Monday, February 15, 2010

Missing Katherine

I miss Katherine.


I’ve said it.

I miss her laugh.

I miss her eyes.

I miss her smile.

I miss her voice.

I miss the way she talked 100 miles an hour when she was excited about something.

I miss the way she moved.

I miss the way she helped me.

In Target the other day, I thought I saw her.

My peripheral vision glimpsed a tall girl with long blonde hair striding toward me. “Oh, here comes Katherine,” my inner reflexes registered for a milli-second.

It made my heart race.


Then a swift sadness.

I miss that girl.

This is not an entirely new phenomenon.

When Katherine was a toddler, I missed Baby Katherine.

I missed her baby smell.

I missed her funny Mohawk hair.

I missed her tininess.

I missed nursing her.

I missed sleeping with her.

When Katherine was 7 or 8, I missed Toddler Katherine.

I missed her voice.

I missed the funny things she said.

I missed her little dimpled hands holding mine.

I missed seeing her see things for the first time.

I missed the conversations we had at bedtime. (Age 2 1/2: “Mommy, why is there meanness in the world?”)

I missed snuggle time.

I still do.

When Katherine was 17, I missed Awkward Preteen Katherine.

I missed her dorkiness.

I missed the way she thought I was The Coolest Mom.

I missed the way she could still play.

I missed the way she told me everything.

I still do.

I miss all my little girls.

I miss the way they fought and kissed and made up.

I miss the way they sang silly made-up songs.

I miss the way they covered me in kisses..

I miss the way they got into bed together and giggled. (Wait…they still do that.)

I can still smell the sunshine in Amie’s hair.

I can feel Baby Grace’s long legs wrapped around my middle.

I can see the look in Katherine’s blue eyes, as big as her face, as she asked me endless questions.

I feel a sense of loss that those little girls are gone.

…As I feel a sense of loss for the Katherine who left us one sunny day in April in the year 2008.

I miss her.

There is an innate tristesse in the harsh reality that kittens become cats

and toddlers morph into teenagers

and teenagers turn into old ladies like me.

Impermanence is sad.

I think it’s okay to be sad sometimes.

For a time.

Old ladies turn into angels one day.


“Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is…” (I John 3:2)

“I'm gonna miss you

I'm gonna miss you

When you're gone

She says, I love you

I'm gonna miss you 

And your songs

And I said, please

Don't talk about the end

Don't talk about how 

Every living thing goes away…”

Jon Foreman, from Learning How to Die


*I hope you understand my heart in this. It was not meant to be maudlin or whiny. Just an admission that there has been loss; that change and loss are inevitable parts of life; and that it is sometimes good to acknowledge this fact in order to appreciate our times of joy more fully. Although there are things I miss about the pre-AVM Katherine, the After-Katherine has qualities and depths that would not have been possible before. God is not finished with her yet. The gifts she is receiving through her losses are greater than gold. I believe that the heart of God is such than when He takes something away, He replaces it with something even better. But the "taking away" part is still hard. Very, very, very hard.


susan hickok said...

Hi Kim -- I have never commented on your blog yet, but I just had to today.

First of all, thank you for your beautiful posts. You have a lovely vocabulary -- sometimes I even write down the words I don't know and look them up, hoping to use them someday! But most importantly, you come out and say the things we as women think and feel yet don't necessarily want to come out and actually say.

Your blog was referred to me by a friend -- she emailed me and said, "I wanted to send this blog to you because you will understand and I know you will pray." Yes, we have been praying for Katherine from the very beginning even though we have never even met your family.

We moved to Atlanta in 2004 and one year later -- November 19, 2005, our son and daughter were involved in a horrible car crash which took the life of their friend and left our daughter in a coma. Every bone in her face was broken, teeth and bone knocked out and worst of all, the doctor said her lungs were beyond repair --"prepare yourselves. your daughter will not make it through the day." She is a miracle and God gave her new lungs. Yet she has had many other issues.

So we do understand, to an extent, how your family has suffered, yet no one suffers the same. Four years later our girl continues to have more reconstructive surgeries and endures chronic headaches. Life is serious and sad quite often. I too miss her carefree spirit, her symmetrical face, her confidence and on and on. Some days it just hits me, and I'm sad for all that's been lost.

