Thursday, September 13, 2012

Remembering (through stories, pictures, and parties)

This is our 200th published post on Kolbjorn's Journey,  so we thought it'd be the perfect time to remember the past 28 months.  I occasionally go back through the blog and and re-read the posts.  I'm drawn to certain ones more than others - the fun ones, the big announcements, the ones that I had no choice about writing, the ones that have lots of comments.  It's surprising how much we forget.  It's surprising what we remember.  It's good to remember.  It's hard to remember.  

Kol liked to remember.  I'd often have Kol read through our posts on the blog before they were published, just to make sure that I hadn't said anything he didn't want shared, or if he had anything to add.  After reading the preview, he'd start going back through the archived posts and re-read them, too.  He liked remembering what he'd been through, and I know he was interested in seeing his life through our perspective.  His favourite posts were the ones that had pictures, star wars references, or video, although he did read the hard ones, too.

Annika's newest word is 'remember'- except she says 'member.   A couple of days ago, she  said "Kol.  Hands cold. 'Member?"  She had insisted on holding Kol's hand after he had died, and when she did, she told me that his hand was cold.  She remembered that.  I've often wondered if she will have her own memories of him, or if she'll just remember him through the stories we tell about him.  None of us have talked about Kol's cold hands, though.  She does have her own memories.

One day at supper we'd been talking about Kol and Annika saw tears in Kirk's eyes.
     "Daddy sad?" she asked.  Kirk said yes.        
     "Kol died."
     "Yes, Kol died." answered Kirk
     "Kol love."  This is Annika speak for "You love Kol." Kirk said yes.
     "Miss Kol?"  Kirk nodded.  Then Annika left the kitchen, and came back a few seconds later with the picture of Kol that is beside the couch, which she gave to Kirk.

We've been asked a few times if we talk about Kol, or if it's too hard to talk about him.   I could talk about Kol for hours.  I'd cry, but it'd be good tears.  Immediately after Kol died, I felt I needed to do as much as possible to preserve the memories I had of him.  I worried my memories of Kol would be reduced to a short movie in my head of just a few events. I still worry about that sometimes.  I wanted to remember his voice, his laugh, his smell, the feel of his hand in mine, the softness of his hair, his bald head, his breath on my cheek when he fell asleep in my arms, his hugs, his goofy blender dance, his machine-gun laugh.  I wanted to remember the way he told me about what was happening in the books he was reading, assuming that I knew exactly what he was talking about.  I wanted to be able to hear him explain how he beat the tough level on the Wii game he was playing.  I wanted to remember what he sounded like when he was crying, when he was angry, frustrated.  I want to remember how he looked in his suit, in the goofy hats he insisted on wearing.   

Everything I've read about grieving says that it's a long process, and that it's important to give ourselves permission to grieve however we need to.  I'm finding it's a crazy, topsy-turvy journey, and nothing is predictable.  While I love remembering Kol, there are also some days now when I don't want to think about Kol.  I don't want to think too much about the pain he was in, or about how horrible he must have felt some days.  I don't want to remember even the good things, because even the good memories bring back the hard memories.  I don't want to cry again, and any memory - even a good one - is a reminder that Kol was no longer here.   Kirk and the girls all swing between needing to remember and needing to forget, too. 

I've been going to a mom's bible study since the fall of 1999.  I've made some good friends through the group.  This summer, the other families in the group got together and ordered portraits for us from Carla Chabot, and had them framed.  They even came and hung them on our walls for us! It was an amazing and wonderful surprise, and we can't thank them enough!  The photos are from the family sitting we had in 2011.  We now have two photo walls, one in our living room, and one in the almost completed homeschool area.  I sometimes sit down opposite the walls, staring at the photos, remembering.  We also have a slide show of pictures of Kol as a screen saver.  Some days, I've watched those pictures for hours.  Other days, I can't watch them at all.   


Kolbjorn's birthday is coming soon, and we will be having a "Remembering Kolbjorn" party to mark the occasion.  We're hoping it will be a healing time, a chance to strengthen relationships, and an opportunity to remember Kol.  Kolbjorn would be turning 10 on September 27th.

Saturday, September 22, 2012
2:00pm - 4:00pm
Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Outlook

We'll have cake! And fun.

If you have photos, or memories of Kol, we'd love to hear and see them.  You can leave a comment, or if you'd rather, our contact info is here.