on grief: two years after.


So, after she died I had in my mind that you un-become someone's daughter when that someone, or in my case, when those someones die.

I've referred to myself as feeling like, "a kite with no handler."

Just floating. No one holding the string.

It's weird not having parents who are, well... alive.

But wait. Just wait.

You don't un-become someone's child after they die.

I'm eager to say that nothing could be further from the truth.

It's just taken me two years to realize that.


Oh Kylee, all that was, remains.

All that was.

It still remains.


My Mom was born in 1954 and she died, today, September 9th in 2013 -- just shy of her 60th birthday.

She was the fifth born to my grandma, who my daughters call "Cutie Grandma" and "Little Grandma," respectively.

My Gram has been touched by dementia; after my Mom died the decision was made not to tell her about the passing of her fifth born. I mean, why?

When we were in Ohio this summer visiting my Gram, Vivienne, my four-and-a-half-year-old, introduced Cutie Grandma to her baby doll.

Vivi's baby's name is Shirley.
After my Mom.

"What's her name name?"

Vivi responded with, "Shirley. Her name is Shirley."

Ever so quickly and every so preciously, my Gram stroked the baby's head and she said "Oh, I've got a Shirley..."



Instant, eyes-welling, in-the-middle-of-the-day tears.

"Oh, I've got a Shirley..."

I smiled and I touched my Grandma's hand and I said, "You do have a Shirley, don't you?"


Oh Kylee, all that was, remains.

All that was.

It still remains.


My Mom was strong.
She was really strong.
Not like crossfit/American Ninja Warrior-strong, but strong in character. She was determined. She was insistent. She was fearless. She was all of the things she didn't think she was.

She was diagnosed with an illness, a condition, when she was 19. It followed her thoughtout her life -- but she was so much more than that. When she was 45 she almost died. She was chronically ill with a legitimate and horrendous disease that gave her nothing but complications and grief.

She healed.

She was never the same, but she healed.

And then she moved to a new state, built a house and made a life for herself. You should have seen her garden...

She had a million reasons why she shouldn't follow her path.
Still... she did it.
She was 47 and she up and changed her life.
She turned it upside down.
She moved from her doctors, her family (me!), her comforts...  and she trusted God and she created the life that she had always wanted.
Farewell wussy pants, hello big girl, BRAVE pants.

Independently, but with faith. She saw the bigger picture and she trusted. She lept.

She lived a full life.

She was brave and passionate and intelligent and resourceful and honest and... amazing.

She was no saint - and we argued and I rolled my eyes at her more often than not, but she was my crazy Mama and I protected her and vowed to take care of her forever and a day, as long as I shall live, so help me God...

When she felt strongly about something, well, there was no getting in her way.

Today, I'm excited. I have a passion. I'm... happy. There will be no getting in my way.

Because of her I know that you must follow your passion. You must live the life you want to lead because in an instant... oh, how I've learned this, in a treacherous, life-changing, car-smashing, glass-shattering instant... it could all end...

So, I choose happy.
I choose adventure.
I choose to live and to make her proud.
I will take care of myself.
I chose laughing.
I chose singing.
I chose cooking with butter.
I chose humming hymns.
I chose reading.
I chose holding close the memories.
I chose gratefulness that she was mine and I was hers.

I will honor her memory.

I will make her proud.
We, my sister, my daughters and I - we will make her proud.

She's not gone.

She's here. She's with me everyday.
She's part of my soul.

I'm not a kite with no handler.

I'm a kite who can soar because my sweet parents taught me to fly.


Oh Kylee, a
ll that was, remains.

All that was.

It still remains.



--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.
August 20, 2014  ::  So, I'm 35  ::  Post here.
September 2, 2014  ::  7 days  ::  Post here.
September 8, 2014  ::  The Day Before a Year  ::  Post here.
September 9, 2014  ::  Hello, one year  ::  Post here.
October 11, 2014  ::  The brain is funny  ::  Post here.
November 6, 2014  ::  Love  ::  Post here.
November 30, 2014 ::  Post here.
December 4, 2014  ::  Another feather. Post here.
December 28, 2014  :: All was calm, all is bright. Post here.
January 18, 2015  ::  They're always with us? They're always with us. Post here.
January 25, 2015  ::  And today I remember. Post here.
March 8, 2015  ::  A year and a half later. Post here.
April 16, 2015  ::  And here I stand. Post here.
April 29, 2015  ::  Joan & Shirley. Post here.
August 26, 2015 :: Perspective. Post here.



  1. OH, Ky. Crying happy tears first then sad tears next. I'm SO proud of you, and so is Shirl. I love you so much and so does she.

  2. When we say goodbye it's hard because that piece of us is always missing and random moments will remind us of the fact that we can't pick up the phone and share what just happened. I love this post so much! It's so very true, all that was certainly does remain!

  3. I told my father-in-law something like this last summer. He was looking through the photo book I made about Jaime, and he saw a picture from Christmas 2012 - the last time we took a pic of his 3 kids together (sad, because she didn't die until March 2014). At any rate, he started sobbing and said "I have 3 kids, Jos"... and I just cried with him and told him he would ALWAYS have 3 kids. Grief man... it's so tough. You'll always have a Mom though, you're right. Shirl sounded amazing. ((HUGS))


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