Posts Tagged ‘17’

                It’s a bizarre feeling, really.  Today would be, nominally, the birthday of my 2nd son, Keegan (at least legally).  He was born on February 29, 1984, Leap Day.  I was 29 years old and turned 30 the following July.  Keegan died in 2001 at the age of 17, almost 13 years ago.  Today would be his 30th birthday.  It seems odd to me.  I was almost 30 when he was born.  He would be 30 now, but in my brain, he is forever 17, since that is how old he was when he died.  I only had him with me for 17 years, but he stamped a major impression on my heart from the get-go, and it won’t ever fade.


                Keegan, I miss you.  Everyone who knew you or has heard of you misses you.  I know your spirit is around, but I miss talking with you, laughing with you, seeing you, hugging you, hearing you.  I continue to celebrate your life as you wished.  Tonight Roy and I went out to dinner for your February 28th birthday.  At midnight, we will release balloons to you, since that is the instant of your birthday.  On your March 1st birthday, I’m scheduled to be in Tahoe with your sister, Kara; your soon-to-be brother-in-law, Alex; your sister’s best friend and Maid-of-Honor-To-Be, Katrina; and your step-father, Roy.  Two of them never met you in this life … but they know you.  We have made sure of it, just as you have.  Hopefully, we will all be cake-tasting for Kara and Alex’s upcoming 4th of July wedding, knowing how much you’d have loved doing the same thing.  We’ll be going out to dinner after while up in Tahoe.  We’ll drink a toast to you and laugh and miss you still.  This is all assuming the weather holds and it’s not snowing over Echo Summit of course.  Be nice to us, Baby Boy … we want good weather!  LOL

                Happy birthday, 2nd Baby Boy and my most favorite middle child!














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We all take different paths in life, but no matter where we go, we take a little of each other everywhere.



02-29-1984 (2:30 pm Pacific Standard Time)


05-30-2001 (5:47 am Pacific Daylight Time)


This week would have been my late son, Keegan’s, 29th birthday (or 7¼ years old, depending on how you look at it, since he was born on Leap Day).  I can’t believe it’s been that long since he was born, because he’s forever 17 in my mind.  Seventeen is how old he was when he died … and he died almost 12 years ago.  It seems like yesterday.  It seems like forever.


Keegan was born with Cystic Fibrosis.  I’ll describe that another time, but it’s a genetic disorder.  You can also look it up.  Keegan had a double lung transplant at the age of 16 at Stanford Hospital.  That was the best gift he ever received … the gift of life.  We are forever thankful to his donor family.


Right now … I’ll explain Keegan as a person, because he was truly an exceptional person.



Hmmmm … how do I explain Keegan?  Nothing can explain Keegan.  He was an entity and a force all on his own, with a will of iron, a desire to prove himself, and a personality that affected all of those around him.  He positively influenced people for the better more in his short 17 years of life than most people can in 100 years of life.  Even his newborn baby picture taken by the hospital showed how truly unique he could be.  I laughed till I cried when they sent this to us (since that was back before the instant digital picture).


WTF is THAT weird looking thing at the end of my arm?




Keegan loved life.  He loved to laugh.  He loved the absurdity of it all.  He played hard … he studied and worked hard in school … he was fiercely independent … and he was very proud of his brother, Logan, and his sister, Kara.  He fought to live life all the way to the end.  He was never a quitter.


So … what can we do to terrorize Mom today?



Keegan loved his 6 cats, Meower, Tabu, Bandit, Spike, Chewie, and Ewok, with a passion.  He loved Star Trek, Survivor, Taz, rollercoasters, and the music of the 60’s and 70’s … or music made famous by Dr. Demento and Weird Al Yankovic.  He wanted to graduate from Foothill High School in Pleasanton, CA, in the year 2002, along with the rest of his class, and he wanted to go to the University of Southern California, as had his maternal grandparents and his cousin, Chris, to study to be a lawyer.  He liked to tease his sister and his cousin, Allyson, about their “floofy hair”.  His family and his friends were his life.  He was, as are all my children, one of my best friends.


 Can your hair BE any floofier on this cruise?



Nevertheless, I think that one of the best ways to describe my beloved 2nd child is in the words of some of his friends that emailed me a year ago on his “real” birthday, since it was a Leap Year last year.


Happy birthday Keegan. Technically, you’d be 28 today, but because you were a leap-year baby I’d be giving you a “Happy 7th Birthday!” card if you were still with us. Because we were in high school when you left this world, you’ll always be immortalized in my heart as the crazy green-haired kid under the tarp with our gaggle of friends, in the pouring rain, at the Santana concert… the “passenger” when we got kicked out of Walmart for “shopping cart racing” …and the kid with the “hot date” (aka your oxygen tank) when we played “Chinese Fire Drill” at the Fairgrounds’ drive-thru Christmas light show. You never missed a pre-dance dinner, even when your condition was too fragile to attend the actual school dances with us. You never burned me a mix CD without slipping the Mortal Combat theme song in there for no apparent reason. I still crack up when I hear that song. Thank you for all the awesome memories, and all the other stuff happening today that I’m going to credit to you. Let’s start with free pancakes today at Ihop. That totally sounds like your doing! Bizaar weather changes? Your mom is right: It’s all you, buddy! If Mortal Combat comes on over the radio today, I’ll send you a Twinkie offering via the microwave… which actually sounds like a pretty awesome thing to do anyway… Great. Now I have to call the radio station and make a request that’ll make me sound crazy. Thanks Keegan, you did it again! Miss you buddy!!


