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A No Brainer November 5, 2016


One of my beach visits.

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 !!!20160619_145711.jpg~~~

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."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 !!!



Audio is Available, My Grief Challenges

The Driver’s Room October 29, 2016


My son <3:

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, 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.

Audio is Available, My Grief Challenges

Keep Shawn Alive October 15, 2016


Background music:–CxCXCv4p0moving-forward

                                                       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. nothing-soothes  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.


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A Couple Movies October 8, 2016

I have been down in the dumps, a lot, lately. I am hoping to write about various issues in a week or so. The mire is quite thick. Maybe I just cannot let Shawn go ??? Whatever that means.  I came across a couple movies, on TBN. Sometimes it is helpful to see my emotions brought forth in a movie format. Most movies are just too unreal.     I am very frustrated with myself, as I am trying to figure out who I am or what good I can effect.    This movie is titled Courageous. It deals with more than a child’s death. It shows how parents can use their grief in a positive way.

This next movie hit hard. I have thought, many times, that I wanted one more conversation with Shawn, or would I ? Would it be too hard to say goodbye again ??? The movie is: Figure in the Forest: 

I came across a movie called: Rabbit Hole. I have seen this clip. I do not know if I could watch the whole movie, yet.

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This Funny Sound~~~ September 10, 2016




Many years ago, I had this very difficult passenger.  This passenger had quite the bad reputation, on the bus and in school. One day I needed the help from a teacher to get this passenger under control. It was time for me to leave. The teacher said: “This to shall pass”. I decided to find ways to bring out the positive, in this passenger. I had given a warning about him having to sit in seat #1 until I was pleased with his behavior.    

This student was a very smart 3rd grader. He read for me, worked on his homework, explained how to do various math problems, talked about his favorite things to do. One afternoon, I heard this funny sound, coming from seat #1. It stopped. The sound happened again. At my passenger’s stop he played his ring tone.  Both of us were laughing so hard. He told me how to find the Drunk Squirrel ring tone.   It took Bob quite a bit of time to find the correct ring tone. I was so glad he was able to put it on my phone.  I love it !!!

 After that, my passenger was free to sit where he wanted. He chose to stay up front. Each day, this bright child would share the things he had learned that day.        I had been told by the teacher who had helped me, that he was so pleased with the improved behavior of our challenging student/passenger.  Before he would get out of the bus, he would play the ring tone, for me. I  love the memory of those chuckle moments.             My passenger hadn’t ridden for a while. I asked the teacher if he knew anything about him.  It turns out that my passenger had moved. My heart sank.    For me, it is always so hard to no longer transport a passenger that has had such improved behavior.

I will not change my ring tone, there are so  many pleasant memories, each time I hear it.  While in Shawn’s room,  at the hospital, so many folks would laugh when they heard my ring tone.      Oh wait,  I will change my ring tone, if technology figures out how to take some of Shawn’s voice clips and lets me make a message:    

“Love ya, Mom”  


   I am following someone who is on a weight-loss journey.  She recommended this song by Shirley Caesar;  “Peace in the Midst of the Storm”:  


 Our church had a visiting pastor from Wenatchee, September 4, 2016. He mentioned Psalm 42. I was sure it was familiar. I looked up the scripture on pinterest. Lo and behold, Psalm 42:1,  I had memorized after a very scary breathing situation, which landed me in the hospital. I remember my sister Connie helping me breathe into a paper sack, as we were heading back to Gritman Memorial Hospital, in Moscow. I will write more about that time, in another post.         Anyways,  As The Deer I never memorized the rest of the verses. I have read and listened to that chapter, many times.  How it applies to me.  Oh My Soul As I listened to Pastor Gene, I thought he might be talking to me.  He read verse 5. “I will, yet, praise You”, were the only words I heard.  Since Shawn died, I have been feeling awful that joy, praise and gratefulness, are thoughts so far away from me.  I am such a different person, now. Will those words ever apply to me, again, without self-imposed guilt ???   The word that hit me was, “YET”.  Yes, very loud and clear. The muck of grief emotions has been so hard to trudge through. Dark, sad and gloomy are my load to carry. Nothing is fulfilling. There is, always, a dark cloud looming over me.    I, anxiously, await for my “YET” to come !!!



School start up was hard;  a new boss and oh so many sudden changes. Those stresses, a new school year, and the dread of Kindy start-up, all have left many of us exhausted, unsure and apprehensive.

For my morning elementary run, there were many parents and passengers, happy or with happy tears because I am their driver, again.  

One phrase that struck me: “I can’t help, that’s is not my job”.  This phrase, from an upper, hit me hard, throughout the various struggles of our start-up week. Is that how it is ? The folks at the top, pressing and pressing their underlings ???  Then I remembered my counselor telling me not to mull. As I was in the process of letting go, I was jolted. A vivid memory came to mind. It was one of the last conversations Shawn and I had. He was explaining how hard it was to be a good worker-who helped others, instead was criticized, ignored, his efforts were seemed useless. I told Shawn to try and forget the happenings, go to work and try not to think negative of anyone, just be the best worker, within his abilities and not worry what others said about him. I wanted him to get back to me and report how he did. He had a happiness as he explained how things were better with a different outlook.  

Melissa called this past Thursday, with a broken heart-work issues. I gave her an assignment that was meant to lighten her upcoming challenges. I did not tell her I was going to be mentioning Shawn’s work stresses, in this post. Her phone call was tough, as it took me back to one of the last times I spoke with Shawn.  


 I have spoken to other grievers. This Sunday being the 15th year since 911, has many of us overwhelmed and resaddened.  Grief is exhaustingly ceaseless.   

The plane hit where the boulder is now. May 8, 2016

The plane hit where the boulder is now.
May 8, 2016