Endearingly Remembering Shawn, My Grief Challenges, Songs I Like

Shawn’s 33rd B.day January 3, 2017


I attended a Compassionate Friends Candle lighting, this past December 11th.  A song was played at the beginning of our meeting: Alan Pederson: “Tonight I Hold This Candle”. https://youtu.be/xPlBrxzBO9s

I have been trying to work on a post for Shawn’s 33rd b.day.   I am just super stuck. How do I honor Shawn, when I ache so…???

Apparently, I am experiencing a bit of a set back. I have been assured it is expected for this time of year,  Shawn’s b.day being so close to the Christmas celebrations and the new year beginnings.  My emotions and guilt are immense and intense.  So much so that I do not want to talk to anyone.  

Before Christmas break, I was getting ready to putting together Christmas gifts, for my bus passengers. My drunk squirrel ringtone sounded. Would I be able to talk to the person calling ???  It was Melissa. I was afraid to speak not sure I could squash my emotions. We talked about many things and for quite some time. My emotions were brewing, earnestly. I didn’t think I could contain the tears any longer. Both of us kept mentioning Shawn things.  As time was winding down I mustered the courage to ask Melissa  a question that had been plaguing me. Mind you, I know I have spoken to Melissa about this topic before.

I feel bad for Melissa, because she has parents who are tortured by their actions regarding Shawn’s end. Did we kept Shawn’ alive too long ???                         I needed to know if Melissa was upset with me~did I give Shawn enough time ??? My guilt was building~as it does frequently, the nagging thought~did I, selfishly, make the hospital staff care for a body that wasn’t going to survive ??? How will ALL the staff-those who cleaned Shawn’s room, those in the cafeteria, those who tended to Shawn’s various needs~~~so many more~~~ at Harborview, ever know how much I appreciate ALL the care they showed our family ??? How do I thank all the rescuers ???

  Was it wrong of me to want to give Shawn more time, in case his body decided to start healing ? 

Melissa gave a profound response~~~I believe it was providential !!!    She was talking about all the issues that were happening, all the folks involved in the decision, and then, in the middle of her response,  she simply said:  “It is not that we kept Shawn alive, torturously, too long.  Its not that we didn’t give Shawn’s body time to heal it was just his time to go…”

A long open, here is my tribute to Shawn:


My favorite number is 33. Today is Shawn’s 33rd b.day. It is a simple tribute. For some reason I could not muster more.  At first, I felt awful for not having a wonderful, jubilant and captivating design, and I only made one.  BUT, as reality sets in, and the ache of Shawn’s goneness has increased, how could I do otherwise ???  

 Shawn, I hope the lights for your b.day decoration will shine bright and show my love for you !!!   20170102_172101.jpg






Audio is Available, Just Sharin'

A Whole Year !!! December 29, 2016




That makes now the perfect time to thank you for being a CarMax customer.

From the moment you walked on our lot to purchase your 2015 Kia Soul, we hope you’ve enjoyed the ownership experience.

And remember, we never get tired of seeing familiar faces at CarMax, so please drop by anytime, whether it’s to service your vehicle, get an appraisal of your vehicle, or even to search for another vehicle.


It is hard to believe I have had “My Focus Changer”, 2015 Kia Soul, a whole year !!!  How funny, I am, to find joy in my car.  

2015-12-28 13.06.32

Here is a positive from bad weather Wednesday, December 14, 2016.  A work mechanic helped me finish with my bus chains, I was probably an hour behind schedule. I cannot tell you how wonderful it was to feel the bump of the chains and hear the sound of the ice breaking under my tires.  

I was on Monterey, bumper to bumper. It took more than five minutes to move a few feet. I had one passenger on the bus. Unusual for him, he was quiet and not jumping up and down. Suddenly, I heard my drunk squirrel ringtone. What should I do ?  I called out to my passenger to see if he could grab my phone. He was asleep. Looking ahead, I could tell that I was not going to be moving anytime soon. I set my brake and got up to fetch my phone. It was not work, it was my husband. He was stuck in traffic and was wondering how the traffic was my way.  He was trying to decide if he should get to my car and chain it or head home. I told him to get home, it was dark and the dogs needed to be taken care of. I was certain I would be able to chain my car.

