It’s so hard to believe that you’ve been gone for three years now. I try very hard not to think about your death. I don’t want to dwell on the overwhelming sadness that filled our lives the day you left us. I hope you understand that I choose to relive the many memories you left here with us so I can make the most of every day and every hour I’m here without you.
Today I was thinking about a morning long ago when school had been cancelled due to snow. You loved those snow days! School cancellations meant full days of laughter and chaos with you, Chris, Courtney, and Nicole.
On this particular morning I had asked you to please get the carton of eggs from the refrigerator for me. I was at the stove cooking so I had no idea that you were playing surfboard with your skateboard in the dining room. You skated to the refrigerator, grabbed the eggs, and then started towards me.
One of the skateboard wheels got caught on a Spawn action figure that had been lying on the floor. The board stopped but you didn’t! You were careening face first in my direction. I turned just in time to see you fighting to keep your balance and managed to catch the carton of eggs in mid-air. You landed on the floor with a thud. Before I had time to set the eggs down the dog ran to your defense thinking I had made you fall. She jumped, using your stomach like a trampoline, to knock the carton of eggs from my hands.
Chris helped you up while giving you a lecture about not riding skateboards in the house and the cost of repairing action figures on a limited allowance budget. The girls were giggling and you were feeling less than manly with egg still dripping from your shirt. You must have decided to seek some revenge because you grabbed Nicole up by the seat of her pants and gave her a wedgie that would have made the Incredible Hulk blush. You put her down and kissed Courtney on the cheek. She ran off screaming about “cooties” while Nicole was still trying to dig her underpants out of her butt cheeks.
After breakfast I asked each of you to do a simple chore so we could have play time. I should have realized you insisted on doing the dusting for a reason but it never occurred to me that you wanted to polish the dining room floor to make it better for skateboarding. I figured it out when I started through the dining room with stocking clad feet and promptly landed on my ample assets.
Chris tried to help me up while muttering something about feeling like “some kind of superhero” because he was always rescuing people around here. He fell on the floor right beside of me. The girls, thinking I was simply wrestling around on the floor with Chris, were on top of us before I had time to blink. We looked like a group of football players after a tackle on the playing field.
By the end of that day we had worked on arts and crafts, read stories, wrecked havoc in every room of the house and drank enough hot chocolate to keep a battleship afloat. I wanted to call the Superintendent of Schools and offer him a bribe to make sure school would be open the next day.
Your mischievous nature and your infectious smile are a part of the memories that I hold onto when I’m feeling lonely without you. That day at the hospital when you were lying there comatose, I told you that I loved you. I looked around those sterile surroundings and thought about hanging up a poster or two and maybe a banner to tell you to “Get well.” I wondered if I should send someone out for a couple of balloons to hide the wires and monitors that were attached to you. I didn’t want to give up on you but as I stood there watching you I knew there was nothing I could do, nothing the doctors could do, there was nothing anyone could do.
The grief all of your family felt is just inexpressible. My last words to you were to tell you, “It’s okay to let go. We love you and we know you love us.” There was so much more I wanted to say but the words would not surface. I wanted to hold you in my arms and make everything better one more time the way I had done so many times before. When I looked at you one last time I saw that you looked peaceful and that comforted me a bit.
You were fiery with a wicked sense of humor. You were brave and you were honest. You loved to watch the sun rise and you felt serenity ease into your soul each time you watched a sunset. Tears and laughter, hope and promise, success and failure, were all a part of your short life. We were blessed to know the depth of your love and your spirit lives on within the heart of each one of us.
We have all dealt with your death in different ways. I have found many hours of solitude in a flower garden I planted in your memory. I’ve filled it with angels and special stones that remind me of you. In this garden, I work with nature and replenish my spirit. Each weed I pull is a bit of grief I am pulling from my soul. I know you would not want any of us to lose out on a second of living life to the fullest so I make it a point to experience everything I can in your honor.
Your presence is strong in my garden when everything is fresh and full of life. I can see your smile there and different memories seem to be wafting on the breeze each time I’m out there working. Each time a flower blooms it is as if it is shining with hope and reaching for the sunshine. As I stand and look at the garden and replay memories of your hugs, your smiles, your birthdays, holidays, our conversations, and each day of your childhood, I always wonder if my life could ever enrich this world as much as your life did.
We love you, Kyle, and we always will. You will never be forgotten as long as any of your family is breathing.
© Dianna Doles-Petry 11/30/2010