Thursday, May 21, 2015

Three years

And here it is, May 21st again, the third anniversary of our hearts being broken and our lives being changed. I'm not sure what to say about today - there's so much emotional baggage, so many memories tied to it. It's the kickoff to a series of anniversaries over the next couple of weeks - 3 years since his funeral, 5 years since that fateful headache that sent us to the ER, since a CT scan found "something", since his surgery and pathology results. It's a day that I can't forget, and as much as it pains me, I don't want to forget it.

Mari recorded some of her memories of Kol, called 21 Things You May Have Forgotten About Kolbjorn, and with her permission, I'm sharing it here:
  1. Kolbjorn had a cough for most of his life
  2. He would often be awake before six am
  3. He would wear the same pair of socks for weeks 
  4. He'd wear the same shirt for a week
  5. In the summer, his footwear of choice was dress shoes
  6. He had a dance for everything 
  7. He liked clothes shopping
  8. He wanted to go to Denmark 
  9. He'd have one toy that never left his side 
  10. He was visited by the 501st Legion 
  11. Some of the meds he was on made him the worst person to be around 
  12. Some of his other meds smelled terrible 
  13. He never cut his hair after chemotherapy 
  14. When he was little, he said he would marry his cousin 
  15. He didn't mind playing Barbies
  16. He would say the full name of books and movies 
  17. He'd play video games standing up, right in front of the screen 
  18. He'd watch movies over and over until he had them memorized
  19. He wanted to play the oboe or trombone
  20. If he could not find clothes of his own, he would wear his sisters'
  21. He once fit seventeen grapes in his mouth
Today will be a mostly quiet day. I've taken the day off work so I can spend it with my family (and honestly, I don't think I'd be able to do much of anything that requires concentration). We've been playing some Mario Kart and Super Mario Bros games, we'll visit his grave and do a balloon release, we'll likely watch some Star Wars or Clone Wars - these are our new traditions for the 21st, if you can call doing something three years in a row a "tradition".

New traditions. Our "new normal" (I still don't like that term). Life goes on, even when it seems like it can't. Our hearts are broken, but they are healing. And even though our family doesn't feel whole, we are still a family. Thank you for being with us on this journey, for your support, for your prayers, for your encouragement. May God bless you all.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

February Numbers

The beginning of February is a precious time for us.  Mari, Julianna, and Annika have birthdays on the 2nd, 8th, and 12th.  Kirk's mom and sister also have birthdays within those 10 days.  This year, there are some more milestones in February.  

Three thousand, five hundred and twenty four days = 9 years, 7 months, and 24 days = 115 months and 24 days, = 503 weeks and 3 days = how long Kolbjorn lived = the age Birgitte was on Annika's 5th birthday.

On February 12, 2015, Annika turned 5 years old.

On February 12, 2015, Birgitte was exactly 3524 days old.  The same age that Kol was when he died.

Birgitte is now older than her big brother will ever be. 

On the day Annika was born, I noticed that Kol's headaches were more frequent than I thought they should be, and I started looking for patterns, and possible causes.   

Annika will be 3524 days old on October 7, 2019, just 12 days after what should have been Kol's 17th birthday.

One thousand, eight hundred and twenty six days = 5 years = 60 months = 260 weeks and 6 days = how long it has been since Birgitte's first Grand Mal seizure

On February 12, 2015, Annika was 1826 days old. 

Today, February 15, 2015, is 1826 days since Birgitte's first Grand Mal seizure.   

One thousand days = 2 years, 8 months, and 25 days = 32 months and 25 days = 142 weeks and 6 days = the number of days since Kolbjorn died.

Today, February 15, 2015, is 1000 days since Kolbjorn died.

It's interesting to me that so many of these milestones overlap.  Maybe it's God's way of making it easier for us.  All I know is that the last two weeks, and especially the the last few days, have been full of bittersweet moments, and lots of tears.
I wish I could say that grieving gets easier over time.  The second year after Kol died was harder than the first.  Everyone talks about how the first Christmas, the first birthday, the first anniversary of a person's death (some say "angelversary", or "angel day") are hard.  They are, but for me, the second year was much harder than the first, and the 3rd year has been even tougher emotionally.

I think the 2nd year was harder because the shock had worn off, and I dealt with the reality that my son was dead, and would never be around to celebrate any more special days with us.  Now, in the 3rd year, I see our other kids continuing to grow, developing new abilities and accomplishing more, and I don't know what Kol would be doing or what he would be interested in as a 12-year-old.  It's hard sometimes, to see other 12-year-olds; how accomplished, tall and mature they are becoming as they begin to look like teenagers, instead of little kids.  We feel his absence so very strongly on on special occasions, and even on plain, boring days.  Family dynamics are so different than they were with Kolbjorn around.  We feel so strongly what Kol is missing out on, and by extension, the myriad of possible experiences WE are missing out on, because Kol's not there to add his unique touch. I know Kol isn't having headaches any longer, that he's not in pain, that he's probably happier than I could imagine, but I guess I'm selfish.  This hole inside me will never go away.  The grief will never go away.  Some days, I can't wait to see him again.