Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th of July

Happy 4th of July to everyone.

It is a bit difficult for me, this weekend. I have such wonderful memories of the traditions that we have developed as a family, and treasured, as the children were growing up. This year, we have no "children;" instead, we have a delightful teenager. He is a joy, but he is no longer a little guy with a little sister.

In the past, we would have gone to Auntie Bernice's house on the 3rd of July, to have a buffet with aunts, uncles, cousins and friends, and to watch the Poulsbo fireworks over Liberty Bay. We did it last year, as Katie was struggling with increasing back pain, but was still glad to be with family and friends. Or we might gather at our house, and build a beach fire, as in these photos from 2006.

So many things have changed. Auntie Bernice passed away last year (shortly before Katie did), and her house is now being rented. We went over there last week to bring dinner to cousins Kim, Paul and Kristin while they were cleaning and preparing the house for the we were not able to gather there with family and friends for this year's 3rd of July festivities.
On the 4th of July, we used to go to Bainbridge Island for the "Grand Old Fourth" celebrations, including a parade, walking through town, seeing friends and "being seen," visiting, buying and eating "fair" food from the booths that line the street (sno cones, cotton candy, hot dogs, smoothies), admiring crafts and toys, paying at a booth so that the kids could "dunk" the waterpolo team, watching the kids go on the rides, and then coming home for fireworks at Grandma and Kappa's or at Maribeth and Alan's. Last year, David and Gregg set off the fireworks, as Katie was resting on the couch indoors. She just didn't feel well enough to participate. It is a very sad memory for me, but I can't help remembering it.

Last night, we had barbecued salmon & homegrown salad & strawberries at Grandma and Kappa's, and David and Gregg set off the fireworks that they had bought. It was fun to sit on the deck and watch David's enjoyment, as he set them off from the bulkhead or the dock, and ran back to watch them explode in the sky. It felt a bit empty, at the same time. Katie isn't here, and she should be here. I miss her. She has left a huge hole in our lives.

Today, we are skipping the fun on the Island, and I am ambivalent about missing it. I think it would be too sad to try it, and the boys don't want to go there. Tonight, we will gather with Grandma and Kappa, and with friends; we will have fun together, and be thankful for what we have. But Katie will still be somewhere else. I can't hug her or hold her or kiss her; I can't share her joy in the family holiday that this is supposed to be. I will do the best I can to not be a "downer." But today, it is hard.
I hope that you will hug and kiss those you love, tell them that you love them...and have a happy holiday with them.


Diane Walker: said...

No worry; you're not a downer. i think every celebration, for anyone of any age, is tinged with memories of earlier celebrations, of people no longer around to enjoy the pleasures of the day.

We had our annual Sandspit Parade today, as we always do on the Fourth (which is why you never see us at the Bainbridge parade). And all of us were sad because Dick Cole, the man who has always led our parade, dressed in a wig, stars and stripes pants, and pounding an ancient bass drum, passed away this year; it felt empty without Dick, who always had a smile for everyone and never uttered an unkind word.

But we celebrated FOR Dick, and somehow with him as well, and the occasion was actually richer for it because we were united in the sense of loss and eager to "do it right for Dick." And I think that each of us now feels a responsibility to carry on his legacy of kindness and generosity, where before we just let him do it.

Sorry. I didn't mean to ramble. Of course you miss Katie, and the days when the kids were little and easily entertained with face-painting and inflatable rides. It's okay to feel it, and I'm glad you say it: it's a gentle reminder to us all to appreciate the moments we're in.

Love you -

Karla W. said...

In your post I can realy feel your pain and it makes my heart ache. Send hugs your way, Karla

HappyWifeHappyLife said...

You and in my prayers, my dear. I know this Summer must be incredibly challenging for you.

Lean on God in your times of sorrow and ask him for his Peace.
And know Katie is safe and sound and surrounded by his Love.

Blessings and Love to you, Gregg and David. :-)

Laurie Keller said...

I too, hope for easier holidays down the road. I was very comforted by your honesty, again. I enjoyed seeing other photos of Katie. Posting those was a great way to acknowledge reality. When I cry one of the sentences that comes out more than any other is, "I just don't want it to be true". But it is and I will likely always have to work on the acceptance. Glad you trusted your vibes and did and did not do the things you couldn't. Thank you for your kind words about my post on the tough 2 year anniversary. So glad we are friends!

Stephanie said...

Thank you for your words. I was linked to your blog through an Autism blog. My son is ASD and my daughter Abby is a leukemia survivor. She was in a parade in our area on the 4th of July for kids who are surviving their cancers. My husband met a 14 year old girl who is fighting her inoperable brain cancer and I thought of your daughter after he told me. Her name is Mandy and my husband said she is a ray of positive thoughts which is so great. Seeing your daughter's pictures I'm sure she her light shown too. God Bless, Steph in MN

Jerry in Tampa said...

Love the images Karen! Thanks for sharing your family and good times!!!

Glad I found you - and I will be back:-))


Jerry in Tampa

HappyWifeHappyLife said...

Hey Karen - glad you were able to find the Steve Brown/Anne Lamott interview link - hope you enjoyed it! I love her as well. She is wonderful, wonderful, wonderful!!

Patty Grubb said...

it was so hard for us as well. missed her delight with all the traditions. Kelly always loved to plan and was insistent on keeping up with our family traditions - no slacking allowed! what a gift that was - to have all those memories of holidays past.
but this one hurts though we enjoyed our time together as "four" instead of five.
we did not shoot off fireworks this year - not allowed in the national park. felt a bit sad and guilty for the other two girls....
another day, another step forward to the time we can all be together with our precious Savior.
blessings to you Karen. love the pictures, love your writing from the heart.

suz said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and memories. I am sure a day, moment does not go by that you don't think of those you have lost. This is the biggest challenge for us, the ones who are living and have to go on without our loved ones. You are such an inspiration.
Blessings, Suz
I AM going to give my girls a big hug and kiss....

catperry said...

I have not been on for awhile, too many hard days lately. I wanted to let you know I was thinking of you and all the others missing our children on this holiday. For us it was always a family/friends day as well. Food, fun and kids loving the fireworks. Blessings and peace.

Smileygirl said...

WIshing there was a way to help take some of this pain away...

You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers, a lot.