Mind you, I bought chains for my car the night I bought it. I was sluffy and did not practice chaining my car !!!

At around 6:30 I parked my bus, best as I could into its park spot. I found a scoop thing in the shop and tried to find the back corner of my spot. I am in the first spot, buses drive around to get to their spots. It seemed a good idea to get as close to my spot as possible. Bob was calling me. He was at my car and had just finished chaining it ! Wow ! I was so thrilled ! I told Bob to get home, and get warmed up.  I wanted to see if there was any way I could help at work. 

No one needed my help. As I was walking past my supervisor, she was repeating a request from a caller… “you need help…”. I heard nothing else, went and grabbed another driver who was wanting to help. Middle schoolers were being taken to middle schools to wait for rides. There were about 500 students at the middle school, at the top of our entrance. When my friend and I entered the school we asked where we were needed.

My friend and I went separate ways. I ended up in the library. There were at least 30 students. I approached a couple ladies with I.D., sure they could tell me what to do. At that moment, several students entered the library. I was told to just wander around and make sure everyone was okay.  The time seemed to drag. Many students had left and I was told I was free to go.   Back at work, I asked if anyone needed my help. I was told to go home.

I told my supervisor that my husband had gotten the chains put on my car, did anyone need a ride ? She went to check. As it turned out, there were 3 people who had been stranded, for quite some time. How cool was that, I would be able to get some folks home. There was no telling when they were going to be able to get a ride.

I was bragging about my husband chaining my car for me. The girls were grateful, as well. I raced to my car, in hopes of getting it warm before they got inside it. I had a couple blankets, hoping that would ease their chill. As we were getting ready to leave, I told the girls that I wanted to test my chains. I was impressed !!!

Our first stop was a lighted intersection. I could not trip the light, so it took a while to get through.  The wait at the light gave me time to plan our route.  The first person kept telling me to drop her near the hospital, she would be fine from there. I insisted I was dropping her near to her door as possible. First one home safe.

The next 2 decided to go to the nearest home. Sunnyside was the only road we could take.  A lot of sitting and waiting as traffic was at a stand still. My passengers and I were quite surprised at the irrational behavior, under atrocious road conditions, some drivers displayed. I kept apologizing to my passengers, I was trying to make sure I had plenty of safe space around my car. Many cars around us did not have chains and were sliding, a lot.  Up ahead I could see lights flashing and cars moving out of the right lane. A white car needed towing-it blocked most of the road. 

Later in the evening, the district communicated when the last student was taken home. I prayed that all my co-workers were safe and warm.


Bob had gone to bed before I got home. I was unable to settle down~I was, still, upset with myself for messing up my bus chains. I kept hearing crash noises out the back of our house. This photo does not show the mess of cars down that road. 

It was obvious, no school Thursday, our usual garbage day. Even though I had the garbage at the curb, I was praying that the garbage people would not have to work. I couldn’t see how anyone was going to be able to maneuver through all the stranded cars. I was thrilled when a call came through about garbage service being delayed a day. No way was I going to take my chains off my car, in case there was school Friday. Calls came in that garbage would be picked up next garbage day. Then, the no school call. I was very glad.      The ice and cars… suffice it to say that cars were being dug out Friday afternoon.  And thus, an early Christmas break !!!

Audio is Available, Just Sharin'

Hello Dad & Mom December 25, 2016



Hello Dad & Mom, how amazing, 50 years ago, on Christmas you 2 were married !!! I remember very clearly when Dad asked Marlin, Duane and myself if we would like to have a new mom.

All of us Million siblings have been blessed. Your commitment to one another, through various trying circumstances, is a wonderful example for folks to follow. Your work ethics, are hard for others to be compared with. You provided well for your children. Dad, growing up, I do not remember you being sick and not able to go into work. Mom, how proud I was to show off the clothes you made for us. You 2, always seem to find room for more visitors.  Meals at the Millions, better than any restaurant !!! You have gone out of your way to help or visit dear ones.

