Saturday, October 10, 2015

I Believe in Signs of Love and Support from Departed Loved Ones

Happy Birthday, Kim, and thank you for the signs and the support. 
I know it might sound strange, but I do believe that our departed loved ones can send us signs.
For example, a day or so after we had to put down our very sick cat Dino, who we had for many years and loved so much, we were going to Toys R Us and saw the most bright and brilliant pink sunset (my favorite color, when it's not pale).  I felt that it was from him, telling us that he was okay.
Last winter, I had to do the shoveling, because my husband has had heart surgery and because we can't afford to pay anyone.  We were both worried because of my heart and my back not being strong enough, but when I stepped outside to shovel this deep snow...

...I saw this heart in the snow: 

I felt that it was a sign from all of the people we've lost through the years, telling me that they were watching over me and that I was going to be okay, and that they loved us.
Then, a few months ago, we were passing Kim's old apartment on the way to the health food store, which always makes me sad, but we don't try to drive around it or avoid it.  So, I was feeling terrible, saying in my head, "Kim, I miss you so much."  Then some adorable things happened while we were sitting in the parking lot, before I went in.
First, there was a little bunny - not a baby, but not full-grown.  He was so cute, munching on leaves from plants growing on the edge of the parking lot, by a fence.  I went inside to get him some shredded carrots from the salad bar.  I did see him again, but not while I was sprinkling the carrots around all over onto the plants (he was hiding, of course).  Both my best friend Barbara and my husband love bunnies a lot, so it meant a lot to me to see him and leave food for him.
Then there were two women talking in the parking lot and one of them saw the container I was holding, and said, "Oh, I thought you were smelling the purple irises that smell like grapes."  So, I went back and smelled them.  Actually, they smell like grape soda, not real grapes, but it was amazing.  I told the women that those were so incredible!  I wouldn't have even seen those women if I hadn't been feeding the bunny first.
Then, when I was getting out of the car to go into the health food store and Dean was driving across the street to get groceries at a regular grocery store (sounds silly, but he had to drive because he had to get bottled water, cat litters, and stuff), there was a beautiful rainbow in the sky.  Dean saw it from the car and I saw it from the parking lot, but we both would've missed it if not for the bunny, the carrots, the talking women, and the purple irises.  We both would've been inside our stores already.
I felt that all of these things were sent to me by Kim, to comfort me, to let me know she was okay, and that she was thinking of all of us, too.
A short time later, we were heading past Kim's place to go to the health food store again, and I was feeling very sad and wondering, in my head, why can't our dear, departed loved ones help us with all our pain, why can't they send us some love and support or something?  Why do Dean and I have to both keep feeling so much pain over our losses?
This time, in the health food store parking lot, we saw the brightest, full-across-the-sky rainbow that we had ever seen (other than in pictures).  Everyone was standing in the parking lot saying, "Wow," "Amazing," and thing like that.  Again, I felt this was a sign from the people we care about, because it was right when I needed it and asked for it, and it was so beautiful and brilliant, as if they all banded together and created it, for us to see.
I wish I had photos of some of these things, but I only have a flip phone and my husband's smart phone is cheap and doesn't take great photos, and I keep forgetting to bring the camera when we go out. 
Also, recently, about two weeks before Kim's birthday, Mum landed on an old Facebook post from Kim (so, from more than 3 years ago), and a couple of days ago I accidentally ended up on a chunk of email from Kim in my "old mail" folder (which contains tens of thousands of old emails).  Like I mentioned in a previous post, I suddenly got the urge to delete some old mail (I almost never do that, obviously - that's why it's so full), pulled down once on the scroll bar and landed on emails from Kim, even though that was so unlikely because of the small amount of them that were from her.  Also, a few messages down from the oldest one were a couple from her replying to me when I was saying "Happy Birthday Kim!" which today now is, too.
Now, some of you might be saying, "Well, that's just all coincidences," or something like that, but I choose to think it's messages from people, saying hello or that they care or that they love us and are watching over us. 
Maybe some of you reading this have had similar experiences, too.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Happy Birthday Kim - Thank You for Everything

Tomorrow would've been Kim's 45th birthday, but I wanted to write this now, in case I'm too busy tomorrow.
A lovely necklace that my best friend Barbara gave me (that I'm going to wear tomorrow) is a heart with an inner heart that flips.  One side is engraved "Kim" and the other side says "When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure."
I wish I could say that I could just treasure the memories.  I mean, I do, but they also bring me pain.  It will probably always be that way, for some of us.
One thing I do feel is that I need to honor Kim's memory by trying to be okay, and by doing what I can to help her son and others.  This might sound strange, but I felt her presence early this morning when I was working on some of my work projects (more on that soon).  I felt that she was right by my side, giving me ideas and inspiration.  I've felt that before and also received what I believe are signs from her and other people we've lost (  I actually had a feeling of peace come over me today, and I feel it came directly from Kim.
Kim, it's not fair that you are gone.  We will miss you forever.  
This is just a song I love and a lyric that made me think of Kim today:
Journey - Wheel in the Sky
Steve Perry had such a beautiful voice. 
The mornin' sun is risin' - it's kissin' the day.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Spend Time With Loved Ones, While You Can

