On grief: Air tears.

Will I ever sit on the flight from Dallas to Springfield, Missouri without tears in my eyes? It has been two years and six months since I sat on the plane – dazed – flying from Cabo to Springfield on that first full day that Shirley wasn't on earth. I remember praying that no one would say hello to me at the airport or on the plane. I averted my eyes. I spent a lot of time staring. And I wrote. I wrote the timeline of what happened.

And now, here I sit... typing on the 6:40 pm flight from Dallas to Springfield. I sit here wondering if maybe she's going to show up at the airport and pick me up tonight. Maybe she'll hug me tightly and say, "Oh, Kylee! I am just so happy to see you." And I'll hug her back and say, "Oh Mom, you have no idea how much I've missed you." And I won't pull away before she does. I'll stand there for an hour hugging her in the middle of the Arrivals.

How in the world has this happened? How are we where we are now? Wasn't she there my whole life? How have I lived through through my 34th, 35th and now my 36th year without her?

Returning to a state that was never my home, but was her home and my sister's home is so bitterly full of emotion. (And joy, too. My sister is my heart; the only connection to Shirl. I adore seeing her. She's been mine since the day she was born and I take my "Big Sister" responsibility pretty seriously. Ask her.)

This is anything but my first visit with my sister without my Mom. That first visit was so hard... tears. So many tears. But how do you de-program your brain and your heart not to hope? Not to hope that maybe she's just been on an extended trip? Maybe this was all a dream, and now we're going to go back to her house, where she has our whole trip planned and she's going to make me some mashed potatoes and we're going to play skip-bo. And the three of us will laugh and tell her to STOP getting up every time it's time to shuffle and just sit down... she can put the clothes in the dryer later...

Oh, I miss her. 

I miss her laugh. 
I miss her voice. 
I miss her voice so much. 

(Record your parents talking. Grab your iPhone, hit Voice Notes, and record their voices. You must. Yes, I'm advocating that you illegally record your parents talking. You'll be glad you did.)

I've found that looking outward is a good way to get through grief. See beyond yourself. Know that you're not the only one out there without parents. Exhale empathy, inhale gratitude that both of my parents were mine. But, there are times during this continuum of loss that I have tunnel vision and I briefly get lost in my own sadness. I wallow. I think we all do? It doesn't happen as frequently as it did after her car accident. And it doesn't weigh as much, either. After she died, I felt a cinder block on each shoulder and two on my heart. Today, two years and six months later, I feel instances, small periods of weight. And the grief I feel during these times has changed. It's morphed into something I can't quite label; it isn't raw disbelief and amazement and shock, like it once was. 

I remember writing after she died that I was waiting for my heart to catch up with my head; I just couldn't wrap my heart around the fact that she was no longer breathing. Just like that. I talked to her Sunday night and she was dead Monday afternoon. It was too much. It made no sense.

No, now the grief is less for the manner in which she died, I rarely go there anymore. She's more than a crumpled car and blood on the door and bits of windshield glass that I still have in the front pocket of my orange purse. The purse I can't bring myself to use again.

No, the grief is for the deep and vast emptiness of not having a Mom to call. To ask advice. To talk about my babies. The grief is for what we had and what we will never have. But the grief is also blanketed with a thankfulness that she was mine for 34 years. Oh, I am so happy that quirky, kind, hilarious, brave, strong, ambitious, thoughtful, forgetful, spiritual, incredible Mama was ours.

And that's why I cry when I fly to Springfield. 


--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.
September 9, 2015  :: Two Years After. Post here.
November 1, 2015  ::  Watching others go through it. Post here.
January 25, 2016  ::  Happy Birthday, Mom. Post here.
March, 5, 2016 ::  


  1. I hope you and Taryn have a wonderful time together!!!!

  2. Thank you, friend. It's been wonderful.

  3. And that's why I cry when I read your blog posts. I'm SO very thankful she was yours, too. Hugs to you, dear one.


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