After All, Who Am I? – Kelly


It was some time just after Madeline’s birthday when we started weathering the storm.  It reminded me of living in the Gulf of Mexico and we’d get the heeded warning about a bad one headed our way:  Batten down the hatches, throw up your storm doors, hunker down, keep a flashlight, it’s going to get dark, cold, and scary.  

I don’t have much energy to write with poignancy just yet.  The holidays, including our getaway during Christmas, are still rocking me sideways.  I’ll have more strength in a few more weeks, and will be able to sort things out (for all of you…and me) on another post then.  Until then, I need to get a few thoughts out of my brain so here they are for your viewing pleasure.  

  1. A large part of me is frozen in time back in March.  Sometimes, it feels like everyone and everything keeps moving forward without me…without us.  Rightfully so, though.  It is a curious paralyzing feeling I have, partly because of all the quiet.
  2. The silence is deafening.  I do not hear from friends anymore and taking initiative to do anything but care for myself and my husband requires a large quantity of energy, embarrassing as it is, it is true.  I am isolated in a way I never imagined and am challenged to describe.   
  3. I can only imagine how hard it must be for people to be around us sometimes…to be around me.  Mostly, I don’t pretend things are okay and when someone asks me how I am, I am honest (unless I’m at work; people don’t want to hear if something nightmarishly horrifying is happening in the bosses world. I’m there to solve their problems and address their concerns, not the other way around). My honesty makes people uncomfortable. People don’t like being uncomfortable. 
  4. I wish and hope so much it’s pathetic.  I wish things had been different.  I hope nothing like this happens to anyone else, ever.
  5. I have limited capacity for complaining these days.  I used to pride myself on my grace and patience.  The barrel is empty and I am unsure how to refill it at this time.  When I hear someone complain about their kids or their family, or complain about their messed up coffee order, or that their reality show got cancelled…I have no ability to engage, to placate, to validate…I have absolutely nothing to offer in response other than a blank stare.   

But the real hitch to all this, the real pisser of it all, at the end of the day, I almost always end up asking myself the same damn question, knowing full well so many people out there ask themselves the same question about me:  

Why are you so down?  I mean really, who are YOU to these kids?  You’re nobody.  It’s not like you knew them or anything; they weren’t YOURS.  

Welp, I gave it some thought.  

I am the one Maddy was reluctant to meet and Sam was excited about.  I am the one whose dog was dying and Maddy wanted to make sure I knew she was sorry for me.  I am the one who helped fold their laundry and cleaned their dishes when they weren’t at their dads.  I am the one who organized their shoes and helped to put away toys.  I am the one who made sure their homework stayed safe if it was forgotten.  I am the one who got photos upon photos of them for days and months when they were all together.  I am the one who watched Sam play catch with his dad at the gym but never said hello; I didn’t want to interrupt.  I am the one who helped get the tickets to Marvel Universe. I am the one who eagerly wanted to learn about Ben and all his amazing love and kindness.  I am the one their dad wanted them to meet that coming weekend, for the first time, so he was preparing us…all of us…for that super nerve-wracking day.  

I am the one who fell in love with this amazing crew of people and they didn’t even know it.  

I am the one who was nervous and excited for the challenges that faced us as our path led us toward me becoming a new addition.  

I am the person Sam and Maddy knew about that made their dad happy.  

I am the one who woke up to the call with Brad.  

I am the one who got the car ready.  

I am the one who found out the kids died before he did.  

I am one who smelled the fire and had foam and charred structural remains soaking through my feet as I walked up the hill.  

I am the one who sat with Brad and took notes, asked questions and listened while we were debriefed by the fire marshall and detectives.  

I am the one who picked up the kids in their urns and drove them to their final resting place.

After all, who am I?  

I am someone navigating loss.   

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3 thoughts on “After All, Who Am I? – Kelly”

  1. This is the first post of yours I have read. I am crying. As an adoptive parent–I know that children come into your life in many ways, and no way is “less” than another. I have one bio kid and 2 adopted. I bonded with my son from China the fastest–faster than my bio kid. I can’t explain it–it happened the moment I saw him. He walked through the door and I thought “There you are” and felt a deep knowing. Your children were born through your heart. Just because they did not travel through your body does not make them any less your children (or Betha’s grandchildren). It does not matter if you were part of each other’s lives for 10 years, 10 days, or 10 hours.

    People are uncomfortable with grief. There are very few rituals around death in our society, let alone the death of precious children. No one knows what to say. Like when I had cancer for 13 years, people would say “at least it’s the “good” type of cancer!–you are SO lucky!”. Yeah, I am so fucking lucky to lose 13 years of my life to illness. We could say a lot of ridiculous things to you and your sweetie because we don’t know what to say. How do we say “How are you alive? I think I would die from the pain of losing my children”. How do we say “Nothing will ever be the same for you again”. How do we say “I am crying with you and it hurts so much”. It’s hard to get real with this stuff.

    You are not brave, you have no fucking choice. You are breathing in and breathing out. I don’t know you, but I will breath in and out with you. I will send love your way. I will look at the soft skin on my daughter’s wrist, and kiss it and smell her hair and memorize it. I will not give you encouraging words because there are none. Just know that I care.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We are grateful to know you’re with us in spirit, wherever you may be in this world. Love your family, love your tribe. Thank you for reading, sharing and sending out love. – Kelly & Brad


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