What can we bring you

The receiving line at Kim’s wake was filled with people who knew her in so many different ways.

They wanted to tell me how sorry they were.

I wanted to hear a story about Kim from them.

So many of them shared great moments.

Others I shared moments back. I wanted to show them that I knew about them even though I’d never met them. That Kim had talked about them at home. That they were important enough to her to tell me the stories and that was enough that I remembered.

One woman from work said “I’m Sabrina, I used to buy Girl Scout cookies from Kim.” And I told her that that was so important to Kim that for the last eight years Maggie wasn’t even in Girl Scouts and Kim would go get a form and get the cookies to sell her for a local troop.

Our auto mechanic came and wrapped his arms around me and asked “whose going to give me hugs?” When I would drop my car off at their shop, Kim would come by to pick me up and drive me home and would always get out of her car to give Kenny a big hug. His daughter is buried not far from ours. Kim is moving in to their neighborhood.

Maggie and Elena’s first grade teacher hugged me and said, “If you wanted to see me you could have invited me over for a meal. Not this.” Other teachers and administrators from the Shaker Schools came through not believing this had happened. Not believing Maggie would have to face another huge loss.

The husband of one of her childhood friends told me a story about when they used to go water skiing. Before Kim and I met she and her friends used to go out on the water almost every weekend. (I worry that Kim had way less fun after we met than before, but that’s for another day.)

At the end of the day when they were putting the boar away, they would have to cover it with some sort of a tarp. Rick said that because she was short she was the one that had to do a particular task and that week after week when she was doing that, he would snap the tarp down with her inside.

I can picture her mad but not mad. It’s a gift of a moment that I never got to see that now I can imagine forever. Thank you for these stories.

Kim’s cousins, her childhood friends, family friends, my family, co-workers, former co-workers, and neighbors came through the line for four hours. We shared hugs and thoughts and stories.

People offered to bring food.

Really, I love to cook and I’m only cooking for one starting Saturday.

What I’d like you to bring are stories. Tell me a story about Kim that I don’t know. Tell me a story about Kim that I do know.

Don’t just tell me the cleaned up version to respect her memory. You can tell me about her when she was being sarcastic, angry, irreverent, or playful. I love the ones where she was being sweet, funny, goofy as well.

What can you bring me?

Stories.

I was looking ahead ten years to the time when Kim and I would have been together longer than we’d been apart. I’m optimistic and romantic that way.

But this means that she died and I knew her for less than half her life. That’s a lot of stories people can tell me. Even during the twenty-four years we were together, she did a lot of living when I wasn’t there to see it.

Tell me stories.

Email them to me. Text them to me. Write them down old-school. Tell them to me in person.

Tell me stories about Kimmy.

A lasagna lasts a week.

A story lasts a life time and connects the teller to me through Kim.

 

Published in: on August 26, 2016 at 7:34 am  Comments (7)  

No Answers

I’ve been thinking a lot about Kim’s Eulogy.

For someone who writes and speaks as much as I do, it should be easier than it is.

I’ve been unable to figure out what to say.

I want to say everything. I want you to know Kim the way I knew her. I want to see her and value her as much as I did. I want you to feel her passing as deeply as I do.

You can’t.

You will feel her passing in your own way. A few words said Friday morning can’t change any of that.

I haven’t wondered or asked, “why me?”

There is no answer to that.

My eulogy began with what was essentially, “why Kim?”

There’s no answer to that either.

Kim and I went to a funeral not long after Elena died. When the priest said that the young woman had died because it was God’s will, Kim snorted in disgust. When the priest told us that the woman was in a better place, Kim repeated the sound.

I hope no one offers me these words. Kim was a woman of faith and they failed to comfort her. The words certainly won’t comfort me.

I do ask, “why Maggie?”

My brilliant, beautiful daughter.

No. Kim and my brilliant, beautiful daughter.

When I first held her in my arms 19 years ago I knew I would keep her safe and happy and provide for her in every way she needed.

It’s a promise I’ve not been able to keep despite trying every day.

Maggie wanted to be at the hospital by herself when Kim died. She asked a friend to drive her and to stay with her in the waiting room while Maggie went into Kim’s room to wait with her.

A brilliant, beautiful nineteen year old saying goodbye to her mother ten years after losing her sister.

I told Maggie I love her more than anything else in the world.

Until Tuesday it was a tie.

Until ten years ago it was a three way tie.

I do love Maggie more than anything else in the world.

