Sunday, April 26, 2015


No matter what I do to try to reinvent my life, it's not going to make a difference. No career change, no reached goal, no amount of adventure or happiness is going to restore my world or bring back my girl. Feeling really sad about that today.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

There is pain, and there is PAIN

2013 Lake Tahoe without her...In spirit Kelci is always there.
A few weeks ago, I was in a yoga class and before it started, the "mat chat" somehow turned to child birth.  I listened a little, and one non-mom said, "I don't know if I could do it.  From what I understand it is the worst pain ever."

A few others responded in agreement that yes, they thought perhaps it was, and I spoke up and said, "for me, it wasn't bad."  I was greeted by astonished looks, and this lead me to awkwardly stumble for words as I tried to as gracefully as possible bow out of the conversation. I sat in silence until practice started thinking, No, childbirth is not the most painful experience ever. Not. Even. Close.

I wanted to speak up and say, "Having your child die, that's painful. A pain that indescribable to those who have not experienced it." But, I sat in silence.  The last thing I want to do is bring people down or sound condescending. How would they know, if they didn't know? There is no way they could. Until I knew, I had absolutely no idea exactly how painful it truly is to lose a child. NO IDEA.

I will not do it justice by trying to explain it, but I will tell you this, the pain brought on by the death of your child is horrendous. It is a physical pain as well as emotional pain. Real pain, that hurts, and at times has caused my heart, my head and many other body parts to ache. For me, it is always tag teamed with the emotional pain, which squeezes so tight that at the worst times it has literally taken my breath away. It often launches a surprise attack, reminding you of the moments of agony when it appeared.  There is absolutely nothing ever that you can take for it to make it go away.I know for certain that to some degree, the pain will always be with me. It is incurable, inescapable, ever present and terminal, and the way to survive it, is to do know it is what it is and become accustomed to it.

I've learned to control it, mask it and live rather fully with it, because for me there is no other choice. I've found a new new path to happiness in spite of it, and smiles and laughter shine though but don't dull it. Incurable pain is just like that.  I manage it well, like an amputee who has no other option but to find a way to live without a limb.

With childbirth there is pain, for sure, but with that pain comes great reward.  No, childbirth is not the most painful experience ever. Not. Even. Close. Living a life without that child is without doubt the most painful experience ever.

Saturday, January 17, 2015


Me and Kelci Ithaca, NY 2008
This is so hard to explain, but sometimes, out of the blue, the reality of losing Kelci hits me so hard again it stops me in tracks, leaving me breathless and struggling to grasp the truth.  I'm held in a time warp asking question after question. Is she really gone? Can this be possible? Is this really my life now, a life without her? How did I get here?  Have more than two and half years passed by without her here? How can someone who looks so alive in these pictures just be gone? 

Even after all this time, in these moments, I have to remind myself that yes, this is the truth, this is my reality. I am a mom whose child has died.  I will always be a mom who must live without her child.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

We made it through

In the final hours of Christmas 2014 I laid on the couch in the quiet of our family room and breathed a sigh of relief.  Christmas is not what it used to be before the accident. It's less planned, smaller, simpler.  My husband walked into the room, and I smiled.  As we hugged and said, "We made it through."

That is how Christmas is now. I'm not bah-humbug.  I try, but it is hard. It's hard to be festive when such a huge reason for our festiveness is now gone. For Kelci we do so much.  In her honor, we decorate her tree outside, we put up a tree inside. When it's not up yet, we joke about how mad she'd be if we didn't put it up.  Kelci's spirit pushes up to do things she loved to do.  She loved the holidays, the decorations, the presents.  We all did, but she was always the one who pushed to get things done if we weren't doing them yet.  She was the one who would bake the cookies if I was running behind, or run to the store for last minute things. She was the one who kept dad on track with shopping. She was our extra little push. It's hard now without our extra little push.

We all try to step up, but stepping up when you don't really have it in you is hard.  So, the tree got up, but it's smaller now, and my son and his girl friend have taken on the tradition of getting it. Presents are bought, but not as many.  It was always hard to shop; it's much harder now. The cookies, well some, a few, OK one batch, got baked, but not until 2 days after Christmas, and that's OK.  We do what we can do.
Maybe time will change things.  Maybe it won't.  What I've realized is that no matter what we do, as long as we keep trying to do something, it is enough for us.  We laughed. We cried.  We were together.  We decorated.  We celebrated.  It's much different now, but for now that is more than enough.  We made it through. 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Painting by Kelci circa 1st grade
The others (those who haven't lost a child) can't completely understand this new life I live no matter how kind and empathetic they are. How could they?  How could I before this loss.  You might think you know, but you don't know.

