It’s Kade’s birthday week this week. It started yesterday, which was Easter Sunday, but I didn’t let myself dwell on that too much. We had eggs to fill and hide and anxious grandbabies coming to hunt them.
My youngest daughter, Belle, and I got up early yesterday morning and cleaned and cooked and cut flowers and picked out something pretty to wear. My husband mowed the yard and Belle’s boyfriend Ethan was on dog and trash patrol. We had a good morning.
Then company came, and we ate too much. Kyler declared the carrot cake I made from scratch to be the best one he ever ate. It’s my grandmother’s recipe and I tweaked it just a bit, it was pretty awesome.
We had put the dogs in our fenced in back yard and allowed them to access the screened-in backporch. At one point I looked over and four of them were on the couch I have out there, every nose pressed up against the wall sized window. They were sad and pitiful and I let them in.
So, four dogs and a two 1/2 year old and a five year old. Kids hopped up on chocolates and the dogs hopped up on kids. Picture taking and loud conversations over the racket in the house. I was loving it.
Then my 2 1/2 year old granddaughter proclaimed quite loudly, “Dere’s Tade!” I immediately looked at the door, still laughing at Belle and Karter, expecting him to walk through the door.
The struggle began.
Some of you might be thinking I misunderstood her. Or some of you might be wondering if Kade’s ghost is walking around in the house. (I’m sure of it some days 🙄😂)
Neither is the case, however.
I have an almost life-size black and white framed canvas of Kade and his bloodhound, Barlow, hanging on the wall in our living room. I ordered it the day after his services. My daughter in law, Kate, has used this small company in Texas to purchase a couple of canvases for her living room and they were so beautiful. So naturally, I decided to use this company. I ordered the largest size and when I mounted it to the wall, I noticed he was nearly life size and I had attached him to the wall where we were eye level. If I ever have something to say to Kade, I go to this picture and we talk it out. He was mostly silent during most of my rants in his lifetime so I just pretend we are still on that same wave length.
I was sinking fast. I was worn completely out and in a bit of pain and tired enough to sleep outside in the patch of rocks and mulch we have around the porch. So it didn’t take much to knock me over. Just a feather.
Kensley looked up and noticed this picture, not for the first time, and pointed him out. Naturally She loves her Unlcle Tade.
I mentally got to work. Berating Satan for being such a phallic presence. I begged for some strength from God. Because that’s what we do when we need some help from the Almighty. Beg. “Beg and you shall receive” Wait…. that’s not really what it says, does it. But we are human and dumb. Don’t shake your head, you know we are. It’s pitiful.
I tried, with a supernatural push from my Father, to reign things in. And I did. Now I can’t do this all the time but I had been so rooted in that happy moment that I didn’t want it to fly away with the wind. So I held on and clamped my mind down and starting singing Dancing On The Waves. My go to right now for any hysterical moment. This time it worked, amen.
I’ve not been quite as lucky today. I don’t feel great today. That’s not quite true. I feel like somebody pushed me down one of those hilly streets in San Francisco in a metal trash can. When I feel like this, I get frustrated and then mad. It’s too pretty out to feel like crap. I’ve created a huge crevice for the devil to slither into and pitch a tent of despair in my mind.
The funny thing is, it was sort of welcome. Not the devil, the despair. I had been so happy this past weekend. Today is the time to pay the price. It’s my hangover day because my drunk day was yesterday. (No I didn’t get drunk on Easter Sunday. It was a metaphor. Calm down) Whether this was subconscious or not, I did feel almost a gratefulness for the emotional morning. It was as if I had held it in all weekend and I needed to let it out.
Some days I don’t want to not be sad. I feel if I’m not sad, I’m betraying Kade. I won’t miss him as much. I don’t love him enough. I was reading a book last week and someone died. They were speaking about the Jewish custom of ripping your clothing to show mourning. ‘Kriah’ I had to search it a bit, I wanted to know what it meant. It’s the custom of tearing one’s clothes or cutting a black ribbon to wear. “This rendering is a striking expression of grief and anger at the loss of a loved one” I thought, “Well! I’m tearing all of my clothes.” Did an eye roll and decided a trip to Hobby Lobby to buy black ribbon was in order. This felt like a tangible show of my anguish. Most people would have no idea what it even meant. But I would. You might be thinking I’ve gone overboard. Don’t judge. You might want to tear all your clothes one day. I pray, not.
Kade would be mad about this whole thing. My counselor asked me what Kade would think about my reaction one time and my answer was, “He’d be pissed! But he can’t weigh in anymore. So it doesn’t matter” It was meant to be funny but it’s also how I feel most of the time. If I think do myself, “What would Kade say” about something grief-related I’m doing, my immediate reaction is “Tough toenails dude! Sorry, not sorry. You screwed the pooch on this one mister’ As I typed that just now, I thought, that’s what I’d say to him if he were alive too. I hated him telling me what to do. (Oh. Brother.)
As I said at the beginning, it’s Kade’s birthday week. April 10th. I’ll cherish that day forever. I cherish all my birthdays. Birthdays are a HUGE deal in our family. I tell all of my kids, it’s the day God made just for them. I’ve written that in every one of Kade’s birthday cards. And I will this year. I’ll buy him a beautiful card and write in it just like I always have. Because that’s what I want to do. A hundred little things like this will get me through the day. We are going away for the weekend. My sister in law lives on my favorite lake, two hours from here. Kade’s dad actually gave me the idea. Mother and my oldest daughter, Kennedy are coming from Indianapolis for the week. They are bringing my favorite foods to me and some surprises. We are going to spend the weekend on the lake, playing games and eating ourselves stupid. There is a hike up there where you can see eagle’s nests. The lake is so clear, so I can fish watch. It’s going to be in the mid-to-high seventies and sunny. I’m looking forward to it. That was my plan. Divert my mind but still being able to grieve his first birthday without him. I got nauseated just typing that. Oh my Father, please strengthen me, hold me up.
And he does. Every day. Even a day that I spend so sad I can’t talk about anything without crying. I pray each day that I am sensitive to his promptings that day. Make me aware. Some days, I just have to give in and go to bed. That’s okay. I’ve lost a precious soul I didn’t think I could live without. Right now I’m still walking through life with heavy chains wrapped around me, making it nearly impossible to do anything. Marley’s ghost comes to mind.
I keep reminding myself that in my faithfulness, God will show me good things each day if I’m looking for them. I look all the time now and I say I’m thankful about the littlest things. God may have or may not have dropped these things just for me, but I figure being over thankful is better than not being thankful.
Please keep me in your fervent prayers this week. Kade’s siblings, his father, Elizabeth, who he loved the most and everyone whose life is affected by Kade’s absence, please pray for them also.
Happy Birthday week Kade. We all love you.