Dear Keegan, I would like to take this moment to thank you for being in my life. Impacting my views of friends and showing me that awesome people come in amazing packages. And for as far as I can tell starting my love affair with Pisces. Just wanted to let you know you will always be missed and thought of often and fondly. ❤


Happy Birthday Keegan. You were one of, if not, my best and dearest friend in middle and high school. We shared so many memories and good times. I truly am a better person for knowing you. I happened to find an essay that I wrote about you in high school today and I will always remember your faith, love and respect. God Bless you my dear friend. Can’t wait to see you again someday – you better be waiting for me by the gates because I will be looking for you. I love you.


… a former teacher wrote:  I sang to him. ❤


… a former teacher wrote: Even my students knew what day it was.  Amazing, the power an exceptional human being has to touch people forever.  Magic.


… a former teacher wrote:  I could not agree more.  Keegan did more in his few years than most of us ever hope to do in 80.  The fact that his birthday is a most unusual date was simply an early message of the legacy he would create.


As his mother, I sing to him every year.  I bake a cake for him every year (FunFetti because he loved that kind of cake).  He was born by emergency c-section on Leap Day, 1984.  Like I said in a prior blogpost earlier in the month, he was due on Valentine’s Day … but I knew by the way he felt during my pregnancy that it would either be Ground Hog’s Day or Leap Day.

It was truly Leap Day … and it wasn’t even planned that way.

He was and still is an exceptional and very old soul.  His spirit is an amazing force.

Celebrate the life he lived.  His wish is that we not be sad and somber for him, because, as he told us a long time ago, “If you’re sad, you aren’t being sad for me, you’re just being sad for yourselves because I’m off enjoying my new self.” 

Even when he died, he didn’t want a sad somber funeral or memorial service.  He wanted us to have something he would have enjoyed going to and to remember him as he was … full of joy and full of life and full of his own wicked sense of humor.

Celebrate Me

By Max, The Poet

Remember the good we shared,
In all you do.  Celebrate me!
Remember how I taught you things,
Like what our lives are meant to be.

Smile for me when you’re feeling blue.
Think only of joy when thoughts of me enter in.
Do not cry for me.
A new chapter in my life, do I begin.

I am certain that I’ll miss you.
Sure as snow upon the mountain,
My love for you will not end.
It pours forth from my heart’s fountain.

So, as you mourn, and begin to heal,
Remember always: it is you I adore.
Forever and ever, I am at peace.
Celebrate me, once more!


Keegan’s maternal grandfather used to tell us to “play the cards you’re dealt in life; enjoy the game while you’re in, and never ever ever fold.”  Keegan exemplified this spirit all the way to the end. 

Keegan’s desire to do everything on his own, even when he needed assistance, exemplified that.  I remember that, even when he was 2 years old and having difficulty dressing himself, he would shout “SELF!!!” when someone (generally me) tried to help him.  He’d make his entire body stiff as a board so that no one could help and so that he could do it on his own. 

Keegan definitely played the cards dealt in life all the way to the bitter end.  His Grampa Glenn and I continue to be proud of that fighter’s will, even with Grampa Glenn (my father) as well as Keegan both long-deceased from this life.

One of Keegan’s biggest fears was that he’d be forgotten after his death. 

Keegan, we will never forget you (how could we forget that goofy grin and giggle of yours as well as your multi-colored hair), and we will always love you.


Hmmmm … what weird color can I make my hair next?



Keegan, we again celebrate your joy in life and your will to live.  You even changed the life of Roy, who never had the pleasure of meeting you.  He is influenced by your strong presence and spirit.  Your joy and your will carry on.


I think, laddie, that I’ll do a jig for you now.





This is the memorial scholarship fund in his name.  It will be changing focus this year to a slightly broader base, but this will give you the idea of what he was like.


I will miss you forever and always, baby boy … and I will miss your gravelly voice, your deep guttural laugh, and your million dollar smile.


Ok, Mickey, let’s get this boat moving now. 








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Ok, ladies & gentlemen, boys & girls … tomorrow and Friday are Keegan’s birthday. Yes, he has 2 days in a non-Leap Year, since he doesn’t have a *real* birthday those years. (Well, actually he has 3 but I’ll explain *that* one on March 19.)

So … anyway … with that … you’ll be treated to my ups-n-downs, since I will forever and always grieve the loss of my 2nd child. Because of that, there will be many birthday blogposts.

I expect his friends and family to read them at some point … and if you didn’t know him, well, you should have … so read my posts no matter what to know his marvelous old soul.

Therefore, in advance, I offer the following:

“Sunny days seem to hurt the most. I wear the pain like a heavy coat. I feel you everywhere I go. I see your smile. I see your face. I hear you laughin’ in the rain. I still can’t believe you’re gone. It ain’t fair you died too young like a story that had just begun but death tore the pages all away. God knows how I miss you, all the hell that I’ve been through just knowin’ no one could take your place. Sometimes I wonder who you’d be today. Would you see the world? Would you chase your dreams, settle down with a family? I wonder what would you name your babies? Some days the sky’s so blue I feel like I can talk to you. I know it might sound crazy. It ain’t fair you died too young like a story that had just begun but death tore the pages all away. God knows how I miss you, all the hell that I’ve been through just knowin’ no one could take your place. Sometimes I wonder who you’d be today. Sunny days seem to hurt the most. I wear the pain like a heavy coat. The only thing that gives me hope is I know I’ll see you again some day.” Kenny Chesney

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