Hollow words.  "I can't imagine." No, you couldn't.  I beg you don't even try.

Mostly I'm OK. I live my life as fully as I can. I try very hard.  This.  This is HARD.  It never gets easy.  I will have to do this every single day. I know happiness comes from within though, so I fight hard every day.

My heart is filled with love, but always mixed with a touch of sadness. It is just the way it is.  Losing a child brings an emptiness that doesn't fill.  You can survive, even thrive, but the challenge of living your life without your child becomes the way you live. The others could never really understand this. Not fully anyway.  I am a different person, and forever will be, no matter what it looks like to others.
This is just how it is for me. For the most part, I've excepted this, there is no other choice.

Wake up.
Pray for peace and happiness to
 fill my heart.
Hope this takes away 
some of the emptiness and sadness.
Get up.  
See reminders everywhere.
Live. Laugh. Love.
Remind yourself you promised.
You must do this.
Live fully.
She only started to get that chance.
Wake up.
Pray for peace.
Wake up.
Find happiness despite all that was lost.
Get up.
You have life.
Wake up.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

A Diffucult Year Two So Far

Artwork by Kelci Gibbons
Nearly a year and a half into this nightmare and we're still standing. As predicted, some days are easier than others, but I can honestly say that the ache of losing Kelci never goes away, nor do I expect that it ever will.

The best way I can describe it so others can who aren't living it can somewhat understand is to compare it to a toothache (hardly the same, but you'll see the point).  It is a non-ending pain that can be dulled with medicine, might not ache all the time, but can come back with full force when you least expect it.  It's a volcano simmering under the surface that you just never know when it will erupt. At least with a toothache there are ways to fix it, with this, we have none.

This year, the holidays have brought the ache back full force.  It's hard finding Christmas Spirit this year when all I want to do is crawl into bed and sleep and hope you wake up when the holidays are over. It's not a good attitude to have, and I know it, so I'm trying very hard to change it.  I feel like I'm wearing a mask though, but faking it 'til I'm making it might be better than the alternative (giving in to the despair).

I read that the second year after losing your child is often harder than the first year, at the time I read it I wasn't sure I believed it.  I was in so much pain that I didn't think it could get worse.  The levels and layers of grief often surprise me. Yes, there are days that it gets worse, even years after. 

In my case, and I'm sure this is common, I think I was so numb last year and trying so desperately to make everything OK for all those suffering around me that I dug in deep and refused to allow the holidays to bad.  I had so much support, came up with the idea of the Peace Tree, and was focused and determined to make it happen.  This year, I just don't feel the same. I'm not going to give in to despair, but I don't have the same determination this year like I did last year and it's a much harder struggle.

The first year,  we were so in shock and numb that we floated through most of it.  Even now, looking back, much of it is fuzzy and dreamlike.  I find myself wondering if it really happened, and often question how I did it. I wish I could pinpoint it, so I could draw on that strength again this year.  So much is different.

I did put the Peace Tree up again, and as I was decorating it and reflecting on each ornament that was sent last year with so much love, I did feel peace and comfort and really thought that it would be enough to pull me through again.  For whatever reason, it isn't.  I hesitate to write this here, because I certainly don't want to offend anyone or seem ungrateful (because I truly am), but I feel the difference last year, compared to this one was coming home each day through the season and finding new ornaments for the tree.  It was so uplifting, and kept us occupied and gave us something to look forward to as Christmas neared.  This year, once I put the peace tree up, it was done, and with that I came the feelings (right or wrong) that others got to go on with their lives, but we were still, and would forever be here.  Every Christmas for the rest of our lives is going to be a Christmas without Kelci.  That's our reality, and to be frank, that reality sucks.

I don't like feeling this way, but I do.  I'll push through though, because I have to, because I know it is the better thing to do.  I'll crawl into my bed, and I'll cry for awhile, but I'll get up, put on a happy face and continue to find things to make me smile and to remember that finding Christmas Spirit and inner peace are links to connection and communication with my beautiful girl. 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Wave of Grief

No matter how "good" I handle things, not matter how many good moments there are, the pain can hit at any moment and it hurts just as much as it did the moment I found out.  This pain never leaves, it only hides.