It’s not enough.

I worry about her.

It’s not helpful.

I ask, “why Maggie”.

There’s no answer to that either.

Published in: on August 25, 2016 at 6:59 am  Comments (1)  

No Reason

I woke up crying this morning for no reason.

Then I remembered the reason.

Yesterday I felt like making pizza. When my brother and sister asked what they could bring over, I gave them a list of ingredients.

They brought my parents and they sat in the backyard while I started a fire in our wood-burning oven.

Then I got it.

I understood why I wanted to make pizza.

The oven was a gift from Kim. She was so sick of me looking at it online and then deciding it was too expensive that she bought it for me.

“We have the money,” she said.

“Yes, but we don’t really need it,” I said.

“We’ll both benefit from it. You’ll cook on it, I’ll eat what you cook.”

“I just don’t think I’ll use it enough.”

We had this conversation so many times that she decided to buy it without telling me.

She gave it to me for the first Father’s day after Elena died. She printed out the web page and told me when it would be delivered.”

“Thank you,” I said. And then, because I’m an idiot, “do you think I should cancel it? We don’t really need it.”

“It’s not from me,” she smiled. “It’s from Tara.”

Like a black lab has a credit card and could order off the internet.

“Thank you,” I said again.

She gestured at the dog.

“Sorry,” I said and addressing Tara said, “thanks puppy.”

Tara would die three months later.

I placed another log on the fire yesterday and remembered Tara, Elena, and Kim – the three reasons I had this oven.

“Do you think you should?” Maggie had asked. “Don’t burn them.”

She’s right. The last couple of times I had rushed the process and needed too big a fire because the stones weren’t hot enough and I had burned the sides of the pizza while undercooking the bottom.

I decided to treat the fire like Kim would.

Start it hours ahead and just take your time. Talk to the people around you. Focus on the moment. What’s the rush? Why hurry?

No reason.

So I continued the fire for several hours then brushed the embers to the side and cooked nine small pizzas.

Kimmy – they came out perfectly. You would have liked them.

I know you ate them burnt and said, “What’s the big deal. They aren’t that burnt. They’re fine.”

But they weren’t fine. They were burnt.

Yesterday, they were perfect. Kim, you would have eaten them and tipped your head back to look at me.

“These are good,” you’d say, “Not like the usual. Usually, you burn the hell out of them.”

Published in: on August 24, 2016 at 7:17 am  Comments (4)  

Schedule

KIMBERLI A. DIEMERT, age 55. Beloved wife of 23 years to Daniel Steinberg; dearest mother of Margaret Steinberg and the late Elena Steinberg; loving daughter of Thomas and Geraldine Diemert (nee DePaul); dear sister of Thomas Diemert Jr. (Pati) and Carolyn Perlman (Jeff); cherished aunt of Lydia Perlman and Eli Steinberg; cousin to many. In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate contributions in memory of Kim to SmileTrain.org. Funeral Mass, Friday, August 26, 2016 at Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church at 11:00 a.m. (PLEASE MEET AT THE CHURCH.) Interment Private, Lake View Cemetery. The family will receive friends at the SCHULTE & MAHON-MURPHY FUNERAL HOME, 5252 MAYFIELD RD., LYNDHURST (BETWEEN RICHMOND AND BRAINARD) THURSDAY 3-7 P.M.

Published in: on August 24, 2016 at 6:58 am  Comments (1)  

Home

Kim went down to the operating room at 505 this morning.

Well, that’s not right. I try not to use the passive voice but it would be more correct to say Kim was taken down to the operating room at 505 this morning.

It’s not like she put on scrubs and headed in to work.

Then again, if she was headed in to work it wouldn’t have been at 505.

Annabelle, our lab – german shorthair mix – always got Kim up by 6. Annabelle never woke me up, she always nudged Kim when she needed to go outside. There were some mornings that Annabelle got Kim up several times: at 1, at 3, and finally at 6. But she always got her up at 6.

Annabelle never woke me up but I always knew when Kim took her outside at 1 or 3 because when they came back upstairs Kim would yell at Annabelle “now you lay still.”

I think that was for my benefit not the dog’s.

Kim never came back upstairs after the 6 am waking from the dog. Around 7 she’d make coffee. I’d smell the coffee and come downstairs. She’d take the grounds and put them in a container under the sink. When the container was full, she take it outside and mix it with the dirt around the flowers.