I decided to delete a few old emails last night.  I grouped the emails into who they were from, pulled down the scroll bar to look for a chunk of something to delete, and out of all of the tens of thousands of old emails I have (I really let them pile up), I landed on emails from my late sister Kim.  I didn't even remember that there were any from her in there.  They were only from about the last year of her life, and there weren't that many.
I started to copy and paste them into Word, since I feel we have so little left of her, not enough to hang on to.  Like I've said before, I feel I didn't pay enough attention to my two sisters (both younger than I) when they were little, and because of fatigue and health problems on my end, didn't stay in touch often enough even later. 
Kim was living elsewhere a lot (Madison and Portland) and I didn't like to talk on the phone (wears me out), and Kim didn't like to write much (or didn't have time), so we just didn't have much contact.  Even after she moved back here, I didn't see her much. 
I was surprised to see in the few emails I've moved so far, that much of it was me saying that we (my husband and I) couldn't attend various things, either because of fatigue, money, or because the gathering was too large for us (like, more than 5 people). 
I guess we just think we have all the time in the world, to be with people.  Even with the older relatives who used to be in this house with my husband and me, people who we spent a whole lot of time with, for many years, I still feel it's not enough now that they are gone.  I was just saying this to Dean the other day.  You always wish for more time, when people you love are gone.
Sure, we've had health difficulties and problems and excuses, but we should've made more time, somehow.  We shouldn't have let so many things stop us.  It's not good to have these regrets.

Remembering Kim's Memorial

I can't sleep, so I might as well blog.  Probably a common occurrence for some of us.
Sometimes we just can't help but think about our grief and pain more.  Like, when someone's birthday is coming up.  Kim's birthday would've been this Saturday.  She would've been 45 years old.
I was thinking (when I couldn't sleep) about our sister Kim's memorial service, almost three years ago.  Our sister Juli planned everything.  It was as beautiful as something like that could possibly be.  The food looked very nice (my husband Dean and I were too sad and nervous to eat), the music was nice, and the photos were great.  The problem was, if I looked at the photos that were being shown on the screen, I would burst into tears, so I only saw about 7 of them.
I was very nervous and sweating like crazy (probably not nice for some of the people I hugged that day).  I'm very nervous around people, so I didn't know what to say or do.  I know I probably said some stupid things.
People were asking me how my mom was doing, and I know that at least a couple of times, I said, "Well, her favorite daughter is gone, so she's a mess," or something like that.  The one time I said it, Juli was there, and said to me, "Oh, you're going to hell for saying that."  I didn't know what she meant by that, but I guess she thought I was trying to make a joke at an inappropriate time, so therefore earned myself eternal damnation?
Actually, I wasn't making a joke at all.  Mom just always was very obvious, to everyone, that Kim was her favorite daughter.  We all knew it.  I wasn't trying to be funny.  I was just trying to think of something to say when people asked me questions.  Of course, the people's laughter wasn't the raucous "aren't we having a ton of fun" kind anyway.  It was more the nervous kind that people get when situations are awkward or painful.
The woman who babysat me when I was very little, who is also named Chris, came to the memorial.  It was nice to see her, and relatives I never see, too, like my Uncle Dick and his wife Marianne.
Strangers, patients, and friends of Kim's were talking to me, saying how great she was.  Yes, I agreed, and tried not to cry in their face.  I actually did burst into tears a few times when patients who recognized me from photos asked if I was Kim's sister and told me how wonderful she was as a doctor, or when people I actually knew just came up to me and said they were sorry.  I probably should've just been watching it all from a video drone or something, thereby reducing my social anxiety to zero and eliminating the embarrassment of sobbing when people talked to me. 
Anyway, I don't really care about how stupid I seemed to anyone or how sweaty I may have been.  All that matters is that Kim is gone, and no one is happy about that, since everyone loved her.
I so appreciate the lovely memorial that Juli set up.  I don't know how she does it - she is younger than I am, yet so much stronger, more sane, and capable.  She's also prettier, more fun, and a lot of other good things, but let's not start any sibling rivalry!  Ha ha.
Seriously, though, Juli did such an excellent job, at a time when Mom wasn't up to handling things, and neither was I.  I know some people couldn't make it to the memorial, since Kim knew people from all over the country, but the people who were there (and there were pretty many), were all there trying to come together and honor her, which is what it was all about.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Laughter is the Best Medicine

