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Posts Tagged ‘Leap Day’

17 years

Amazing …

It’s been 17 long yet short years that my then 17 year old middle child died at dawn on May 30. He has been gone as long as he was alive.

People have come and gone, yet he lives on in the hearts, minds, and souls of many.

I will forever and always miss him. My heart will ache for 17 years times 17 years times infinity.

Keegan, your spirit lives on.

17 years

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Today would be Keegan’s “fake birthday” as he used to call it. He’s my Leap Day Baby, so there’s not a “real birthday” this year.  Since he only had those every 4 years, on the off years, he swore that his birthday was on both February 28th and March 1st.  Ok … he had that sort of personality … so I’ll go with it.  He had a particular love for Dr. Demento songs.  So while I don’t think this is included in any of the Dr. Demento collections and I know that he never heard it since he’d died before it came out, every time I hear it, I know he’d have laughed uproariously at it … and loved it.  So … my Leap Day baby boy … I dedicate the song “Banana Man” by Tally Hall to you.

I challenge you to find it on YouTube. It makes me laugh every single solitary time I hear it.

I miss you, baby boy!

Keegan Crowley Wahler

2.29.1984 to 5.30.2001

WTF

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… dedicated to my baby boy, my late son, my Keegan … on his “fake” birthday since this isn’t a Leap Year and his “real” birthday … 

“Lucky I’m sane after all I’ve been through. (Everybody say I’m cool.) (He cool.) I can’t complain but sometimes I still do. Life’s been good to me so far.” Joe Walsh

#birthday #birthdaycelebration #keegan #leapdaybaby #love #cysticfibrosis #cf #justbreathe #cfsucks

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It’s funny. Well, it’s not “ha ha funny”. It’s a “this is uniquely weird” kind of funny. My middle child was born on Leap Day. He, as I’ve said before, had Cystic Fibrosis … and a double lung transplant … and a spirit & personality that was bigger than life. He was definitely what people would call an “old soul” and he touched more lives in his short 17 year life than most do in 80 – 90 years. I love him more than I can put into words, as I do all of my amazing children.

Anyway, he always had a way of making himself known and making someone to either be irate or laugh till they cried. The other day was apparently “National Wear Two Different Shoes Day”. I swear they did this in his memory because he used to do that just to see who would notice (amazingly very few did). Yesterday was “May the Fourth Be With You Day”. He’d have been all over that and probably would have showed up at work as a Storm Trooper. Today is Cinco De Mayo … and he’d have been eating chips and salsa, drinking beer, and making all the jokes about it. 


He dearly loved his kitty cats too. 

What’s ironic … he was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis at 2 months of age 32 years ago TODAY … on Cinco De Mayo.  He always had a knack for hitting odd holidays, being born on Leap Day, being called for transplant on St Patrick’s Day … among MANY other similar incidences.
I guess it shouldn’t surprise me that there was a CF fundraiser last night in our hometown on “May the Fourth Be With You Day” … complete with Storm Troopers in attendance.

There are no coincidences in my not-so-humble opinion. 

Damn, I miss you, Keegan. 

*~*~*

“Tears In Heaven”

Eric Clapton

Would you know my name

If I saw you in heaven?

Would it be the same

If I saw you in heaven?

I must be strong

And carry on,

‘Cause I know I don’t belong

Here in heaven.

Would you hold my hand

If I saw you in heaven?

Would you help me stand

If I saw you in heaven?

I’ll find my way

Through night and day,

‘Cause I know I just can’t stay

Here in heaven.

Time can bring you down,

Time can bend your knees.

Time can break your heart,

Have you begging please, begging please.

Beyond the door,

There’s peace, I’m sure,

And I know there’ll be no more

Tears in heaven.

Would you know my name

If I saw you in heaven?

Would it be the same

If I saw you in heaven?

I must be strong

And carry on,

‘Cause I know I don’t belong

Here in heaven.

