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Posts Tagged ‘life challenges’

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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It doesn’t matter how old someone is or how long a true “daddy” has been dead.  Today would be my father’s birthday.  I still miss him and I always will. 

I was an awkward gangly smart-mouthed little girl.  I was tall (actually … lol … I still am), skinny, red haired, fair skinned, and freckled.  I have worn glasses or contacts since I was 7 years old.  I was too smart for my own good and didn’t fit in with any particular crowd.  He always encouraged me to be who I was at my core and loved the fire in my soul.  Most definitely not everyone liked it, and it frustrated and angered him at times, but he never wanted to squelch it.  He celebrated me.  This is how he would have described me …

Nevertheless my daddy always made me feel beautiful … even when my sharp tongue got the better of me. 

I know I am incredibly blessed to have had a daddy like him.   Not everyone is so fortunate and I am sorry for that.  He taught me to be a strong lady that could handle and withstand anything life threw at me. 

Daddy, I miss you.  I always will.  Go fishing 🎣 with Grandpa and Keegan up in heaven today to celebrate 🎉 your birthday 🎂.  

❤️

Glenn B Crowley

8.25.1924

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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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*~*~*

I do not know who drew this, but I saw it on my FaceBook feed this morning from one of my friends who has children that have died.  I cried while on the early morning commuter bus.  It touched me to my soul.  Every time I look at it, I get teary.  It was posted with the poem below.  It sums up what I tell people a lot with regards to my beloved son, Keegan, and his death.  Do not judge.  Unless you’ve been there … and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone … you don’t understand … and I hope you never have to understand.

*~*~*

DO NOT JUDGE

Do not judge the bereaved mother.

She comes in many forms.

She is breathing, but she is dying.

She may look young, but inside she has become ancient.

She smiles, but her heart sobs.

She walks, she talks, she cooks, she cleans, she works, she is

… but she IS NOT …

… all at once.

She is here, but part of her is elsewhere for eternity.

Author Unknown

*~*~*

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“… she comes out of the sun in a silk dress running like a watercolor in the rain.  Don’t bother asking for explanation.  She’ll just tell you she came from the Year of the Cat.  She doesn’t give you time for questions as she locks up your arm in hers, and you follow till your sense of which direction completely disappears.  …  These days, she says, I feel my life just like a river running through.  The Year of the Cat.”

YEAR OF THE CAT; Al Stewart

 

It’s my birthday today (July 22, 2015).  I look at my age and wonder how I got to be this old … but then I have enjoyed every single one of the years and would never take a “do-over” as my kids used to want to do with games.  The age I am theoretically … at least chronologically … seems unreal, because I certainly don’t feel like I have always thought someone this age is supposed to feel.  However, I then think of everything that I have seen, done, endured, and enjoyed … and quite honestly, it’s amazing that so much has occurred in such a short time frame too.  (Some of it amazes me that I survived to live another day … but that’s a whole different issue and discussion.)

 

I have always made the best of every situation that I’m in … and I always will … and I will play the cards I’m dealt in life … enjoy the game while I’m in … and never ever EVER fold … just like my daddy raised me to do.

 

… so yes … my life is just like a river running through … and with my love of my cats … I probably did come from the Year of the Cat …

 

 

“Years go falling in the fading light.  Time passages.  …  Well, I’m not the kind to live in the past.  The years run too short, and the days too fast.”

TIME PASSAGES; Al Stewart

 

 

 

 

Happy birthday to me!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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There are times that I am sick and tired of being sick and tired of being sick and tired of being the “strong one”.  Can I handle a lot and get through life’s challenges?  You betcha!  I’ve been through things that would drag a lot of people to their knees … if not lay them out flat.  I’ve seen things and heard things that most people won’t … but that’s ok … since I also know that I have a far better life than a lot of people around the world do.  I also know that, no matter what, I’ll make it through whatever life throws my way.  It comes down to my father’s teaching of “play the cards you’re dealt in life, Jill; enjoy the life you’re given; and don’t ever EVER fold”.

