‘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

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This is a follow up story to Shannon’s on going grief journey. To read the full back story please click here.

“I must first put a warning label on this post. I don’t care about your opinion on this matter. Just like a*sholes, we all have one and this is mine for the time being.

I was raised Catholic, went to church every Sunday, went to Sunday school, did my communion, and my confirmation. Life got busy and church every Sunday turned to church on holidays like Easter and Christmas Eve. When I became older, I started to have an opinion on the sermons and the so-called ‘rules’ of the church. Growing up, we were taught God doesn’t judge and to accept all people and love thy neighbor. But not everyone who came to church could do communion, and you can’t come to church with your same-sex partner. As a college student trying to navigate who I was becoming, that sounded pretty hypocritical. I just stopped going.

I talk to God often, pray over my blessings, and ask him to help me through times like these, even though I do not attend a service every Sunday. I do believe in a higher power and I believe Kinsley is somewhere in Heaven, looking down on us, peaceful and content. Maybe with countless dessert or Hershey kisses, playing soccer with friends, endless shopping for trinkets and junk, fashion shows, and Sunday evening dance parties on the kitchen counter — whatever makes her happy is where I believe Kinsley is.

We were at dinner last night and a conversation came up about drinking and if I wanted another drink. Of course, I was happily drinking my margarita and said, ‘Hell, give me another. You know what, I may take up smoking too.’

Of course, I was kidding but they all looked at me like I was crazy because I don’t smoke and find it disgusting. However if I didn’t find it disgusting and wanted to, my thought process now is much different than it used to be.

My explanation was Kinsley was as healthy as a horse, the healthiest child we had in this house, and in a week span, she was dead.

She had a six-pack of abs, could climb the rope to the top in gym class and run up the wall on the ninja warrior course most adults couldn’t do. She ate salad from Chick-Fil-a. Who gets a damn salad when they go to Chick-Fil-a? She ate everything Jordan and I made, even vegetables. She was the epitome of a healthy, strong ass kid. I guess in the last few weeks trying to figure out why, I realized there was no amount of science that could save her. But why her?

I replayed every second leading up to her death. Did she pick up something at the Caps game that Tuesday? Maybe I shouldn’t have let them go.

I had to stop myself because there are videos, facetime phone calls, text messages, and photos of her truly living her best life. She had a blast and there’s no way I would have not let her go.

There are drug addicts who overdose and science can intervene to bring them back. There are healthy athletes who drop dead unexpectedly. There are those who smoke a pack a day, drink a handle of vodka a day, and live until their 90. Why?

My only explanation right now is when it’s your time to go, it’s your time to go. No science or medicine can alter that predetermination.

It was Kinsley’s time and I think Kinsley figured out life here way before any of us, in her 8 short years on this earth. Everyone needs to walk away from this living like Kinsley.

So my takeaway from this is if you want to drink, drink.

If you want to smoke, do it.

If you want to eat that dessert after dinner, enjoy it.

If you want to eat healthy, more power to you.

If you like going to the gym, then go.

If you don’t like going to the gym, then don’t.

If you want to jump out of a plane, have fun.

And if you want to visit China, I’d wait a while, then go.

The point is, just do it, eat the damn cake, smoke the blunt, travel, find something to laugh about. Tell the people who mean the most to you that you love them every day. Tell the people you don’t care for exactly what you are thinking and to f@*$ off. Lastly, dance when music is playing because there is no telling when it will be your time to go. When I go out, it will be because I truly lived like Kinsley Reese!”

Courtesy Shannon Sandvik

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

‘I watched him bury his head in his hands and sob. ‘I’m not going anywhere, I need you. The kids need us.’ He grabbed my face. ‘We are going to make it.’: After losing daughter to flu woman says ‘I only thought I loved him before’

‘She is always with you.’ There I was, burying my daughter, picking out the perfect casket. ‘No, she’s not f#$King here, is she?’: Mom mourns loss of daughter to flu, ‘In 20 years I will still be thinking about my baby girl’

‘Kinsley always stood up for me.’ Ava came from the playground, upset another little girl called her stupid. ‘Where’s Kinsley when we need her?’: After loss of child, mom urges others ‘Enjoy the moment’

‘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’

‘Be grateful all of them are in one house alive and healthy, because mine aren’t. The fighting used to annoy me. Now, I’m glad they’re even here to fight.’: Mom says ‘they will remember what you do during this quarantine’

‘We won’t get to take fireball shots together when she turns 21. She’ll never get to drive the red jeep with no doors that she wanted. We were robbed.’: After losing daughter to flu, mom is reminded that ‘love is permanent’

‘Ms. Kinsley, we’re gonna get you cleaned up now.’ It was time to turn off her machine. My husband leaned in to hug them, tears streaming down his face.’ Woman thanks nurses and doctors for their ‘selflessness’ during daughter’s final moments

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