In the beginning
 all the time
  when I woke up
   when I went to bed
    any time in between
     when I walked into work
      when I walked out of work
       but I kept it out of work
        had to then
         when my phone rang at work
          you are never prepared for that phone call

when I drive up the street to my parent’s house
 when I drive down the street away from my parent’s house
  when I think about that first moment at their house
   and we all stand in the kitchen and catch up on things
    and get to see and hug each other for the first time of that visit
     and joke and laugh with each other
      and get some cookies from the cookie jar
       that’s always a special moment
        it’s still special
         but is missing something now

when I think about my parents
 and all the things they did right
  and all the love we showed each other
   and all the happiness waiting for all of us
    together in the future

when I think about future family reunions

when I look at our last family pictures
 and thought we were doing it for another reason
  it wasn’t Katherine that we were worried about then
   you never know the reason
    take the picture

when I think about my brother
  and his family
    and my parents
     and Katherine’s family
      her husband
       and girls
        those smiling, happy girls
         we worry about them remembering too much
          yet not remembering enough
     those precious, special girls
      and extended family
   and her best friend
    all of her friends
     and her co-workers
      and anyone fortunate enough to see her beautiful spirit shine
   you never know the reason for making all those connections
    make the connections

when I think about New Hampshire
   New England
    a trip to Disney
     a trip to Grand Marais
      she said a summer trip is “good for us!” 2 weeks before she died
     the struggle to live
      and to die
       at the same time

when I think of a cold and dreary New England day
 or see a timeless New England cemetery
  when I hear bagpipes
   wow were they sad that day
    and yet beautiful in a way I’d never heard before
     and don’t want to hear again

at any holiday
 when I have a birthday and turn a year older
  New Years
    Thanksgiving with family
     it’s so odd that my happiness related to aging and family holidays
      triggers sadness
       the happier I see us all
        the sadder I want to feel sometimes

when I think about my childhood

when I see anyone take their family for granted

when I hear anyone say the word “sister”
 or “brother”
  especially if they are complaining about their siblings
   hey grown-ups
    please don’t complain about your siblings
   I know kids will fight with each other
    that’s normal, and part of every childhood
     watching my children do that stirs up many emotions in me
      frustration, sadness, hurt, mad, plus others I guess
       I have to leave the room and not deal with it
        guess it makes me miss Katherine even more
         and wants me to have them appreciate each other all the time
          I know it’s not realistic
           but wow does it overwhelm me

when I see other families fight
 over the silliest things
  and just not get how precious life is
   especially when these families know my story
    but they forget
     please appreciate what you have
      or if you don’t appreciate it
       please don’t do that in front of me
        especially during holidays which are already tough on me
         help me every day continue to live my life positively
          and inspire others
           and not judge
            and have patience
             and respect all those around me
              and help me “be kind” as the quote says
               because everyone you meet is fighting a great battle

when I worry about telling my kids
 when I worry about not telling my kids

every time one of my children says they hate me
 yes, it happens to all of us
  hopefully not often
   but all kids say it
    it digs deep
     in ways it wouldn’t have two years ago
    or when they cry over friends
     or not fitting in
      how can you not worry?
       do you overreact?
         love them
          listen to them
           be there
            don’t judge
             create that loving environment.

when I think about how Grandma T would always pause when we’d go
 through old photos
  when she got to Grandpa T’s sister Margareet who died when
   she was in her early twenties of cancer
    something about the way she said it or paused I think
     showed a profound impact on Grandpa T for the rest of his life
      it would be interesting to hear if he ever talked about her
       or how that impacted him
        and how his life changed
         does anyone know?

when I look at draft emails still addressed to Katherine
 or the messages from her still saved in my phone
  or read her comments in my blog
   so glad I created that blog
    it is the 1st item I ever pursued after reading The Dream Manager
     Katherine always talked about creating her own blog
      she really wanted to do it
       but it never happened
      so glad she read my blog
       so glad she wrote comments
        you never know why you do some things
         and the benefits they will produce
          chase your dreams
           write your blog (or whatever is on your dream list)
            who cares what others think
             take small steps at first
              but just do it
               support other people’s dreams
                write those comments
                 they mean so much

when I have great memories of her
 it’s so true that we remember and miss the small things
  the imperfections, crazy moments, and unique traits
   those random, funny email that I still have saved
    jigsaw puzzles of course
     that wonderful laugh/snort/chortle/burst with that smile
      the awesome gifts she bought me
       will I ever throw some of those away now?
        how long will a G. H. Bass jacket last and still be so stylish?
         don’t answer that
          I say I need to get better at buying gifts like she did
           talk is cheap, huh?
      when I hear “wicked awesome”
       ok, I never hear that
      when I drive past where she got pulled over by the police
       for speeding in Minnesota
        while in her pajamas
         with no I.D.
          with her best friend
           and not really knowing where they were
            must have made that cop’s day

when I watch my children grow older
 when I see my daughter dancing
  and growing older
   and making lifelong friends
    when I fold her flannel pajamas
     when she wears new dance costumes and make-up
      I can picture Katherine at that age doing these same things

when I still think about calling Katherine out of the blue
 it just doesn’t seem real some days
  this really happened to our family?

when I connect with a song
 For a Dancer by Jackson Browne
  “And somewhere between the time you arrive
  And the time you go
  May lie a reason you were alive
  But you’ll never know”
   find songs or poems or stories that have meaning to you

