Friday, October 01, 2010

Remembering Kelly

Yesterday was Kelly's birthday. Kelly is my brother who lived for a short five months. I slept in the same room as him. I was a couple of feet away from him in my bed the night that he passed away. The memories that I have are mostly vague, but they are still there. Somewhere in my brain are the memories of a five year old girl who was suddenly very aware of what death was. I remember my mom crying and crying. I remember the sound of the ambulance and I remember my dad holding him for the very last time. I also remember how much I loved him and how excited I was to be a big sister. I have a picture in my room of me holding him...holding the only brother I would ever know. As a five year old, I knew that he would always be part of my family. When I drew pictures in school of my family, I always drew him. When people would ask me how many brothers and sisters I had, I always included him. One day when I was pregnant with Clairisa, I was doing the dishes and had a distinct impression about what Clairisa's middle name should be. I called my mom and asked her if it was alright if I named her Clairisa Kelly. Little did I know how appropriate it would be for me to name my own daughter after my perfect brother.

When we lost Clairisa, Katelund was also five years old. I wonder what memories will stay with her. I wonder if Clairisa will change her life the same way that Kelly changed mine. Sometimes when people ask me how many children I have, I include Clairisa, but then other times I don't. But, Katelund always includes "Clairlisa". She draws her in her pictures. She prays for her and thanks Heavenly Father for her every single night. She talks about the day that we will be together again.

There was a time when she couldn't stand to see me cry. She had watched me cry and hurt so much that she just couldn't take it any more. One day I found her hiding in her closet and plugging her ears. When I asked her what she was doing she said that she just couldn't stand to hear me cry any longer. At that point, I knew that I needed to be stronger. I turned to my own mother and drew upon her strength. The strength that she had always carried with her. The strength that comes from a lifetime of experiences that carve your character. When I think of how much she helped me get through such a difficult time, I have to wonder if that was just all part of the plan. How could I have ever gone through such a trial without the example, strength, and empathy of my mother? I don't know that I could have and I thank God that I didn't have to.

Somehow, I think that losing a brother helped prepare me for the day that I would lose my daughter. These two experiences, more than any others, have made me who I am today. They have molded and refined me in so many ways. They have given me vision. But above all, they have given me hope and excitement for a future day when I will be reunited with them once again.


Melissa said...

Thank you for such a sweet & uplifting post!

Ryan and Tonya said...

Melissa...I love you, your family, and your extended family that I only know from your posts. You are so wise, thoughtful and courageous. Yesterday Audrey was very nearly admitted to the hospital for a very high fever. Luckily her "numbers" (blood counts) were high enough that her body responded to Tylenol and IV fed antibiotics. I know that for you and for myself these trials will never become memories but we will be able to bare them better with time.

Mandy said...

You and your mom are remarkable have endured what many souls cannot or would not endure. What a blessing it is to just know, without searching or doubt, that your family is eternal.

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