about the men i love... for the girls that are my world.

Friday, January 31, 2014

A Thankful Grieving Heart

It's been a quiet week around here. My poor sweet Kate has been sick, so I've barely left the house, other than to take Natalie to and from school. Life this week has consisted of lots of snuggles and watching movies on the couch with a 2 year old, who usually won't stop moving.
I will be honest, I hate it that she's been sick, it breaks my heart, but I am so thankful for the fact that she doesn't want to be more than 2 feet away from me, and isn't really content unless she's in my arms.... I've been eating that part up. She's finally feeling better, thank goodness. However the weather here is anything but desirable, so we still haven't left the house. Being cooped up can make you a bit stir crazy, but Natalie was out of school today, so we took full advantage of that and spent the whole day doing arts and crafts, which is one of her favorite things to do.  Other than the stress of a sick kiddo, the dreary weather, and feeling a little like you're being held hostage in your own home, things had been going well.
Until I started looking for something this week....
I needed to find some paperwork. I'd been putting it off, but it needed to be completed by the end of the month, so earlier this week I peeled Kate off of me, turned on Toy Story and went to the spot where I keep important paperwork. I just knew in my head exactly where things should be. Until I started looking, and couldn't find what I needed. I'm usually organized. Very, very organized. Anyone who really knows me, knows this to be true. However on the rare occasion, that's not the case.
I started to panic a little, and was angry with myself for procrastinating, which is something I rarely do. But thinking things maybe just got cluttered up a little bit, I started to look through the file box, of "important papers".
It went downhill from there.
Oh, the things I found.
I came across everything from medical records to funeral plans, complete with my scribbled notes on what readings were to be read and what songs to be sung. Funny, because I don't really have much recollection of writing it, and it doesn't look my handwriting, but I know it is. Among these important papers are multiple different birth certificates, and but one death certificate. Prior to 2009, I'd never had a death certificate in my possession. And most certainly not one in my "important papers file folder".
Mind you, I've needed it for several reasons in years past. It's not as if this was the first time I'd seen in awhile. But for some reason it really hit me this time. It hit me as much as it did the first time I held it in my hands. Opening that letter from Kansas Office of Vital Statistics, in my parents dining room, is one of those moments I will never forget. I remember looking it over. Thinking, this piece of paper, that came in the mail, makes it all that much more real. I remember when I saw it on an official document for the first time.
Cause of Death: Homicide.
Homicide. Something that happens in movies, or on TV, or in bad parts of town. Not to my husband. Not to my daughters father. Not to someone I loved more than life itself.
I looked at it again this week. And it hit me, just as hard. I was mad. I was angry.
That's when I came to a realization...  You don't lose someone just once. It doesn't happen for just one day, or one month, or one year. It happens over and over and over again.
It happens when you come across an old picture. A picture that you didn't think was even usable. Because I took it with my first smartphone, on a ride along with Brian, and it didn't have a flash. His face was so dark you could barely see it.
Derek looked at it, and thought he could edit it for me. And he did. God bless him.
When I first looked at it, I thought it was probably one of the best pictures I have of him. Because, it's perfectly him. And in a way, looking at it, for the first time in a long time, made me feel that pain of losing him all over again.
It's not just a one time thing, for someone you loved so much, it's forever.
It happens when your daughter asks you more and more questions, the older she gets. When, amongest the important papers, you find the folder where he saved every UPC code of every appliance or electronic you bought together. When you find the notes he had taken for an interview with the Wichita Police Department, long before he was hired by the Sheriffs Office, complete with bullets and a section on "Why I want to be a Police Officer".
I sat down on the kitchen floor and cried.
And then a little hand grabbed my arm.
"Momma, what's wrong?" Kate asked as she sat down on my lap.
"You crying?"
I wrapped my arms around her and cried even harder, but just for a little bit.
For a moment I was so angry, so upset. There is much truth in the fact that one doesn't go through the stages of grief just once.
But I looked at her and smiled. And she smiled at me.
What an amazing gift from God she is. And I never take her for granted.
I feel that the pain I carry in my heart from the loss of Brian, is somehow, in someway to thank for that.
The pain that is constantly there reminds myself to never take anything for granted. To be thankful for all that God has blessed with me with.
To take every moment, and soak it in.
Because it changes you. And in many ways for the better.
I am so thankful to be able to look back on so many happy memories I made with Brian.
And I am so grateful for the husband and father that I've been blessed with in Derek.
My girls will know nothing but love, and the memories of love. How very indebted I am for that.
Thanks be to God, for both of them, both of my girls and the many abundant blessings in my life.


  1. Oh my dear sweet friend. Hit "publish" more often! Your words are such a blessing to so many, but to Nat and Kate, priceless! Love you!!

  2. So true...you have many gifts Sarah...definitely writing from your heart is one of them. Thank you for sharing this. You truly are an inspiration.

  3. I look up to you in so many ways. I know God put us in each other's paths. I love how real you are and how even though you have Derek, you never stop hurting for forget Brian. Love and miss you sweet friend.

  4. I pass that picture of Brian every day going to the squad room at work. I've only been with the Sherrifs Office 8 months but we all know his story. Every new new recruit will know his story. Your family is one of perpetual growth.