Monday, July 14, 2008

Missing Willie

Today is another 14th. To most it is just another day, but to me and my family it is a number that will always be a reminder of something significant that we lost. Today it has been 15 months. I wonder when I will stop counting the months and stop obsessing over the date. Maybe it's like when you have kids and you count the months until they are 2 and then you do the "1/2" thing for a while and then you graduate to only recognizing the year marks. I don't know. I always feel the desire to write something on the 14th, but I rarely know what in the world to write. I don't write for sympathy or so that everyone out there will remember, but because these thoughts are in my head every day of my life and this feels like a bit of an excuse to get some of it out....and maybe that would be helpful for me.
Mostly, when I think about what has happened, I try to avoid the "April 14, 2007" memories. The ones that actually happened AND the ones that I imagine happened to my brother. Still, those things are too painful to relive and I quickly divert my mind when they try to come flooding in.
The thoughts that consume me mostly are just the memories of time together, a presence in our family that is missing, the future I wish we had, and the uncle my kids are missing. I still find it difficult to grasp that this has happened.
My relationship with basically everyone has changed since this happened. My relationship with my siblings is different. My relationship with my parents is different. My relationship with my friends is different. My relationship with Rand is even different. Some good, some not good and some just different.
I reflect back a lot on how grief has changed, how different it is now and how it feels like there is a lifetime of it ahead. I have only documented pieces of my grief on this blog. Even after 15 months it is still hard to figure out what to write. I mean what is there to say?? I miss my brother so bad. I miss him, I miss him, I miss him. That can feel so hopeless.......and yet it isn't. I have said it before and I have to say it again because it is what I always finish my "poor me, why did this happen, I want my brother back" thoughts with. I will see him again. He is alive and well (more than well actually). He is alive, alive, alive. That is so much better than, "he died."
Today, I thought I would re-read my "grief" posts over the last 15 months. There aren't too many, but here are some excerpts from some since the beginning.

May 14, 2007 (the first one) ---(One month after Willie went to Heaven)
Overall the trip in the motor home was a nightmare. I don't know how else to describe it. At the time, I wouldn't have said that, but looking back, that's what it feels like. Not because my parents were so bad or the kids were so hard, but just the things going on inside of me. It tweaks my memory and my perspective on everything. I'm sure by Friday, I'll look back on this week and think, "last week was a nightmare." I wouldn't say this moment is a nightmare...I'm surviving, but looking back I feel so "off" that the time that has passed feels....well, like a nightmare. Moment to moment I survive. I'm busy with the kids and with house-hunting and trying to locate my things and just figuring out my new surroundings. Basically I'm doing normal things and talking to people in normal ways, and to a stranger it would look like I'm perfectly fine. But on the inside I can't figure it out. I can't make sense of my life. I can't find normal. All of the emotions are sitting in my throat at all times and when I am talking or going about my day the only thing I'm really thinking about is everything that has happened. I distract myself on a certain level, but the reality never really goes away. It's always there and it's scary how my tears are right at the surface and fall out easily without a lot of warning. I fight all day to keep them back because I have sooo much to do and it feels so awful. And I have to say, I'm pretty good at it, but that's probably bad. I'm just trying to survive.

May 24, 2007 (A week later)
I'm trying to find God. I really am. I pray more than ever. I call on him more than ever. I need him more than ever. But I can't find him anywhere. Despite what has happened I haven't turned my back on God. I'm mad at him, sure, but deep down I know he's good. I want to believe he has a plan. I want to believe he can see me at all times and that he is taking care of me. I want to believe he will make good out of the bad. I just don't feel him taking care of me or comforting me and I wish I could. I wish he would cut me a break. I wish he would make something easy.
The reason for this little rant is pure selfishness. One, I want my brother back. I'm pissed that from now on I'll only just miss him. I won't get to talk to him, I won't get to hug him. He won't get to teach my kids all those things he promised. I just want him back. ....
I wish God would swoop down from heaven and stand in front of me so that I could just see him. Maybe if I could look at him for a second, I could see in his eyes that he really does love me. That he is sorry about my brother and that soon he will bless me 7 times over. And if he can't give me the things I want on earth, then he would help me understand that heaven is just a snap in time away. Maybe his hand would just touch my shoulder and my pain would go away......