So thank you, Kim, for aiding in my healing today -- giving me permission to be sad for my little girl.

God bless you and your ministry to Jay and Katherine, baby James . . . and all of us. We will continue to pray for Katherine.



New England Girl said...

Dear Kim,
I have read your blog, and in many ways understand what you are feeling. Just before his 50th birthday, my husband was diagnosed four years ago with a very rare form of dementia called Fronto-temporal dementia. He has Progressive Non-fluent Aphasia which means that he cannot communicate, nor can he completely understand us. I am watching my husband, my best friend slip away before my very eyes. Our children are having to parent their dad, their hero. It is heart breaking, and yes, I miss him. I look at him, and see him, and yet it's not him. The only thing I can think of is that we have had so many blessings. God has been so good to us. I try so hard to concentrate on that.
Your grandson is so beautiful, and I pray that Katherine continues to return to you.


Below is a link to a CNN report that was done on our family this past fall.

Karen said...

One of those golden losses was so perfectly illustrated in this quotation I take from her video on her website- "For instance I cannot walk, but who feels really free even when they can? I'm messed up, my face is frozen, paralyzed, but who feels beautiful even when they look normal? I could not eat, but who feels satisfied even when they can eat? My voice is messed up now, I can barely speak but who feels understood even when they can speak? No one. So no matter the situation, universally people feel what I have lived out. They don't feel free, they don't feel satisfied."

She is the new Joni Eareckson Tada, reaching out to so many who suffer. What a calling.

Sherrie said...

Your words are beautiful. I heard this quote over the weekend. "change is inevitable growth is optional". I continue to keep Katherine and your whole family in my prayers and I think of her often. Hugs!

Cyndi said...

I have never written to you either and as I write my eyes are filled with so many tears I can hardly see my keyboard.
My loss is different. I lost my Mom, my best friend in September 2009 to gastric cancer and I miss her so much.
I was thinking I'm so glad Katherine has her Mom......
Blesings and prayers,

athensmom said...

I love this quote from Carol Kuykendall who wrote: Give Them Wings."We experience great grief over our losses, because grief is the privileged price we pay for loving the way God calls us to love. Love is not cheap. Love demands sacrifice." "Change demands surrender, and life is a series of surrenders and relinquishments.” I miss my little girls too - I miss my oldest as she is away at college. There are so many things in the past that I miss because some days - these days - everything seems hard - but I know that they were hard in different ways then. Thanks for sharing your heart Kim.Many blessings,Anne Henderson

Peggy Dabbs said...

Oh Kim! You touch my heart so!
I am also touched by the comments
of the other ladies. We are a
strong group of women!

Love and prayers to you and Katherine always!

Peggy said...

I have followed your story from the beginning as I am a longtime member of First Baptist Alexandria (but a southerner like you from Alabama) and know the Wolf family because of their service here. I,too, have been praying and I wanted to share what God put on my heart a few days ago. I have heard Katherine express all the physical needs in her life and she wants everyone to pray for those needs. As she has listed them it seems daunting. I began to pray just a few days ago that God would heal Katherine immediately in an area that would mean the most to her at this time. I shared that with a friend at church Sunday who also has been following your story and she said she would start praying for the same thing. Also, as you have shared what you miss so much about your children being young and having three children close to the ages of yours, it reminded me of the book a few years ago titled Live and Learn and Pass it On. Someone shared in the book that she would give almost everything to have her children be young again for just one day. When I mentioned that to a couple of friends at the time I realized with tears in my eyes that it described me as well. I am a big believer that we MUST mourn the things that hurt us but as believers we can't stay there. Of course, that's why I stay on my knees often going before His throne of mercy. I,too, want to thank you for what you have written. You have a way of reaching way down inside of me and bringing my emotions to the surface. You are real. I remind myself often when I deal with painful events that this world is not it. He has promised us a life one day (as you have so beautifully articulated) free of pain and sorrow. Of, course, it makes my mission of wanting everyone to know Him, all the more urgent.
Peggy Roberts

emily said...

i have read your blog since you began writing, and while i am in a very different place in life your thoughts and words always help me find my own. Seriously, thank you for your transparency,vulnerability and flat out honesty- all of this, paired with your faith has given me hope & direction in finding my own.