When I see my grey hairs
 when I don’t sleep well at night
  because my mind is up
   I sleep better now
    but those grey hairs don’t turn back to brown
     thanks Katherine

when I hear people say
  “I’d kill for that”
   “he’s dead to me”
    “slit my wrists”
     “hang myself”
      they are just words we all use
       but I pause on them now
        and try to be intentional
         and thoughtful
          in my words and actions

when I try to think about what she must have been thinking
 and going through
  so much that I don’t understand
   and can’t relate to
    but I’m learning a lot and continue to learn
     and not judge
          are scraping sounds of teeth against a metal fork or spoon
           a warning sign or just a way to annoy your sister?
            who knows.
  when I tap my fingernails on the wall
   as I walk down a hallway
    or stairwell
     but I can stop tapping my nails
      I control it
       but others can’t
        so hard to understand

when I lay my shoes side by side for the next day
 the right shoe goes on the right
  the left shoe goes on the left
   now that can’t be changed
    don’t mess with my shoes
      what makes it anxiety and OCD?
       versus just being silly?

when I jog past a certain area in this loop that I do
 I talk to her there
  we all need to handle this in our own way
   find that special spot
    talk to yourself
     talk to her
       don’t bottle it up

when I pause and hug my kids real tight

when I see a beautiful sunrise

when I have a bad day

when I get in a slump for a day or two

when I let small things frustrate me

when I think about others going through struggles
 and I still don’t ask them about it enough when they say they are “ok”
  it’s awkward
   or we forget weeks later
    and I can’t assume just because someone is having a bad day
     that it will end up in suicide
      but you never know
       so live a good life
        and always be there for others
         listen and watch for signs

when I see awful stories in the news
 when I hear others make judgments about suicide
  and state why people did it
   and how could they leave so much behind
    or be so selfish
     we have so much to learn

it’s a disease
 just like a heart attack
  you can’t control it
   and shouldn’t be judged

when I hear a judgment come out of my mouth
 I hope this doesn’t happen often
  we all do it
   often without realizing it
    you never know the other person’s story
     or what they’ve been through
      or what they are going through
       nice words and thoughts go a long way

when I try to think about what day to honor her each year
 but really it’s every day
  every day is a great day to remember her
   and live a life that she would be proud of
    but it’s not enough to say every day
     I really want an intentional day to celebrate her life
      or do focused good in the world in her name
       I’m open to ideas

every time I tell someone new who I am
 I may not tell them about this right away
  but I’m thinking about it
   it’s a huge part of me
    it has shaped me
     and focused me
       and helping me define a purpose
        and to live intentionally
         without judgment
          not take any day or moment for granted
           and be there for others all of the time
     but I’d trade it all back in a heartbeat

when I think about what I want to focus my life on
 when I think about what truly matters
  when I think about what I would change in this world if I could
   when I help others understand why it’s important to have dreams
    and pursue them
     and live for today
      and be happy now
       because that’s the only guarantee that we have
       and I’m inspired by the people
        who have already used this as a wake up call
         and are pursuing their dreams now

when I think about dream lists
 Katherine had 19 dreams in her list
  I think she accomplished one of those
   do the rest of us live the remaining dreams for her?
    do I just need to post something to Etsy?
     or does someone have to actually buy it?
      heh heh
       is it ok to share most of her dreams?

when I think about the good person I want to always be
 and the shining example I want to set for others
  and the best that I can be

when I think about if I can really ever save anyone
 all we can do is try
  be there for people
   spread happiness
    share some smiles
     don’t judge
      give people space
       but not too much space
        but how do you know where that line is
         all we can do is try the best we can
          and be good people

those of us that can control our lives
 should control our lives
  and help others
   and learn
    and do better
     because we know better

when I think about keeping our entire family together
 when I think about how fragile life is
  when I think about living each day to its fullest
   and treasuring the blessings we have before us each day
    and being there for others
     all the time
      even when we don’t feel like it
       yes, even then
        all the time
       and how far I’ve come in the past two years
        I think the best thing I can do to honor her memory
         is continue to improve and live the best life I can
           help others
             give back
              just be there
               focus on today
                that’s all we can guarantee
                 life is precious
                  enjoy each day to it’s fullest
                   because you never know

2 Responses to “When…”

  1. Dad & Grandpa T says:

    Like I said on the phone last this week – very well done. This is beautiful and another wonderful tribute to Katherine. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts so well.

    Just when I think I’m tough and out of tears, I find out otherwise. I just finished looking back through all of your blog entries on Katherine. I was doing OK until I read your April 2012 blog entry. So many wonderful memories. Thank you for sharing your feelings and memories, and helping us all to keep Katherine alive in our hearts and minds as we recall how much Katherine loved us, loved life and enriched the lives of all of us.

    Also, just to let you know your Pintrest quotes/link work just like you said. I was going to comment earlier – that’s another nice touch to your blog.
    Keep up the great work. It is appreciated and enjoyed!

  2. Dave says:

    I am so glad I wrote that April 2012 blog entry. That’s the one I go back to the most. Being able to drive 24 hours across the country before seeing all of you right away two years ago was very helpful for me to gather some of my own thoughts and memories – that was good for my process of handling everything. Thanks for the kind words and I’m glad you enjoy the blog and Pinterest additions. I have 64 followers to my suicide survivor Pinterest board now – my goal was 100 by year end. Hopefully that’s helping others along the way.

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