Monday, June 24, 2013

We Can't Stop Living...

Today I was going to write about the things we did this weekend that brought me joy... and brought me down.

I was going to write about our trip to the movies with Brian to see Monster's University and how he was dancing in the aisle when the credits were rolling (seriously, he was!)...

...and how bittersweet it was that it was our first family movie without Gavin.

I was going to write about how Miss Sara generously gifted us with a night of babysitting so I could have dinner and see another movie with Ed.  And how we both cried over Gavin during our meal.

I was going to write about how I got Brian out of the house on Sunday to go to "Bounce U" to give Ed a break and when I got home I found him working hard planting Gavin's funeral flowers.  The only two remaining that we're hoping to save.  He planted them right outside the playroom window so we can see them every day in our favorite room.

I decided not to write yesterday because I was too busy hugging Ed.  And feeling sorry for myself.  And letting Ed hug me.  And so on, and so forth.

And I was realllllly tempted to write at length about Brian's disastrous first swim lesson this morning.  How he started off looking confident and excited like this:
But spent the entire lesson sobbing uncontrollably and refused to participate.  (By bedtime tonight, as I was excitedly telling Daddy about how brave Brian was and how I heard the other boy in his class tell his mommy that HE wanted an Angry Bird bathing suit like "that kid" - suddenly, Brian was looking forward to going back in the morning.)
Truth is - I've been having a major pity party and I've been feeling very emotional because I'm missing Gavin.  And my post would have been a pretty major whine-fest.  No one needs that.

Actually - I didn't need that.  If I gave into it, it would have festered and I would have received a lot of sympathetic comments from readers who are so kind and just want to make this better.  And truth is, that would have fed the monster that just wants to be sad.

Over the past couple months, we've had so many people say things to us like...

"If this happened to me, I couldn't go on."

"I don't think I'd survive the loss of a child."

"How is it even possible to get through this, let alone get past it?"

"I would rather die."

But you know what's interesting?  None of those people have ever lost a child.  I know others, unfortunately, who have lost children.  None of them told me, "I wanted to stop living."

We can't stop living.

It's true that the WORST possible thing that could happen to a family happened to us - we lost a child.  A sweet, innocent five and a half year old boy who had already endured so much.  Who had SO much potential.  Who was really the healthiest person in our house, which makes his death just that much more difficult to understand.

But if we stopped living because of this event, what purpose would that serve?

Lots of things can happen to us over the course of our lives.  Heck, lots of things have happened to me!  And it may seem that one... or two... or many things will "bring you down" or "take you out."

Don't believe it.

I'm sure you've heard someone say - "When you get to Heaven, you'll find out the reasons...the answers...behind your suffering here on Earth."

I don't believe that.

I don't think that one should walk around in life miserable and resentful of things that "happened to them" and wait their entire life until they're dead to understand why.  That doesn't make any sense to me.  And the only purpose it serves is to continue victimizing and torturing yourself.

Maybe instead you can look your life circumstances right in the eye:  death of a loved one, abuse, divorce, loss of a job, loss of a dream, addiction, infertility, betrayal, miscarriage.  Look it straight in the eye and realize that within that life circumstance lies the answer.  You don't have to wait until your dead.  It's right there in front of you.

It's right there.

Repurpose your pain, your suffering, your hurt into something that will work for you.  If you take control and decide to learn and grow and help others BECAUSE of your'll find that you start feeling less and less pain yourself.

Yes, things happen TO you in life.
And it sucks.
But things happen FOR you as well.  

And sometimes, even though it's hard to see, those things are one in the same.


  1. it has been a little over five weeks since my son,Tyler, passed away. It does suck. I agree with your post completely. We go on because we have to.Especially when we have other children.

    1. I'm just another reader of Kate's blog but I wanted to say Amy that I'm sorry your son passed away. I hope you are able to find comfort!

    2. My prayers for you Amy and your family. Much love.

  2. It is really a gift that you let us all witness your family in grief. I hope that each of us that reads this can carry just a bit of that sadness for a moment.

    I also need to say that your Brian is one of the cutest little boys I've ever seen.

  3. Good job Kate! I look forward to reading your blog because you're just so inspiring! Because of your strength and courage, I've ultimately decided to begin writing a book about the struggles I overcame in the hopes that I can encourage someone just like you've done with me. Thank you for being you, for being so brave, and for being an amazing mother to Gavin, Brian, and very soon Hope. :)

  4. This is such a hard, sucky and painful lesson to learn. It SUCKS but life has to go on. This doesn't mean that you don't miss the person who died or thst you aren't pissed about the crap that has happened. But you work to fix what you can, remember those who have died and somehow learn to live, laugh and love again.

  5. I don't understand why people feel the need to tell you how they would feel "IF" they were in your situation. I don't know how anyone can say how they would react to something that has not been part of their experience.

    I just chalk it up to another case of people not knowing what to say. Perhaps they mean well, but ...

    I hope Brian's next swimming lesson is better for him. Sometimes it takes a little while to warm up =) Once his confidence improves there will be no stopping him. My son has been learning this year too and it's amazing to watch the transformation.

  6. Thank you. Because of this post I'm going to make today the first day I look at bad circumstances with a more positive attitude. I thank you for sharing your life with us.