She’d pour my coffee and we’d hear a thump at the door as Annabelle threw herself  repeatedly against the screen.

“Your girlfriend’s waiting for you,” Kim would say.

So I’d take my laptop outside and drink my coffee and work while Annabelle ran around the back yard.

I’d come in when the coffee was done to grab a glass of water.

“What are you doing?” I’d ask.

 

“Paying bills.”

Some days it was bills, some days it was laundry. Some days it was cutting fruit.

“Don’t you need to get to work?”

“I’m going.”

But she wasn’t. Some time around 9 or 930 she’d start putting on her shoes.

“When are you coming home?” I’d ask.

“I don’t know. I have two evals at Bedford and a modified at South Pointe.”

“Let me know.”

“OK, I’ll text you.”

She’d get her shoes out of the back room and sit in the chair in the kitchen and put them on. She’d drink a little more of her coffee.

Finally, she’d leave for work.

Later in the afternoon I’d text her from a coffee shop. “I’m at Juma. Want to meet here when you’re done.”

“I have to stop at the post office,” she’d say, “I’ll see you at home.”

“When?” I’d ask.

“I’ll text you.”

This morning Annabelle started retching at about 645.

I got up quickly to let her outside.

She threw up a little bit in the hall upstairs before making it outside. I cleaned it up. Put it in a bag and tossed it outside into the driveway so Annabelle couldn’t get into it again.

I have to be honest. If Kim was here I would have pretended to be asleep until she let the dog out and cleaned up the vomit.

And to get me back, Kim would have let the dog jump back on the bed after vomiting and lick me in the face.

I suppose it was only fair.

Kim was taken down to the O R at 505. Annabelle was vomiting at 645.

Kim died at 7.

My best friend has gone home. She won’t be coming back.

Published in: on August 23, 2016 at 9:47 am  Comments (16)  

It’s Monday

It’s Monday morning. The trash needs to go out.

Maggie and I cleaned out the refrigerator last night. I walked in the kitchen and she was triaging a bunch of expired or questionable food  to make room for the food that friends and family have brought us.

She told me to man the sink and she’d continue going through the refrigerator. She pulled out items and handed them to me.

I started to throw them out and she asked “aren’t you going to recycle those?”

She is her mother’s daughter. Kim would take the plastic spout out of a cardboard milk carton to recycle it.

So I rinsed out the bottles, jars, and containers and put them in recycling bags.

“You aren’t going to throw those away,” she asked. “There’s nothing wrong with those.”

I shrugged and pulled the containers out of the recycling and put them next to the dishwasher.

It’s Monday morning and the trash needs to go out. So it’s out.

Kim used to put the recycling bags by the back door. Somehow, that was her job. My job was to take them outside.

And that, in a nutshell, was our marriage.

The garbage needed to go out and she did something and I did something and together it got done.

It’s not that she couldn’t have taken those bags from the backdoor to the recycling bins.When I was traveling, she did that and more.

It’s not that I couldn’t have reached under the sync and gotten the recycling together to take outside.When I came downstairs on a Monday morning before her I would do just that.

But mostly we each did our own separate tasks to accomplish things together.

During the week when I’d take the garbage out from under the kitchen sink, when I’d get back Kim would have replaced the bag and put the container back under the sink.

Such small things.

When you do something like that – something small – something that makes someone else’s life a little easier – something they don’t really need and might not even notice – you are saying “I love you.”

Really? You feel loved when someone else helps you with the trash?

I do.

And I miss it already.

It’s Monday morning. The trash needs to go out.

Published in: on August 22, 2016 at 6:57 am  Comments (9)  

Waiting for the call

Friday afternoon, Kim was in a horrible accident.

She was driving a Mazda Miata convertible and the other vehicles involved were a semi and a van.

You don’t need to know the details. I wish I didn’t know what I know.

It was a horrible accident.

She suffered severe brain injuries at the scene and there was also damage to her hand.

The social worker who called me from Metro Hospital told me about her hand injuries but didn’t say anything about her brain.

They told me she was concussed.

I asked if she was conscious and was told “no”.

I drove to the hospital fearing the worst. When I got there Kim’s dad was already in a consult room. The social worker came in the room and told us about the injuries to her hand. She only told us a little about the injuries to her head. She had a left brain injury and had a little movement on her left side and none on her right side.

The injuries to her brain were severe.

You don’t need to know the details. I wish I didn’t know what I know.

