This is a follow up story to Shannon’s on going grief journey. To read the full back story please click here.
“I’ve noticed in these last weeks, all I can do is just breathe. We can’t go back to change the events that have led us here and we have no magic eight ball to predict the future. Well, we could try but ‘don’t count on it.’ I find myself living in only the present and it’s a place I’ve never been. I have always planned for future holidays, upcoming events, and looking at the planner at the month instead of living day by day, or in my case moment by moment. The future seems to be where my mind was consumed. Now I find myself content in just breathing and being present, that’s all I am really capable of.
This weekend was a big weekend for us as a family. We ventured out from behind our grieving hearts and tired eyes to live a little. My husband and I went out for a night together to hang with friends and enjoy each other’s company, just the two of us. I went from being happy to be there to ready to break down in tears in a matter of seconds. The instant someone or something reminded me of her, I was ready to lose my sh*t.
Let’s face it, everything reminds me of her, and I don’t want to change that. I want to keep those thoughts and memories coming, however in these moments, I must tell myself, ‘Just breathe.’ I take a deep breath, a sip of my wine and scan the room, my husband standing there smiling and laughing, friends surrounding us, great music from a great band and good wine. It’s at this point, I realize I have much to be thankful for and suddenly I’m back living in the moment.
Saturday, we woke up and went to brunch, which is my favorite. At first, I didn’t want to go. I woke up and had my Kinsley moment and I just wanted to stay in my bed. Kinsley always came to brunch with us. Laying there in bed, wiping tears from my face, my husband convinced me to go to brunch with a good spicy bloody mary and sausage gravy. It was a chilly morning and when we walked into the restaurant, I noticed there was a fire was going. It immediately made me feel good. We were all sitting at the table, laughing at Ford. I found myself again just breathing and enjoying those little moments. It is those moments I am most thankful for and look forward to. The day seems to be connected by a bunch of those little moments. The small things that make us smile, even though those smiles are tinged with pain.
Sunday was a busy exhausting day, a day I wasn’t sure I was up for. We took the girls and Ford to the St. Patrick’s Day parade in downtown Annapolis. I got them all dressed in their green and we headed that way. It’s always this bittersweet feeling like a pit in my stomach with partial joy in my heart. In the chaos and noise of the parade, I took a deep breath as I watched my girls smiling and laughing. Ava, of course, looked at my necklace and asked if she could see Kinsley. I leaned down to let her look through the necklace and whispered, ‘See, she is here too.’ The girls find comfort in talking about Kinsley and I love it. We love to tell her stories.
Later that afternoon, we were eating at a restaurant on the water with all our friends and their families. I stood at the picnic table when a wave of tears came flooding as I watched our kids on the playground overlooking the water, the warm sun beating down on my back, with the cool breeze on my face, remembering the last time we were here was with Kinsley. I could just picture her, playing and taking care of her baby brother.
Ava came from the playground, upset another little girl called her stupid. Emmry said, ‘Where’s Kinsley when we need her?’ Ava replied with, ‘Yeah, Kinsley always stood up for me.’ That is exactly right, yes, she did. She would have handled that without even telling us. We all giggled, and at that moment, I took a breath. While it was sad, I was so grateful. I was grateful for the memories of her and the time we did have with her. I was happy our girls will always remember her and will always talk about her. I appreciate the laughs and smiles Kinsley still brings us. When you are thankful, it is hard to be sad at the same time.
Driving home that evening, the sun was setting and it was the most beautiful sunset I think I have seen. It was purple and red, looked like watercolors painted the sky. It was breathtakingly gorgeous. I have noticed sunsets before, picturesque views of the water but they feel different now. Everything does. I rode in silence, with tears in my eyes, looking at the sunset, reminiscing on events of the weekend, my superstar angel and all I could do was ‘just breathe.’
We cannot change what was. We certainly are not guaranteed tomorrow, but what we do have is something better: it’s right now. Just breathe, take it all in and enjoy those moments.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Shannon Sandvik. Follow her journey on her website here and Instagram here. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
Read more stories from Shannon here:
‘Her eyes looked up at me in panic. ‘Mommy, it’s blood.’ We were just in the ER and everything said she was fine. My stomach about hit the floor.’: Family says goodbye to their ‘forever Valentine’ after battle with flu
‘We were at dinner when I said, ‘Hell, give me another drink. I may take up smoking too.’ Kinsley was as healthy as a horse and in a week span, she was dead.’: Mom loses daughter unexpectedly to flu
‘She constantly pissed us off. Lord, did she stir up drama. Now, I’m pissed there will always be an empty seat. The family dynamic has been rocked.’: Mom continues to make memories after daughter’s passing, ‘We are going to find something to smile about’
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