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My middle child was born on February 29, 1984 (yes, Leap Day).  I know I’ve stated that in prior blogposts, but this year it’s particularly of import to me anyway, because he’d actually have a “real” birthday.  He was one of the select few with that special day as his birthday.  I remember it well also.  He was born by emergency C-section, but he was a beautiful full-term baby.  We didn’t know what awaited us though with his health.  As I’ve stated before, he died on May 30, 2001 from complications of Cystic Fibrosis (CF) a year after a successful double lung transplant at Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA.  The fact that he had CF was a 1 in 4 chance for each child his father and I conceived.  We didn’t know that we carried that gene at the time, because it couldn’t be tested in advance then and it had never appeared in our family.  However, our beautiful 1 in 4 child was born on a day that happens only every 1 in 4 years.  Anyway, he had Cystic Fibrosis, something children that can’t pronounce it have called “65 Roses” over the years.

*~*~*

 

February 2001

 

 

*~*~*

 

 

65 Roses

The Wolverines

When I was just a small child, mama and daddy came to me.

They sat me down and told me of the flowers my sister received,

65 roses in yellow and red, made her so tired she had to stay in bed.

I just couldn’t believe the flowers my sister received

Made it so hard for her to breathe.

Why does she have 65 roses,

Must be her birthday today?

She must have been good to get 65 roses!

Why can’t she come out to play?

65 roses of yellow and red made her so tired she had to stay in bed.

I looked all around, but I couldn’t find

The 65 roses were on my mind.

When I’d grown up, I see that the only one thinking of roses was me,

And the reason that the 65 roses came

Was because I was too young to understand the name.

65 roses!

Cystic Fibrosis made her so tired she had to stay in bed.

65 roses!

Cystic Fibrosis!

I wish she had roses instead.

65 roses!

Cystic Fibrosis!

I wish that she could come out to play.

Life, one supposes, is no bed of roses.

I wish she had roses instead.

I wish she had roses instead.

65 roses.

Cystic Fibrosis.

 

 

*~*~*

 

 

August 1993

 

 

*~*~*

 

 

This post isn’t about all of that though.  I had to mention it however, because I found the song so amazing.  Also, Cystic Fibrosis (65 roses) was part of his life.

This post, however, is mainly about how he lived his life, albeit a short one.  He experienced more and touched more than most people do by the time they die at 80, 90, or 100 years of age.  He endured more pain than most anyone I know, but he enjoyed life to the absolute fullest.  He used to tell me that he didn’t want people to forget him and that he didn’t want them to think he just existed in life but that he truly lived life.  He absolutely abhorred the term “passed away” when referring to someone that has died.

“Mom!  That’s so demeaning.  It doesn’t even sound like they really lived.  They merely existed in life, and then they passed away and through.  Maybe some people live life that way, but when I’m gone, I want people to remember that I lived and that I then died.  I didn’t just exist.  I LIVED!”

This is why this song by OneRepublic is so appropriate to dedicate to him, not only because they have it dedicated to a fan of theirs that has Cystic Fibrosis, but also because, in his own words …

 

 

I LIVED

OneRepublic

Hope when you take that jump, you don’t fear the fall.

Hope when the water rises, you built a wall.

Hope when the crowd screams out, they’re screaming your name.

Hope if everybody runs, you choose to stay.

Hope that you fall in love, and it hurts so bad.

The only way you can know is give it all you have,

And I hope that you don’t suffer but take the pain.

Hope when the moment comes, you’ll say …

I did it all!

I did it all!

I owned every second that this world could give!

I saw so many places, the things that I did!

With every broken bone, I swear I lived!

Hope that you spend your days, but they all add up,

And when that sun goes down, hope you raise your cup!

Oh, I wish that I could witness all your joy and all your pain,

But until my moment comes, I’ll say:

I did it all!

I did it all!

I owned every second that this world could give!

I saw so many places, the things that I did!

With every broken bone, I swear I lived!

Oh with every broken bone, I swear I lived.

With every broken bone, I swear …

I did it all!

I did it all!

I owned every second that this world could give!

I saw so many places, the things that I did!

With every broken bone, I swear I lived life!

Oh I swear I lived!