They took Kim up for surgery around 3 pm. Maggie had arrived by then as had Kim’s mom and aunt Mary Kay. I called other people who needed to know what was going on.

Kim was prepped for an hour and in surgery for two and a half hours.

Friends, family, and co-workers began to arrive.

After surgery we were called back to meet the surgeon. This was our first inkling of how bad the situation was. I brought Maggie, Mary Kay, and Kim’s parents back with me to hear the surgeon’s report.

Kim lost a lot of brain matter at the scene. They had to remove more dead brain tissue while she was on the operating table. The surgeon had done all he could do and was not optimistic.

I know. It doesn’t sound very good.

Kim was moved up to ICU Friday night.

The nurse said there was a 60 – 70% chance that she would make it through the night.

I called her priest.

Friends and family came back a few at a time. I mostly stayed in the room with her – sometimes wandered down to the waiting room.  I hugged friends, family, co-workers and traded stories.

Father Gary arrived. He’s an amazing man. He is so grounded and warm and real that he provides instant conform always choosing the exact right words.

Kim’s brother and sister stood behind Father Gary as he gave Kim her last rights.

I’d only seen last rights administered once before. It had been Father Gary giving them to Elena ten years ago.

On the other hand, it wasn’t Kim’s first time receiving last rights. She was born way before her due date and was given last rights then.

My father called to say my brother was taking the red-eye. My sister would fly in the next morning.

Kim’s mom and Mary Kay decided to spend the night. I chose to head home and try to get some sleep. A friend of Maggie’s drove her home.

In the morning I looked through Kim’s iPad and got the number of more friends that needed to know.

I drove to the hospital met the Trauma doctor. He was wonderful. His manner was perfect and his facts were clear. He showed Kim’s mom, Mary Kay and me the three CAT scans and discussed what he thought they meant.

So many people arrived. They supported us. The visited with Kim. They wept. They hugged.

The trauma doctor wanted to talk about plans moving forward. I asked Maggie, Kim’s  mom, and Mary Kay to join us.

Kim had been very clear on what she wanted – most people who knew her knew her wishes. She was terrified of surviving a head injury.

After making sure the others were ok with the decision, we told the doctor that Kim was DNR. He asked about other situations and we made choices in accordance with her wishes.

He told us that he didn’t expect Kim to have cardiac problems, he was expecting her to proceed to brain death.

We asked about organ donation. Kim always wanted to donate her organs.

The doctor explained the process of organ donation in the case of brain death and in the case of cardiac failure. He told us which of our decisions would have to be modified in the interest of the organs to be harvested.

The nurse set up an appointment with the transplant representative.

The transplant representative explained that procedure in great depth and we authorized some preliminary blood work that would speed up the process.

The nurse removed the Fentanyl  drip so that the determination of brain death would be clear in the morning.

By the morning the doctors had determined the Fentanyl had been supressing more than they thought and they couldn’t test for brain death.

Maggie, Kim’s Mom, Mary Kay, and my brother Ethan joined the transplant representative in the consult room to fill out paperwork. The medical history for Kim was easy.

Authorizing body part by body part was tough.

It’s what Kim explicitly wanted.

Father Gary returned and said last rights with Kim’s dad in the room. He comforted many as he visited with us.

The trauma doctor came back at the end of the day. Kim wasn’t getting better – she would never get better – but she wasn’t getting worse. She was not progressing towards brain death but she would never have a meaningful recovery.

We made the tough decision to honor Kim’s wishes and allow them to turn off the machine.

On the one hand, it was explicitly what she wanted. On the other hand, it was the hardest words I’ve ever had to say.

I invited Kim’s family and friends to come in and say goodbye. My friend Mark also said a blessing over Kim that was familiar and comforting.

Right now the hospital is waiting to line up organ recipients. Once they have done so, Kim will be taken to the operating room and the doctors will will turn off the respirator.

If she is able to breathe on her own for an hour then they will bring her back to her room.

The expectation is that she will not be able to expel the carbon dioxide and it will be a painless death. They will then intubate her, restart her heart and begin to harvest the organs.

The hospital will call us four hours before they take her down to the operating room.

We’re waiting for the call.

 

Published in: on August 21, 2016 at 9:52 pm  Comments Off on Waiting for the call  

Best Father’s Day Gift Ever

Maggie gave me a framed picture that is one of her favorite pictures of her, me, and Elena. She didn’t know, but it’s my favorite picture of the three of us too.

Last year when Kim and I were helping her move into her dorm room I noticed that it was one of the pictures she’d brought to college with her and it made me very happy.