  7. i agree with you it has be almost 2 years since my 19 month old Joseph past away do to his rare seizure disorder.i know my little man was here to teach everyone to love unconditionally because time is to short not to... hugs and prayers

  8. I love learning from you. Thank you for being so honest and so darn wise.

  9. My little girl acted just like Brian her first year of swimming lessons....It's OK....the first year is scary when it's a new teacher and some of the other kids are loving every minute of the water and others are crying and don't want anything to do with the pool....But I know by the end of the swimming sessions 10 days from now.....Brian will be talking about how fun it was and trying to show you in the bathtub how he can **Now SWIM ** Just give it the 10 days and Brian will be a little fish and you will be so proud of how brave he was. xoxo Granny B

  10. Your posts are so inspiring! I won't even pretend to understand what you are going through, but I appreciate you sharing your feelings and family with us. Continued prayers for you and your beautiful family.

  11. You are truly amazing. I am so inspired by this post. Thank you.

  12. I too don't believe in Heaven we will be told the reasons why. But I am not sure I believe that I will know on earth the reason why my firstborn died. Even if God told me right now, I think I would say, "That's not a good enough reason for me." I think I would say that because God's ways are so much higher than my ways. My human mind can't understand.
    However, I do know that because we donated Isaiah's heart a boy is alive today that would not be otherwise. I do know that Isaiah's death has given me a much deeper ability to feel other's pain. It has also helped me to enjoy more fully every day, the "simple" things, the things most people don't think about, until they can no longer enjoy those "simple" things with someone they love.
    I don't remember ever wanting to die after Isaiah died. I just look forward to the day when I will be with him again. And now that I have 2 other children, I try to enjoy even the hard days with them for I do not know how long I have with them here on Earth.

  13. Beautiful Kate, absolutely beautiful. The first anniversary of my youngest daughter's death and birth is in 6 days... and I really needed to read this tonight. Thank you!

  14. Wow Kate, I love the context of "Repurpose your Pain". That's brilliant, and inspirational. Always praying for you guys.

  15. You and your family are truly an inspiration to me. I do not have any children but look forward to reading your posts. I struggle with a feelings of depression and often your stories help me see that there is beauty in life at alltimes, even when it is so difficult to notice. Please keep writing.

  16. "Repurpose your pain, your suffering, your hurt into something that will work for you. If you take control and decide to learn and grow and help others BECAUSE of your'll find that you start feeling less and less pain yourself.Yes, things happen TO you in life.And it sucks.
    But things happen FOR you as well. And sometimes, even though it's hard to see, those things are one in the same." LOVE that I have found that to be true in my own life I thought having Cerebral Palsy was the worst thing in the world but now that I'm using my experiences to help people I see the reason for me having it.

  17. Kate, this post was especially gorgeous... so very well said. You are spot on... and I send you love and light.

  18. Thank you for posting this. You inspire me.

  19. This post was thought provoking. On another note, I thought of you/your family on the way into work when Carrie Underwood's song "see you again" came on.

  20. I am going to print off your post and hand it to my clients, many who think they have to wallow in the challenges life places before them. As a psychologist I am trying to impart your message - as well as empathising and caring and simply being present. Thank you for sharing.

  21. Another excellent post, Kate. I know people think they are either being helpful or consoling when they say stupid things like that, but in reality they are just showing their ignorance. I have no idea what to say to someone in your situation. I just know that I enjoy reading your insights into your life and hope and pray for the best things to happen to your family. :-)

  22. dearest've gone and done it again. this post is so spot on. you so eloquently put into words what i should've said when my aunt asked me a few weeks ago: why is it that you are so (fantastically) different from your mother? since obviously that was not the model i have been shown. but it's like you said - if you take the crap you're given and use it to create something awesome...well i think that's the main reason we are all here. and i wouldn't trade my crap for all of the fabulous that someone else may have been given, because the crap I got is what pushes me to be thoughtful, generous, kind, etc. the crap created the voice that said: let's do something for someone that least expects it. let's make a stranger's day. let's volunteer for that cause. let's make sure that that mom knows I see her struggle and she's not alone. thanks kate. you rock. you go ahead and take all of the days you need to be sad. let me be clear that being sad, is not the same thing as wallowing. you have a right to be sad, being sad serves a purpose - but skip the wallowing, that's just wasted sadness :) also, i truly hope that mr. brian has a better day at swim lessons my personal experience and in my son's experience - they key is to stick with it...eventually it will click and he will love it! -jill p.

  23. Dear Kate...
    and Amy and All who've lost a child or are grieving some other loss...

    That "monster who just wants to be sad?" Please know that that part of you has earned a place at your table. Not that he has to take up residency there, he's more like a guest, one you may ask to leave at any time, just as you did.

    That Grief is one of our most important gifts in Healing. We have to honor our sadness. Life often tells us that we have to Buck Up, Move On, Get Over It, Smile for Our Kids' Sakes, Make Lemons from Lemonade...

    All those things do not have VIP seating at our tables.

    Some of us who've lost children or endured other tragic circumstance have felt, at some point or another, that we didn't want to go on. But it's what we've done in the aftermath of that great sorrow that mattered. We haven't given in to the despair...

    Just like you're doing now, we've trudged on the best way we know how.

    And Kate, I hope you know just how special you are, as a woman, as a mother, and a wife, and as a compassionate being...

    Thank you for sharing, for it is through our stories that we not only heal ourselves, we heal each other...

    Hugs and Healing...

  24. Although you wrote it much better than I did, I wrote something similar at the beginning of the month. The death of a child is the worst trama, I think, for anyone to go through.

  25. Kate, this might be your best post ever. Thank you for sharing it

  26. Thank you, once again, for sharing your truth.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...