 

I do, however, get very tired of “friends” and “family” assuming that I can handle anything, that I’ll be ok with whatever the issue is, and that I’ll be there no matter what for them.  For the most part, that is true, and I guess that’s a back-handed compliment … but please … just because I’m outwardly strong doesn’t mean I can take whatever is dished out at me and be fine with it.  Just because I’m outwardly strong doesn’t mean I don’t have feelings and hurts and needs and desires like others.  Those people who are outwardly strong are sometimes hiding their own emotions so that others won’t see them and be hurt by them or have to deal with them … or they’ve learned to handle their fears and their challenges on a day-to-day basis, making it so that when something bigger comes along, they know that they can and will tackle it too.

 

What I’m saying may not be clear to those that just see a strong front and think all is good.  However, those that are “strong” understand.  Remember … those that carry on in the face of all odds … those that handle the burdens of life … those that say “don’t worry about it; I’m fine; whatever” … those that are always there for you … could also use some care on occasion.  They could use their feelings and emotions being acknowledged.  Don’t spend all your time catering to the ones that aren’t like that, assuming that the strong one that is always there for you no matter what … always will be … or always will like what you say and/or do to them … or always really will tell you what they think and feel about something personal to them.  Don’t assume that even if the strong one says they’re fine and they aren’t hurting that this is truly the case.  Don’t assume that those that aren’t as strong need all of the special treatment and all of the special dispensations … because … well … because they “aren’t strong like the other person is”.  Don’t just cater to those with the feel-good attitude and/or the financial backing if the “strong one” only provides emotional support.  Guess what?  At the end of the day, emotional support is worth FAR MORE than happy attitude, keeping the peace with the “not strong” one, and financial backing.

 

The picture below sums it up completely.  I have been told I am the “strong one” since I was little.  Roy has been also.  While that’s all well and good and has gotten us through numerous issues alone as well as together, we both know that ONLY the other one has EVER understood how much the other one hurts when our strength is used and abused by others that should know better.  Actions, deeds, and TRUE support for the “strong one” is worth more than those that are fortunate to have someone like that around them generally understand … because … well … hey … they’re the “strong one” … and they can handle it.

 

… or can they???????

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On this Christmas Eve, 2014, 13½ years since you died, I miss you as much if not more than ever. I wish you were here to help your brother. I wish you were here to see how wonderfully your baby sister is doing. I wish you could have met your sister’s husband, Alex. You’d have hit it off well with him, I’m quite sure. I wish you were here to have met Roy. You’d have both teased and harassed each other mercilessly. I wish you were here to have enjoyed Placerville like I do. I wish you were here to have gone to college like you wanted to do. I wish you were here to have had your own life work and calling, your own children if you so chose, your own life. I wish you were here to see that I have done ok with myself.

I miss you, Keegan. Whoever said “time heals” was wrong. Perhaps it gets different but it never truly heals. I’ve said before that it’s like losing an arm or a leg. Part of me is missing. I have learned to get by without it, but I’m still without and I still want it as part of who I am and it still gives me pain that it’s not there.

I’m just writing this to tell you as you watch me and visit me spiritually (and I can sense you around), that I still love you with all of my heart. You are forever one of my babies and forever in my heart. I was blessed to have you in my life physically for the 17 years I did. I just wish it were longer.

This year I will be enjoying a “Christmas Buffet” with friends at Smith Flat House. You’d have liked where we are going and with whom we will be. I know you will visit Roy and me in spirit as we both sense you around often already and you will also travel to visit your brother and your sister and her wonderful husband where they are on this Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I wish we could all be together, but life goes on and changes with time. Celebrate in Heaven! We’ll all be with you again in the future.

Each and every person that knows you … whether they knew you in this life physically or just spiritually or both … misses you.

Merry Christmas, Keegan.

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