In the picture, she’s probably six. Elena’s probably four.

In order to have more time to spend with them, I was getting up earlier and earlier and coming downstairs to write and edit.

Kim would come downstairs and make us coffee and then the girls would burst onto the scene.

In the picture, I’m in my armchair. I’ve heard the girls on the stairs and have closed my laptop and propped it against the chair under my legs. The dog is nowhere to be seen. She’s probably hiding in the kitchen.

Elena is laying back across my legs. She’s wearing flannel pajamas and is sprawled comfortable with her arms over her head lounging back. She’s smiling and looking directly at the camera.

No matter how quiet or careful Kim was about approaching us with a camera, Elena had a sixth sense and in almost every picture is looking at and performing for the camera.

Maggie is wearing a night shirt and is perched on the back of the chair hovering over my head. Uncharacteristically, she too has spotted Kim and is smiling at the camera.

Thousands more words wouldn’t paint that picture for you – but it’s one that affirms “yeah, that’s what being a dad is all about.”

So many great moments I remember. There’s nothing better than being a dad.

A couple of weeks ago, Kim encouraged me to apply for a job even though it meant we would have to live parts of the year apart.

I cited the cliche that no one dies wishing they had worked more. She countered that this was something different – something more than work. This job seemed special.

Several times I’ve looked at really cool jobs – but they required me to live away from my girls or to take them away from their grandparents. It made it easy to say “thank you, but I’m sorry, I can’t.”

Kim felt this time was different. Maggie is at college and Kim and I could find a way to make this work.

So I went out to interview.

I had a great time. I enjoyed everyone I interviewed with and had a fun day answering questions. Along the way I discovered that although the job was challenging and fun and involved working with bright people, it wasn’t the job I thought I was interviewing for.

I’m sure I could have been successful in the job but it wasn’t a “this is a job worth working away from Kim” kind of job.

I’m not sure whether they would have said yes or no to me but I said “thank you, but I’m sorry, I can’t.” I told them what sort of job would change my answer – but this was a job that is perfect for someone else.

This is my eleventh Father’s Day at Elena’s graveside. I think of her and I think of the father I am and want to be. I think I made the most of my time as her dad. I hope I am the dad that Maggie deserves.

Maggie is way more than I could ever expect of a daughter. Of course there are things that drive me crazy or make me roll my eyes, but she’s an incredible person who makes me laugh and think deeply all the time.

And today, on Father’s Day, Maggie made me cry.

Often that would be a bad thing but she did it in such a thoughtful beautiful way.

She wrapped herself around my heart and gave me a picture that is a favorite for both of us.

She brought back a moment when she and her younger sister and her mother standing behind the picture that captured the moment surrounded me with love.

Best Father’s Day gift ever.

Published in: on June 19, 2016 at 8:06 pm  Leave a Comment  

(Not so) Old People

Elena loved hanging with old people.

There was the crew at the McDonalds her grandmother took her to. Folks in their 80s and Elena would fit right in.

There were the wakes and the funerals – she loved those.

Kim and Maggie and I love hanging with old people too and in the past few months we’ve lost three great ones.

Sue was just 80. She was the youngest of the three. She had spent a lifetime working for women’s rights with the Cleveland chapter of the NOW. She’d helped found the Cleveland Rape Crisis center.

You’d think she’d be militant and preachy. She wasn’t. She was wonderful to be around. She would join our coffee group on weekends at the Shaker Square Arabica and talk about gardening, work, whatever. She listened intently and was always interested in other people.

Just before Elena died we went to her and Bob’s fiftieth wedding anniversary. Elena was so afraid she was going to spill the beans since it was a surprise party that she walked around the house with her hand over her mouth the whole time Bob was over.

Elena didn’t really know the other two we lost.

Nate was someone I remembered from when I was a kid. There are pictures of us over at his family’s house for Passover. He always talked to kids like they had something to say. I remember that so clearly from my childhood and I got to observe it as Nate talked to Maggie when she was younger.

Nate was retired from the Classics department at Oberlin College. He loved to ask Maggie about her Latin classes and Latin conventions. His wife Eva remembered poetry she’d memorized more than sixty years earlier. Nate was always learning, always sharing ideas, always listening, right up to his death.

And then there was Helen.

So many of my parent’s friends in their retirement community are people I’ve known all my life. They were faculty members at the college or taught at the high school or worked in town. These are people whose kids were my age or who went to school with my brother or sister.