 

 

 

*~*~*

 

 

 

February 2001

 

 

*~*~*

 

 

Ask his friends how he lived.  He lived it to the fullest.  Even at a camp held especially for transplant patients, he was all into the camp … and ended up with a broken bone in his ankle … but he lived … and he did it all.  He endured broken bones and a broken heart.  He experienced travelling to visit new places.  He never feared failing.  He owned every single solitary second that his God gave him, be it good or bad.  For that, he will forever be a role model and a hero to me.  If I could just be half as brave and daring as he was, I’ll know that I did life proud.

So on what would be his 8th “real birthday” … or the 32nd year since he was born … I’ll also offer this from one of Celine Dion’s hits … one of the ones that make me remember him so dearly, as he had said once that this made him think of me, how I worked to get the health care he deserved, and how he wanted to dedicate it to me.  That made me cry, because, in my mind, it better describes what he and both of his siblings did (and continue to do) for me.  I am now who I am … because all 3 of my children loved me.

 
  

 

Because You Loved Me

​​​​-as written by Diane Warren

​​​​-as sung by Celine Dion

For all those times you stood by me,

For all the truth that you made me see,

For all the joy you brought to my life,

For all the wrong that you made right,

For every dream you made come true,

For all the love I found in you,

I’ll be forever thankful, baby.

You’re the one who held me up,

Never let me fall.

You’re the one who saw me through it all.

You were my strength when I was weak.

You were my voice when I couldn’t speak.

You were my eyes when I couldn’t see.

You saw the best there was in me,

Lifted me up when I couldn’t reach.

You gave me faith ‘cuz you believed.

I’m everything I am,

Because you loved me.

You gave me wings and made me fly.

You touched my hand. I could touch the sky.

I lost my faith. You gave it back to me.

You said no star was out of reach.

You stood by me and I stood tall.

I had your love.

I had it all.

I’m grateful for each day you gave me.

Maybe I don’t know that much,

But I know this much is true:

I was blessed, because I was loved by you

You were my strength when I was weak

You were my voice when I couldn’t speak

You were my eyes when I couldn’t see

You saw the best there was in me

Lifted me up when I couldn’t reach

You gave me faith ‘cuz you believed

I’m everything I am

Because you loved me

You were always there for me,

The tender wind that carried me,

A light in the dark, shining your love into my life.

You’ve been my inspiration.

Through the lies, you were the truth.

My world is a better place because of you.

You were my strength when I was weak.

You were my voice when I couldn’t speak.

You were my eyes when I couldn’t see.

You saw the best there was in me.

Lifted me up when I couldn’t reach,

You gave me faith ‘cuz you believed.

I’m everything I am,

Because you loved me.

I’m everything I am,

Because you loved me.

*~*~*

 

 

*~*~*

 

Happy birthday, Keegan!  I love you forever and always!

 

 

 

 

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Keegan

I wish I could know what you’d be like now.  I think about it a lot when I can sense your spirit nearby.  I wonder what you’d be doing now as your 31st birthday rolls through. 
It’s amazing to me that it’s been almost 14 years since you died.  I still have in my mind that crazy teenager with the larger than life personality, a fiery temper, and a heart of gold … the boy who couldn’t be quiet, even when I told you I’d pay you $10 if you lasted 10 minutes.  (You couldn’t.)  
I lost part of my heart and a chunk of my soul when you died.  I know I’ll see you again.  I know I was blessed to have you in my life as long as I did.  I also know I miss you still. 
So for your upcoming birthday weekend, I offer this because you were and are blessed … as am I for being allowed to be considered your mother, when, in reality, you blessed me more by being part of my life, if only for a short 17 years, than I feel I did yours. 
BLESSED
Elton John

Hey you, you’re a child in my head.
You haven’t walked yet.
Your first words have yet to be said,
But I swear you’ll be blessed.

I know you’re still just a dream.
Your eyes might be green
Or the bluest that I’ve ever seen.
Anyway, you’ll be blessed,
And you, you’ll be blessed.