September 14, 2007
Today marks the 5 month anniversary since Willie died. Five months later and that is still really hard to say, hear, read or even write. I actually just paused for a minute after the word "since" trying to decide how to say it so it wouldn't make me feel so sick to my stomach. It's weird how after 5 months I can't decide if the time has gone by fast or slower than ever. On one hand I really can't believe it's been 5 months. It seems like it just happened yesterday. The last time I saw Willie feels like just days ago. On the other hand it kind of feels like years have gone by. The time has dragged on in a way. The feeling of sadness lingers and every day feels hard and I have to live so much more "intentionally" minute by minute.
That being said, I think I'm "living" a little bit better day by day. Part of me doesn't want to get better. I want to be sad and suffer because I don't want to forget him and I don't want to not miss him. BUT, I am definitely functioning better than I was a few months ago. I still feel unsettled, having moved far away and not having a home yet, but I'm learning to lean on other things instead of the things I have typically leaned on for security and comfort. I'm learning a whole new way of trusting God and although I'm nowhere near a place where I can say, "I've learned this or that..." I'm aware that I'm learning and that God is changing me and my whole family. It is true that we will never be the same. Nothing will and that is a major part of the grief. Everything is different. I'm starting to anticipate and "look forward" (in a way) to being changed and molded into something "new". I'm starting to lean into the idea that God wants to use all the tragedy and sadness to refine me and bring about healing. .......

October 19, 2007
James 1:2-4
2Consider it pure joy, my brothers (and sisters), whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything

April 11, 2008
I'm heading to Shelton, WA to be with my family over the one year anniversary of Willie's extraction from Earth into Heaven. I like the way that sounds better than "died" or "death" or "passing", all words that, to me, imply an end. For it is far from an end, it is just a fork in the road and we are separated for a time. Just typing these words triggers in me a gush of emotion and I could probably type pages about tragedy and how our lives have been changed forever, but I will save it for another time. I'm trying to focus on the Truth which is that Willie still "is" and that gives me well as tears...but hope for the future. I choose to praise God because He IS and Jesus IS and Willie IS, too! It's about LIFE!

Those are just bits and pieces of a few significant posts, that to me, show a process. It's weird how I feel more normal, but I don't miss my brother any less. I can't imagine that I ever will. Some days I find myself totally spacing out thinking about him. Or I'll be driving in the car and a song will come on that makes me feel sad and I will forget where I'm going because I get lost in the thoughts. I expect that kind of thing will always happen and I 'm okay with that. It has only been 15 months. That's not very long. The words, "I miss him" just seem so little to describe how it really feels to know that I have to wait so long to see him (although, I suppose it could be sooner than I think) and that it has been so long since I last wrapped my arms around my "big" little brother.

ugh. I really miss him.


Anonymous said...

I was thinking about Willie today and some of the fishing expeditions we had.
Uncle Bubba

Kristi said...

Thinking of you and your whole family today. Every. Single. Word. that you posted made sense to me. There's "before" and there's "after". I guess the more I "talk" the more I may ramble so I just wanted to let you know that I was thinking of you today and you are not alone, not by a long shot, in your feelings. (((hugs)))

Vimal Joshi said...

i read ur is evocative and poignant.
Ireally wonder how much u still love willie..
i know it's really tragic to have lost ur beloved brother..but we,human beings, are helpless when it comes to death.

Linda said...

Kaylee, you say so well the feelings that I still experience these 13 1/2 years later. The date-thing (31st)for me hasn't gone away (the only thing about that is that not every month has 31 days! - nor has the birthday date, 24th. Yes, everything is different - life is changed forever with the loss of someone near. As you reminded us, the boys are ALIVE! For that we are thankful - there is hope because of Christ, we shall see them again. Life is good, hard, but good; your words are a testament to that truth. Our Father is with us on every path we are on or take, loving, caring, and crying with us. Thanks for being honest and for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your heart Kaylee. Your words bring back memories for me that now are not as tied up with pain as they once were but are more laced with it instead. It is still so new and fresh for you...we will never stop missing our brothers!
Being here with your parents this last week has been a neat time for me to hear about Willie and be a part of what we were not able to be a part of before. Divine appointment??

Jamie said...

Thinking of you...