Not Helen and Bob.

They are new friends. We didn’t meet them until they were more than eighty years old. They were smart and sharp and fun to talk to. They pressed Maggie to keep her grades up (she did) and to enjoy college but not too much. They played bridge and were funny. You just felt better being around them. In their nineties they were younger than so many other people I know.

Helen used to find money and other valuables wherever she went. Whenever I’d travel she’d tell me to report back about the money I found. I was a big disappointment to her. Not really. It was a game we’d play. She’d ask me if I’d found any money and I’d have to admit that I hadn’t. She’d sadly shake her head.

In the last few months Sue, Nate, and Helen have all died. Ranging from 80 to 91. They all died. It feels like they all died too young.

Monday was Washington’s birthday. It was also the tenth anniversary of Elena dying.

She never lived to be sixteen, let alone sixty.

When she died, Kim said “she’ll never live to get her heart broken.”

Sometimes it comforts me to imagine an afterlife where the people I know find each other.

An afterlife where Sue explains to Elena what it means to be a woman and Elena explains Girl Power back to her.

An afterlife where Nate tells Elena stories of when her father was her age.

An afterlife where Elena brings Helen coins and beams when Helen tells her, “you know, your father could never find any. You’re very good at that.”

Published in: on February 24, 2016 at 1:06 pm  Comments (2)  

More than words

Kim and I never really celebrate Valentine’s Day.

We make cards for each other, but we don’t tend to buy candy and flowers just because today is Valentine’s Day.

Kim gets up every morning early and lets the dog out and makes coffee for us. That says “I love you” better than a box of chocolate on a day you’re supposed to give a box of chocolate.

This year we ran up to the gym to workout on Valentine’s Day in the afternoon. On our way back we stopped at the grocery store. We needed cream for Kim’s coffee, coffee beans, and a few other items. I asked Kim if she wanted to come in or stay in the car. She wanted to stay in the car so I ran in while Kim stayed in the warm car. That’s how you say “I love you.”

We were going out with friends for dinner. I didn’t really feel like it, but Kim did so she had said yes when her friend called to invite us. I like her friend and her friend’s husband. I just didn’t want to go out on Valentine’s Day. Kim wanted to, so I said yes.

We actually don’t say “I love you” very much. At least not to each other. We used to say it all the time to the girls. We still say it to Maggie even though it makes her feel uncomfortable. She needs to hear it.

Kim and I don’t need to hear it. We need to feel it from each other and we do. We just do the things for each other that say “I love you” more than words.

Here in Cleveland it was 8 degrees Fahrenheit with a strong breeze on Valentine’s Day night. The coat I’d been wearing wasn’t warm enough and it wouldn’t fit over a sports coat. Kim looked in the closet and found a coat I hadn’t worn in a long time.

It was so warm and comfortable – I don’t know why I hadn’t worn it. In fact, I couldn’t think of the last time I wore it.

I couldn’t remember until I put my hand in the pocket to see what was there.

It was a sheet of paper with the prayers to be said at the grave site.

I last wore this coat nearly nine years ago at Elena’s funeral. I didn’t even read the words on the page. Just feeling this folded up paper in my pocket and glancing at it was enough to take me back there.

My eyes welled up. Kim asked, “what is it?” I showed her. I was suddenly so sad.

We stood without speaking and thought of Elena.

We went out to dinner and Kim’s friend mentioned Elena about half way through the appetizers. Suddenly, I was glad we were spending dinner with these people who had known Elena and who weren’t afraid to bring her up in conversation.

Valentine’s Day and the tree in Elena and Jan’s garden is filled with wooden valentines. Once again Susan and her son have made the valentines and hung them on the tree. Nearly nine years since the day Elena died and they still remember. That says “I love you” so much more than words.

Actually, today is nine years since Elena died. Kim has just left for church with her parents. I observe the day by writing. Soon we’ll all meet for breakfast and share memories.

During this past year I looked in the eyes of another father who had lost a young daughter. He said to me “don’t tell me that it will be ok.” He asked me not to tell him of my journey because he needed to take his.

I hugged him and said, “of course.”

It’s been nine years and Kim and I are still on this journey. Our journey is different than his.

I don’t know what I expected.

Thankfully, I’m not alone on this journey. Kim and I are there for each other in ways that say “I love you” so much more than words.

Published in: on February 22, 2015 at 11:04 am  Comments (3)  
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