You’ll have the best.
I promise you that.
I’ll pick a star from the sky.
Pull your name from a hat.
I promise you that, promise you that, promise you that
You’ll be blessed.

I need you before I’m too old
To have and to hold
To walk with you and watch you grow
And know that you’re blessed


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IMG_0889

 Keegan, I know that you always appreciated what you had, complained little, lived a lot, smiled enormously, and were thankful for the life you were given for as long as it was given to you.

It’s always tough month for me this time of year (May, that is). My heart splits open every May and tries to heal throughout the year. About the time I think I’m solid again, May rolls around, and my heart splits yet again. Each time it splits a different way, so the healing is haphazard and uneven and scarred, but it is a healing in its own way. However, I always do carry on and have an awesome life.

I’m sure some of my readers wonder what I am referring to, but those that know me already know where I’m going with this since they know that Keegan, my 2nd child, my child who died now 13 years ago, was born February 29, 1984 (yes, Leap Day). February is always a bittersweet month also. I’m thrilled to have had him the short time I did, but I hate that he isn’t still here. May is tough because he was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis on May 5, 1984, and he died on May 30, 2001.  This year it seems different though, perhaps because it’s been 13 years and he always felt 13 was his lucky number.

Having one child dead too young has already ripped up my heart. February and May are months particularly hard on me.  Keegan was a light to all that knew him. He was particularly a light to his brother and sister. We all lost a piece of our souls when he died.

His older brother has a different sort of temperament with an intelligence and intellectual light within him that is amazing at times. I have teased him and told him that he is my own personal Sheldon Cooper. Only those that have ever watched “The Big Bang Theory” will understand my reference.

His younger sister has a grace and a presence about her that draw people to her.  She has a love for people that is second to none and a drive to better herself more than most anyone else I know.

In any event, it would be a huge loss to the world should anything happen to either of them, as both have a sheer brilliance that can be mind-boggling at times. That coupled with their deep-seated loving and emotional natures are true gifts, but they both have their own challenges to face that often stymie me beyond belief.  As their mother, I wish I could make their lives easier, but I know that I can’t as we must all follow our own roads and paths and twists and turns that life provides us.  We are all accountable for what we ourselves do in life not only to ourselves but also to others.  It’s just part of the big picture.

In any event, because of all of that, I worry that another child of mine will die too young, and my heart will be ripped up even more.  I know that’s an irrational fear at times, but I fear the loss of their special light.  I dread the nightmares, the nightmares I still have from Keegan’s death, the nightmares that say … “what did you do wrong? what could you have done to stop it? why? how? what?” … even when I am well aware it isn’t my fault.

I guess no one other than another mother whose child has died can understand that grief and that pain and that heaviness and those nightmares. Even if I can’t control the life of my children like I could when they were little, and even if I don’t understand how they might feel about certain issues, I will always and forever love them and can’t fathom having another dead child. Even saying that term hurts me more than anyone can possibly imagine.

I know not everyone will understand this post, but perhaps this post is just for me.  That’s ok, as the main purpose of this blog is to help me and/or to help Roy, so if it does that in any particular post, that’s great.  Nevertheless … if it helps someone else along the way … that’s even better, as our goals in life include leaving the world a better place by helping at least one person better handle their own day-to-day issues.

You know what, though? I really and truly do want to make a difference in other people’s lives!  Therefore, it nearly destroys me inside to know that I can’t always help my own children, some of the people I most want to help. This is, of course, their own life to lead and I accept that.  I truly do.  I merely want them happy and fulfilled in life, doing what they find most rewarding.

Perhaps another person will realize with this that they cannot be everything to everybody ever and that some people must find their own way … even if they are like me … the type of person that wants to be in control of situations around them and to take away the hurt of those they love.  If even knowing that helps someone, then that’s a good thing.

I’d give my life for the people in my life I love the most … my spouse, my children, my family, my good friends

As a mother, though, I can feel ripped up inside, because I fear having another dead child. 

Today, on the 13th anniversary of Keegan’s death, I think I fear that more than I fear dying myself.   

 

 

 

 

 

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