Dr. Kim Saxe I'm sure would have agreed - laughter is the best medicine. 
Some of us grieve even harder over the loss of her because of her son.  We worry because losing your loving, caring mother at age 5 is just not right.  We worry also that he won't remember her enough.  I hope some of the things I post here will help him to know her better, when he's a bit older.
Kim's son loves to play video games and laugh a lot.  He and I laugh over the silliest things.  They usually aren't even that funny, to other people, but for some reason we just crack up and it's the best thing ever.
Kim and I enjoyed that same kind of laughter many times, but I remember one time in particular, back in the apartment days that I mentioned previously, when she was about 11, and I was a bit older.  We had to share a bed and one night ended up going to bed at the same time and for some reason were having a real giggling fit.  Maybe we were super-tired or who knows what, but we kept busting out laughing over silly things when we were supposed to be sleeping.
One thing that kept happening was we'd both be laughing super-hard, then finally we'd stop and then sigh, and that would start us laughing all over again.  Mum yelled from her room for us to shut up and go to sleep because she had to work the next day.  Of course, that just made us laugh even more, like when your friend or cousin makes you laugh in church and it's the very last thing you should be doing, but that's why it happens, for some of us silly people.
Anyway, it was a great memory.  I only wish Kim's son had had more time to make more of his own memories with her, too.  He missed out on a lot, only having her for such a short time.  Nothing can replace the hugs, laughter, and love he would get from Kim, if she were here.  A mother is a special thing.  We all try to help fill the gap.  His grandma (our mum) does a lot and is so good with him and good for him.  She's devoted incredible amounts of her time and energy to trying to help him to be happy. 
Like I've said before, I write these things to help myself, but also to maybe help others who knew Kim, or people going through similar losses.  I don't really have any answers for feeling better during grief, other than to cherish the ones who are here, and love and take care of each other during these tough times we experience.  That's all we can do, I guess.

When Does My Grief Turn Into Acceptance?

This picture originally had one of our adorable nieces in it (from a few years ago), but I cropped it because I've heard that you shouldn't post photos of other people's kids without their permission, and I'm not taking the time right now to ask for it.  I just want to write this now.
Our late sister Kim would've been 45 this weekend.  It's been almost 3 years that she's been gone, and I still don't believe it 100 percent.  I thought it was just me, but our mom still feels the same way.  I don't know if this is normal, but it's how we are.  For me, it's like part of me feels that Kim is just living in Portland again and hasn't been back home in a while.
At around the exact same time that I was thinking this very thing yesterday and writing a note to blog about it, Mum wrote an email to me and said it, too.  (Freaky timing.)  It just never fully feels real or possible, to us, that Kim could be gone.  Other people accept it, but part of us just can't.
I see women sometimes, with short blonde hair, who from a distance look like Kim.  I keep thinking she must be around, someplace.  Is this normal or not?  I don't know.
Anyway, here's another happy memory of Kim.  When Kim was around 11 years old, I was living for a while with her and Mum in an apartment.  For part of that time, Kim and I had this nice, little routine where I would cook her breakfast, then wake her up with a song from an album that she had:
Bee Gees & Peter Frampton - Good Morning, Good Morning  
I'll bet that she would also have liked to wake up to this song, a song I've loved for years.  Michael Strahan (from the show Live with Kelly and Michael) mentioned about a year ago that he was playing it before coming out and doing the show every day.  What a great way to start the day!
This video has the song and some nice images to go with it:
Lovely Day Bill Withers  
Great song.  I love the video, too.
I would've sent it to Kim, probably.  I wish I could.

Monday, October 5, 2015

It's Kim's Birthday Soon

Our late sister Kim's birthday is coming up on Saturday (poor Juli has to DJ that day and try to be "up" and cheerful at work), so I've been thinking about Kim even more than I usually do these last few days.
I know this is a goofy-looking pic of her and I don't know what she was looking at, but it was from Christmas 11 years ago, so she looks healthy and happy, which is a great thing. 
My husband and I were watching an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond a couple of days ago and Ray Romano was playing the piano (it was really him) and he was very good. 
This brought to mind the time, many years ago, when Kim and I were at a piano playing and singing this song:
KEANE- Brothers Sherry
Even many of you who are old enough might not remember the Keane Brothers, but some of you might.  They were really talented singers and had a short-lived variety show that we watched back then.

The house we moved into after our parents divorced happened to have a piano.  No one ever played it much, that I can recall, but when I got this Keane Brothers album, we loved it so much that I bought the sheet music for that Sherry song and learned to play it, sort of (not great).
Of course, our sister Juli is the real singer in the family.  She's sung in plays and shows and even sang the Korean national anthem at a Tae Kwon Do tournament and everyone was so proud of her for learning it and singing it so beautifully.  If it was on YouTube, I'd post that link here, too.
Kim must've been a pretty good singer, too, since she did play Cinderella or something in a play during high school.  I didn't get to see it because I lived way across town and didn't have a car at that time.
I'm the worst singer in our family, but it hasn't stopped me from singing at various times, like singing along to video game songs when our nephew is playing different games on his new Mario Maker game (and he's shocked that I know all of the different "old school" tunes).  It did, however, stop me from singing when we were forced to be in the choir in junior high.  My friend Tammy told me around that same time that my singing really sucked (she was right), so in order to not throw anyone else in the choir off, I would lip sync all the songs (better for everyone all around, including the audience).
Anyway, this is just a fond memory of our little sis Kim, back in the day.  Me trying to play the piano and us belting out that song - Sherry.
I will miss her forever, of course.  Everyone who knew her always will.