had this most wonderful feeling. They were breathing, fully, with no pain and no extra hard work !!! It was so wonderful !!! Then, Friday morning, the fight for each breath, was on. Maybe my doctor who told me that while grief was strong, my lungs would not be center stage and that as my grief lessened my asthma might return, even worse. Maybe he was right. How do I get my mind to chase my asthma away ? My adrenals have been in overload, for many years. I hope my tinctures and Kombucha will be effective.
Maybe, most of you have good breathing and are not cognisant of your every breath you take, so this will make no sense to you. I do apologize. I do not say this for sympathy. I am simply sharing. Maybe someone out there has some helpful information ?
I am going to share what I put up on my facebook site. Just to let you know about one of the projects I am trying to get finished.
Hello folks. I am working on a beach decorating idea for Jan., for those who have lost a special person to death. I need flower petals I can dry. Oh yes, if you would like me to put your special person’s name or nickname, on the decoration, let me know soon so I can get letter cuttings done. I am hoping to give folks a precious moment for their precious person. If this is confusing let me know. Please get flower petals to me-dried flowers will work, as well. Take care, K
The past few weeks I have been tormented. I wake suddenly, hearing: “Kathy, you did not tell the doctors to keep Shawn alive. You let them decide”. From there, things do not get better. A few weeks ago, I was told that, several times, Shawn had said he wished they hadn’t kept me out of their lives for so many years. The few times we did have were a little awkward. We were strangers~~~they had been gone for so long. At the time of the fire, we had had only a few times together. Sometimes, it seems that we are told important things, too late. It is, almost, more painful. I think that is why the decisions I had to make, while Shawn was in the hospital, were harder~~~I truly did not know what Shawn would have wanted me to decide. So, is Shawn disappointed in me because I have let his death diminish myself to a ball of sadness ? The last matter to bring me torment, is the replay of Shawn’s body, under the blue vinyl, being rolled through the double doors to an open elevator. He was being taken away,
so very far away from me.
Well, as God’s timing goes, I had a scheduled meeting with my counselor. I was a bit anxious~I had a lot of issues bugging me: like television shows that portray hospital scenes which make my head reel. Why ??? I still ache, tremendously, over Shawn’s goneness. Is it even possible for me to grasp moving forward ???
I shared my list of concerns. We talked over each one. We scheduled my next visit. Before I was to leave, my counselor told me that he felt, very strongly, about telling me that I am entering a new season. Yes, season. The word season is more fitting, for me, than grief stages. My counselor made certain that he understood and expects me to have more months of difficulties~moving forward can cause uneasiness because a releasing is being worked out. The pain of grief will still be with me, as are my other issues, but we are going to find a way to bring purpose out of my difficulties, it is time.
My new assignment:
* I am to look for God in each day.
* I am to find creative ways to help fellow grievers. Oh boy, my counselor has no idea what door he just opened~or does he ? At work there are 6 individuals, 2 couples and 2 retirees, who have lost a child. For my friends from work, I have put the word out about a special beach decoration I want to do for our fellow grievers, when I go to Rockaway in January. I have been amazed at how well received my idea has been. Just one clue: flower petals are the main element. I have several folks helping me gather the things I need. My hope is to share the photo and story on January 1st.
* I am to try to find a way to put events from Shawn’s life, in writing or digital form. My job: I am one of Shawn’s representatives to his children. I will need to talk to those closest to Shawn and gather as many precious moments, as possible and save them to electronic devices. This one has been difficult, already, because of my unknowingness or lack of skill for a lot of technology~know hows. I need to focus on how I can honor Shawn, in a different way; learning about his life. Shawn will always be a part of my life. I need to shift my energy from Shawn’s goneness to his children. They need to know their Dad. I am going to celebrate Shawn. This new season is not a forgetting time. I am just shifting my focus. I will not get upset, with myself, because of the times when the grief ache rattles my heart. My counselor told me to expect things to be difficult for some time.
I have so much to do, and that I will.
Truth be told~~~I do not like this trunk of grief, that weighs me down.
I decided to do something different. These pictures represent Blotto’s beginnings. I remember very clearly the day I drew her. I was sitting in a study hall class. I, even, remember where. On this rare day, I was not sick with my lung problems. The weather was not cold just a little overcast. I was all caught up in my studies. Blotto was my attempt at doodling. I am not ashamed to let folks know that I am not artsy. For one reason or another, I cannot draw a straight line with a ruler, thus, I have deemed myself not artistic. As far as I have been able to calculate, this was spring of 1973.
Last year, near this time, Bob had commented that my grief blog was too depressing. How strange: just a few months before that, I had been sorting through old papers~when I found this drawing of Blotto. I started thinking how I could have a kind of blog mascot.
One of my brothers is very gifted in his drawing abilities and his abilities on the computer. He was going to make an image I could place here and there on my site, just for fun. He had spent hours placing the right color of blue hair strands, sculpting the shape, placing the eyes, nose and mouth. The feet were great. So, his work was finished. I came up with another idea. I wanted Blotto to talk. It would have taken my brother, a lot more work. I didn’t want to overwhelm him, so I had him put Blotto on hold. I needed to think. I was at a fabric store and came upon this dark blue fur. Then it happened, the idea wheels were spinning in my head !!! I was going to make a Blotto. She would visit places and I would photo her at various landmarks or something neat. I had to do some re-figuring. She would need arms and legs. I went to several used stuff stores and regular stores. I looked at A LOT of stuffed toys and dolls.
The original enlarged and the new.
Parts ready to be attached.
Time for sewing.
All this tugging reminded me of a time in my childhood, watching a calf being born. The mama was struggling. It took folks a lot of tugging before the calf landed on the straw.
Yep, Blotto’s debut. Flag Day, June 14, 2016.
After coming home from Rockaway for Shawn’s 3rd year gone, I came upon a voice for Blotto and PorQ. So, if you ever receive a picture of one of them, look for the gray bar under the picture, and click the arrow for a cute listen.
My next post will show a few of the places Blotto has visited, this has been such fun !!!