I pray God bless you, immensely. I hope for answers regarding health issues. I pray all your children, grandchildren and great grandchildren would appreciate the special couple you are !!! Thanks for caring !!! Thanks for giving !!! Thanks for loving !!!

For me, I asked of you a very hard thing. You 2 will never know what a comfort you  were for me on Shawn’s last day. I am grateful you had the courage to be with Melissa, Shawn and myself, as we waited.  

I hope your love continues to grow~it is encouraging for all those around you.

I love you 2 and thank God He allowed me to have you as parents !!!   Blessings on your 50th anniversary !!! Lovingly, K

Audio is Available, FYI, Just Sharin'

My “Onspot” Chains December 17, 2016

Wednesday, December 14, 2016.  https://youtu.be/37XGQdltQDw

As us drivers were leaving for our afternoon runs, the snow had started blowing, some.  We were told  to drive our normal routes , no inclement weather routes. Okay. Many of our buses have “Onspot” chains or automatic drop down chains.   ONSPOT   https://youtu.be/EwLCOqIUvsU.

All my elementary passengers were loaded and ready to head to the next school. Many of my passengers leave and transfer to other buses. I am usually left with 35-42 students.

On the way to the transfer school I was nervous going down the steep driveway. There was no way I could get to the speed of 5 mph in order to activate my “Onspot” chains, so I proceeded rather cautiously. As soon as I gained enough speed I flipped up the cover and pushed up the lever to turn on my “Onspot” chains. How thankful I was to feel the bump of the chains under my tires and hear wonderful sound of the jingling chains. There were many cars, on that 10 minute stretch of icy road, that swerved in front of me. After all, who wants to be behind a school bus ???                  I am always thrilled that my chains may be breaking up the ice, making for better traction for those who follow in my path.

We arrived safely at our transfer point. “Onspot” chains do not have to be cancelled when the bus is stopped, when the bus starts to move again, the chains go into action. This time was different. As I was taking my left out of the school, I saw cars slide driving down the slight hill. I could not hear the any chain noise. Finally, they kicked in. I made it up the hill took a careful right and then the chains were quiet, again.    I was heading to another steep incline and a right turn. With no chain noise. I decided to take an immediate left. I wanted to get onto the main road  from a flat area.  The signaled intersection was awful for all vehicles.  I had given myself enough room to keep moving forward, carefully and slowly. I had not shut off my chains, they remained silent.  Then, I heard their pleasant jingle noise. I would be fine. After-all, my route had gone through such drastic changes that I didn’t have any bad areas to travel.  I started praying for my co-workers. My route used to cover many of the awful hills, many of them would be driving on.  Oh that my co-workers would be safe. Oh that all our passengers would be safe. Oh that those around us inside or outside of vehicles would be safe. The weather was getting worse and yet more worse.

My chains quit, again. I paced carefully. It was very slick. I had had many close calls-many cars had slid around me to avoid my stop sign.  I eased around a right corner, my chains were working again. I was able to proceed, ever so cautiously. As I turned my next right, there was about 20 feet when my chains sounded. They quit at my next left. I had a kindy stop coming up. I wanted her to be safe. As I approached her stop, I had seen a car slide down the slight incline I was to traverse. My kindy was across the road, safely on her way.

I was at the base of the incline. I had no way to get up enough speed for momentum to help me up the hill. There was a car behind me that had slid to a stop and avoided tangling with my bumper. I accelerated enough to not slip and got half way up the hill. Then I started sliding backward. For whatever reason, the car behind me had stayed back. I tried to move forward, but to no avail. I needed to get the bus to stop. Suddenly, it gripped and I set the brake. I was pleased to have missed a mailbox.

After many moments, it was told to me to chain up. By that time, a couple of cars, had almost hit me:  one slid down the hill while the other was proceeding up the hill.                   

