Thursday, June 25, 2009

Dear Kelsey,

Today is your funeral. I went out to get Mom's van ready for your uncles to pick her up later and the damn thing won't start. I hate that thing, it is truly evil, so I guess I'm not that surprised, but I was hoping karma would take pity on me today of all days and make it behave. Anyway, while I try to charge the battery, I thought I would write to you since we never got to say goodbye.

I think we have things mostly the way you would have wanted them. Eli told us too late that you wanted an open casket, but when he said why, I have to tell you, sweetheart, I would not have honored that wish. Other than that, we tried to make sure this was your time and no one else's. We had to fight your Grandma Veldman on a few things, but your dad was steadfast in making sure our wishes prevailed. I know she means well and she is hurting a lot, so I will forewarn you that I told the pastor to include some Bible verses that she wants. I hope you understand.

Your artwork is incredible. Your Aunt Audrey arranged it, so it's well displayed. Ironic that you get your own little exhibit. It tears me to pieces that this will be your only one.

This morning, I thought about the new Harry Potter movie. It is finally about to come out, and I had always sort of figured you and I would go see it in Imax. Now I have to wonder if I will have the strength to see it at all, or if it will remind me too much of you and overwhelm me. I realized that this is the first of probably a million things like that for all of us. I know that I will be at Pecan Street in the fall doing early Christmas shopping and see something and think, "Kelsey would like that." Then I know it will hit me, and an open wound will be salted down. I know these things will happen. I can't stop them, all I can do is try to endure them. I really have to because I still have Marissa and your dad to think about.

Speaking of Marissa, I am really worried about her. I have to think you never would have left her on purpose. Know this: she loves you more than anything or anyone else in the world. She always did, even when your disease hurt her and distressed her. I think it was the same for all of us. The disease was hard to live with and we hated it, but we loved you. But she in particular never lost sight of the fact that you were in there somewhere, and she always believed that someday you would break free from it. I have to confess I wasn't always sure.

Your cat is horribly traumatized. Did you know the police took her to the animal shelter? I was mad about that initially, but there wasn't really any choice at the time, I now realize. It took a couple of days before we could get her back. She is upstairs now and gradually recovering as long as the dogs stay clear of her, but she came bounding down the stairs crying loudly last night when a friend of mine came calling whose voice is a bit likes yours. It was heartbreaking. Know that we will take very good care of her until we can find her a really good home. I don't think she would be happy with us permanently because I don't think she'll ever warm up to the dogs, but we'll keep her with us as long as it takes to make sure we find someone who will love her as much as you did.

I mainly wanted to tell you that planning your funeral meant going back through old pictures and skimming your books and music, and it made me reconnect a bit to the Kelsey who was my daughter. I had, if I am being really honest, lost site of that person. I saw Kelsey the Disease mostly this last year. But, I remembered who you really were over the last few days. I remembered how you mentored a learning challenged child in your elementary class without anyone asking it of you. I remembered you getting tossed out of a friend's house for cleaning his room (of course, I never forgot that one because I was upset with his mother). I remembered how when you were 9 or 10 we had to get gym shoes for you and you announced to me that you not consider Nikes because they used child labor. I remembered, painfully, I might add, how you held my head when I had morning sickness when I was pregnant with your sister. You gave me the biggest, warmest hug right before I went to the hospital to have her. I saw all these pictures of you with your cousins. You loved them, it was so obvious. That is who you really were.

There are so many things your dad and I will now never get to share with you. We'll never see you sell your first piece of art. Your dad will never walk you down the aisle. I will never get to return the favor and hold your head when you have morning sickness, and we will never hold your children in our arms. But, above all, we will never celebrate the day with you when you finally beat the bulimia. That, above all else, is something I will struggle with. I know we did not do enough for you, particularly this last hard year. I was so exhausted in so many ways, but that is a sorry excuse. I won't try to rationalize it, and there are no second chances here. I can't say more now, it is too much.

Honey, I love you. I am sure you doubted it at times. Please do not. I miss you so much.


No comments:

Post a Comment