On grief: So, I'm 35.

I turned 35 on Saturday.

The age is fine - I'm ok with it. I'm enjoying my 30's. I like where I am in life and perhaps strangely, I'm looking forward to 40. I could do without the hair appointments that seem to be needed more frequently in order to cover my all-over grey hair, but whatever... it is what it is. Besides, Lila calls my grey hair my "sparkles."

(love her.)

So, I specifically planned for my birthday to be a whirlwind. 

Our flights back to Cabo were cancelled and re-scheduled weeks before our departure date and our 3 p.m. flight from Detroit to Dallas, our halfway point, was changed to noon on Saturday, August 16th. My birthday. I planned the flights for that day and I was ready to spend my birthday traveling. We got to the airport around 10:00 a.m. with four carefully planned out and weighed 50-lb suitcases (it's a science), one rolling carry-on, an umbrella stroller, a purse, a large tote carry-on, a 3-year-old with a backpack, a 5-year-old with a backpack and some golf clubs. And us.

We checked in via our favorite curbside check-in lady and all.was.lovely.

I think the sun was even shining.


While we waited in the airport for Flight Numero Uno to take off, I couldn't wait any longer...

I had to listen to it...

...last year, on August 16th, my Mom was alive and she called me from her house and left me a voicemail for my birthday. She sang. Because she loves me.

It's one of two voicemails I still had on my phone when she died.

I sat there by Gate D28 and I held my breath... and listened.

Her voice was quiet... but as chipper as it could be given her health.

Listening to her my heart beat faster, my throat burned... my eyes filled with tears (like they have everyday since September 9th, 2013). And when it was over I wiped my eyes, took a deep breath and busied my brain with the girls and the chaos that comes with travel.

Purposeful diversion.

So, off we flew to Dallas where our scheduled layover went from 1 hour to four hours to nearly six.

(Yay Dallas. This was not the first time this happened to me. See here.)

Still, we just dealt with it with smiles and the occasional outburst. It was actually a nice day.

The day was filled with Popeye's Chicken (me), doughnuts (the girls), coffee (craig), beer (the girls... kidding), iPads and kindles. My little family of four had the best day we could have.

...but the entire time, throughout the shopping at Brookstone and the bookstore, I thought of it. It's always there.

...as soon as we arrived at the Detroit airport, made it through security and were waiting to board... I thought of it.

...on the first plane, I thought of it.

...when we landed, I thought of it.

...on the skylink to the next terminal, I thought of it.

I thought of her all day.

This was the first birthday that the lady who loved me the most wasn't here to celebrate with me.

Dumb, right?

I know.

"Kylee, you are a THIRTY-FIVE-YEAR-OLD MOTHER of two children... pull it together and get over yourself."

Ha. As if.

I laugh in the face of that argument because I could be 65 and I'd still miss her voice, her presence in my life.

It's hard.

She's my Mom.

"Celebrating" a birthday without the woman who gave birth to you being alive to acknowledge it... it's weird.

My life has moved forward since that day that her life ended; and on days like that, important days, there's no ignoring that she's gone. There are so many parts of my life that I can't share with her. There are missing pieces in the puzzle of me.The emptiness is sometimes so agonizing. Sometimes the hollow feeling seems to be growing as the time goes on and the distance between us grows. The extreme sharpness that I felt immediately after the accident and her death has faded... but sometimes the hollow, bass-like sound of my heart's loneliness echoes so loudly that I can't ignore it. Not even in the airport.

But, I made it. That first birthday without my Mom is over. I, like so many other mom-less people, got through my first birthday after she died because mercifully, there are only 24 hours in a day...

I was so pleased to see August 17th on the calendar.



(Here's the link if you see the youtube clip below.)

--The Story of Loss. On Losing my Mom.
September 9, 2013  ::  The day I found out ::  Post here.
September 16, 2013  ::  It's One Week today  ::  Post here.
September 25, 2013  :: The Call  ::  Post here.
September 30, 2013  ::  Slivers of Sunlight  ::  Post here.
October 6, 2013  ::  That first week.Those first days :: Post here.
October 14, 2013  ::  14 days after  ::  Post here.
October 20, 2013  ::  I found a treasure  ::  Post here.
November 4, 2013  ::  She's been gone for 4 weeks  :: Post here.
November 13, 2013  ::  I smile and drive and cry and smile and cry  :: Post here.
November 17, 2013  ::  Weekends aren't easy  :: Post here.
November 26, 2013  ::  The holidays, the firsts  ::  Post here.
December 1, 2013  ::  8 weeks  :: Post here.
December 10, 2013  ::  The Dream  :: Post here.
December 19, 2013  ::  Vulnerability and Moving Forward  ::  Post here.
December 22, 2013  ::  The reminders. They're everywhere  ::  Post here.
December 29, 2013  :: 2013  :: Post here.
January 1, 2014  ::  The New Year  :: Post here.
January 7, 2014  ::  2 days from 4 months  ::  Post here.
January 17, 2014  ::  Another Gift ::  Post here.
January 25, 2014  ::  She would have been 60 today  ::  Post here.
February 9, 2014  ::  Five months  ::  Post here.
March 6, 2014  ::  Almost six months  ::  Post here.
March 27, 2014  ::  One of the Best Gifts Ever  ::  Post here.
April 1, 2014  ::  We're all in this together  ::  Post here.
April 24, 2014 :: 7 Months, Easter and Nope, I'm still not normal.  ::  Post here.
May 6, 2014  :: Mother's Day without a Mom  ::  Post here.
June 1, 2014  ::  Moving "forward"  ::  Post here.
July 6, 2014  ::  Denial & acceptance & blah, blah, blah  ::  Post here.


  1. As I read, I nodded, knowing. . . .

    I understand. I get it. Oh man, Ky, birthday's hurt. They just hurt.

    I'm so proud of you, Kylee. You are walking through this wish such honesty and integrity. Thank you. Thank you for sharing your story and for making those of us who are traveling the same road feel not so alone.

    "I could be 65 and I'd still miss her voice, her presence in my life." Yes, there is nothing that takes that void away, is there? It's just a new normal.

    I love you, Friend.

    1. Nope. Nothing take the void away, you know this.l

      Don't you sometimes hate the words, "new normal?" I know you get it.

      And, I love you, too.

  2. that voicemail was adorable. her midwestern accent - so cute. thanks for sharing and for being real and genuine and open and honest. even for people who haven't experienced what you experienced? you're teaching us. i'm proud of you, too. Love you, Miss

    1. She WAS cute, wasn't she? :)

      Love her.

      And thanks for your words, friend. (I miss you.)

  3. I'm crying because you are so brave and inspiring!

    1. Truth, Heather? I'm brave because she taught me how to be.

      Love that lady. And as always, thank you for reading. And being a friend.

  4. Tears, again. Your posts just hit me so hard, especially since losing Jaime. I'm honestly not looking forward to my own birthday this year (33!) because Jaime was always the one I could count on to really celebrate with me...and now she's not here. This year of firsts is so hard, and I hate that I can identify in a sad with with your posts so much more now. Thinking of your Mom today...


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