I did not put triangles out, they would have slid down the hill.  I was getting anxious. I had, at least 30 elementary passengers, and they were very hyper. One of my kindys has a voice that carries over anything. He kept yelling: “We’re going to die !!!”.  The bus was secure. I put my keys in my vest pocket.  Not on the carabiner clip on my work badge ???HTS L0-273 1 Pc Purple 47mm Mini Aluminum Carabiner with 16mm OpeningI assigned 2 helpers to help keep passengers in their seats. I figured the less movement the less chance of sliding downward, more. I proceeded to chaining.


As far as chaining goes, at the start of each school year us bus drivers have a chaining day. I love chaining day !!! I do a great job. BUT: the bus lot is level/ish. I usually do not need a coat. The ground is not slick.  We also check our “Onspot” chains. This year mine were a little slow at stopping, but performed well after a couple tries.


As I was getting ready to put the chain over the wheel, a car came very close to sliding into me. 2 men came to help. BUT, I had gotten so flustered and my task kept being interrupted by cars sliding towards me, that I did everything wrong. Well, one thing I did right, I put chocks behind my front tires. My vest was too cold. I stepped into the bus to get my coat. The kindy was still repeating his phrase scarring his bus mates. I hung up my vest on the back of my seat.

I needed to refix my mess-up with the chains. The men were trying to help in whatever way possible. One car crashed into a bush and they were able to help that driver. 

Funny thing. All my bending under the bus, my wonderful glasses never fell off,  fogged up or got scratched !!!

One of the men and I were finishing tightening the chain on the road side. All of a sudden, a work mechanic, was approaching my bus-on foot. I noticed him when he slid towards me, there was no sure footing, on this area of ice. How did he know to help me ???     School helpers came and assisted with my passengers. Those precious ladies. Another lady offered to let all my passengers into her house to get warmed up. I had to explain that as a rule we are to not let passengers out of the bus until their designated stop. No one else can take a child unless we see I.D., they need to be on the designated list for picking up and we must be given permission from dispatch. Her kindness helped ease my tension.

The bus was chained, chocks moved to behind back wheels, in case sliding happened. The mechanic was sure the chains were tight enough, but he was going to move the bus forward enough to get me to a good place to continue my route. He needed the key. I couldn’t find the key~~~because I had not put it on my carabiner   HTS L0-273 1 Pc Purple 47mm Mini Aluminum Carabiner with 16mm Opening . I checked everywhere: pulled down my cover/rain pants. Checked my ski pants, shoes, coat pockets, under the bus. I checked everywhere I could thing of. A search was on. The mechanic had an idea. He was in the driver seat, I had sat in seat 2 to talk with the kindy who had everyone scarred. I stood up to talk to the mechanic. My hand landed on my vest.  I knew where the bus key was located. Yep, my left vest pocket.  

Were my blunders finished ??? Nope.  The mechanic told me to let dispatch know I was back on the road. The radio was very quiet. I was near the CTC when I let dispatch know I would be late to MHS. I could not figure out why there was no one else having problems. I noticed the word busy on my radio. For some reason I turned the volume knob-I guess the mechanic had turned the volume down and I didn’t realize it. It wasn’t long until I could hear the many problems. I felt so awful for everyone. My gut wrinkled with each difficulty. My guilt because of my ineptness grew~~~I never want to make things difficult for dispatch !!!   I am sure I did, that crazy Wednesday afternoon.  There is a lot more to be told, maybe another time.

I will end on this note: I am thankful for all our wonderful dispatch and all who helped out during the messy storm !!! Our mechanics are the best !!! How blessed for the many other workers that helped stranded buses !!! I am SUPER grateful that our passengers made it home safely !!! There were many that had to help behind the scenes !!! AND to my fellow bus drivers, all of you are special to me in various ways !!! I am glad this storm did not defeat you !!! I pray for all to find a positive in this HUGE trial !!! Blessings to ALL my co-workers at NCSD#12 !!!

... And all the kids said Yahoo!! :) ...Snow day, yay!

Have A Blessed Christmas and a wonderful New Year !!!