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Sunday, 5 February 2017

Still Here

Just a pictureless post to say I am still here, but not really writing. Yesterday we went to a city about an hour away for the funeral of the 19 year old daughter of our friends. There are no perfect words to describe that event. We picked up our daughter from university in a nearby city first because she wanted to attend. She remembers when the two to them played Barbies and jumped on a trampoline together.

There were so many people in attendance. She was in her second year of university, engineering. She wanted to develop better prosthetic limbs for people. She was a down hill ski racer. She played volleyball and basketball and maintained an incredibly high average in school. This was a girl who touched so many lives at only 19 years old. Imagine what she could have accomplished had she not died.

Her father, a sweet, funny, sarcastic, intelligent man, managed to play the guitar and sing a song for her, and then proceed with a eulogy that was both touching and funny. I have no idea how he did it. Later he told me that Kayleigh helped him write it. His pain, and his wife's, is so palpable.

The whole day, my husband and I were reaching for our daughter's hand, holding her, leaning against her while sitting on the pew. Our son did not have the same memories, as he is a little younger, the last baby to be born of our group of friends. We let him stay back, go to his part time job, but I texted him during the day and tried to maintain as much contact as I could.

They do not know why she died. She went to sleep and did not wake up. She had experienced what she thought was a seizure in December. She went to the doctor, but nothing came of it. Apparently with something like epilepsy, one seizure is not enough to diagnose. I'm not even saying it was epilepsy. Nobody knows. But it's something to grasp at. I am not religious. So I'm not here questioning a deity. I am thinking about the loss of what could have been, a life unfulfilled, potential that will never be reached, parents who both said in separate circumstances that they do not know how they can continue living for thirty more years as if their own lives have a finite end point. I am thinking about my own two children and how I've nattered on about the small, the insignificant, the ridiculous. I'm thinking about my own life, and my husband's. Are we doing the best for our own bodies to keep going and enjoy retirement and be there when our own kids grow up and have families of their own if that is indeed what they will do. And then I'm thinking does it even matter? Should you not just live each day as if it were your last and not fret over the salad, or the wine, or finishing the work project on time, or spending too much on a pair of boots, or whether the upstairs bathroom gets finished or not.

This is a girl, as her dad described, who sucked the marrow out of life. To watch the slide show of pictures in which she was laughing and competing and throwing her arms around a multitude of friends was bittersweet. So I guess perhaps what I took away from this, a lesson that Kayleigh has taught me, is don't postpone happiness, or joy, or fun. Seize the day. Go on that trip. Laugh at that joke. Give that compliment. Don't sweat the small stuff, as the saying goes. And tell your children you love them every day.

24 comments:

  1. This is heartbreaking. I send my sincere sympathy. Life is very tough sometimes.

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  2. Jenn, I am so sorry for your loss. Losing children has to be the hardest pain. Your last sentences says so much. Blessings, xoxo, Susie

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  3. Her friends did a fab job of painting the cannon purple! So sad & so many whys. Unfortunately that we need such reminders to live our best everyday & it reminds me that I need to work on letting some of that "stuff" go, I get so caught up sometimes. Yes a walk outside is indeed what the doctor has ordered.

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    1. Oh, I guess you know about this because you live in her university town. Yes, many friends are remembering her. She really was special.

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    2. Jenn we have a couple of same university students working at the clinic & they were talking about this young lady & showed me the photos of the cannon (crazy tradition). You want to know the really strange thing was when they showed me the notice in the paper, it was listed right below a notice for a woman I had know since I was a wee bit of a thing. It was a lady that had been very special to me then & I always remember her kindness to me at a time I so needed that. Strange old world & connections. I am thinking of a post about connections.

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  4. Thank you for your wise advice in honor of this lovely young woman and her grieving family.

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  5. After reading this I just wish I could reach out and hug my daughters.

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  6. I'm so sorry. My heart goes out to her Mum and Dad.

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  7. How sad it must be for parents to lose a child! How sad for your daughter to lose a friend! How honored she was by her father shows how blessed she was in her 19 years on this earth. We all could learn a lesson from this. We are not promised tomorrow!!

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  8. I often wonder why the good amoung us die so young. I work with so many people that are very elderly, have no quality of life and are miserable. They sit day after day, week after week, month after month. They only go out for doctor type appointments. They want to die.
    I don't know. It makes no sense. And they heartache of a young person dying leaves unmeasurable pain in its wake. Old people are supposed to die. Young people are supposed to live.

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  9. My wife just got back from a funeral, her best friend's mother died.

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  10. Heart-wrenching. I'm so sorry for all who loved her. An unfinished life. A beautiful, young person gone much too early. I have a daughter that age and I can just imagine the grief involved.

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  11. What a tragic loss - and your post is so poignant. May her parents find some comfort in knowing she lived her years full.

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  12. This is so beautifully written..thoughts and wonders at a very sad gathering. It indeed is a life changer for her parents. Forever young....golden memories will be in their hearts. Hugs and blessings for all who loved her!

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  13. That is so sad and something I can relate to. My son died at age 25 back in 2003 - When young people leave us, they take away a bit of our future.

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    1. Oh Debby, I am so sorry about your son. Truly a parent's worst nightmare.

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  14. This is so deeply sad just to hear about. To know this woman must make it almost impossible to comprehend. Things like that do shake up our own reality and perspective, don't they. I always try to live each day like the last (sometimes with better results than others) because we never do know. I send wishes of peace and healing to you, your daughter and of course, to the family.

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  15. A beautifully written post. There are no words, there are no answers in a situation like this.

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  16. I'm so very sorry. It's been a LONG time (decades), but we lost our 15 year old babysitter to a tragic car accident, and her mom was never the same afterwards. There is no great tragedy for a parent than this. I'm doubly sorry that they don't have answers. Did they do a full autopsy with results to come eventually, I hope? Just for some better closure?

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  17. As a retired hospice nurse, I too often question why we do what we do (diets, bills, fights, material things) when in the end none of us make it out alive, but the point is, we do it all for our families. Get through each day, tell the people we love that we love them, and hang on for dear life. I'll keep that family in my prayers. Take care blog friend.

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  18. That is terribly, terribly sad. I'm so sorry for your loss.

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