‘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’

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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 don’t know what to say. ‘I’m so sorry for your loss.’ ‘She’s will always be with you.’ ‘Time will heal.’ These are all things I don’t want to hear.

I’ve always been truly awkward with death and in situations such as these. I’ve never been on this side of things. I never knew what to say to anyone, so most of the time I just say nothing, give a comforting smile or hug, and the silence is understood. If you really think about it, how awkward does it feel saying that to someone?

Everyone I have met since Kinsley’s death, aside from our close friends and family, it’s been this awkward meeting. Losing a child brings a stigma of pity and sympathy, which is completely understood. However, that is not me and makes me feel even more uncomfortable.

Courtesy Shannon Sandvik

When I walk into the school or walk into a place where everyone knows about Kinsley, it feels different than it did three weeks ago when Kinsley was alive. I went to get my hair done the other day and my hair lady is a lot like me. We make light of uncomfortable and inappropriate situations. I crack jokes sometimes that maybe I shouldn’t, and she is the same way. She was so nervous to see me because she was so afraid she was going to say the wrong thing. When I walked in, she hugged me and I whispered in her ear, ‘Don’t f*cking ask how I’ve been because I’ve been better. Now can we please do something about my gray hairs?’

We laughed and things were normal.

I have been blessed enough to not have to attend a funeral of someone close to me. There I was, a week ago, burying my daughter, picking out the perfect casket and hearing, ‘Well, there aren’t many children options.’

No sh*t!

Parents aren’t supposed to bury their children. There I was planning every small detail of this for my Kinsley. Thanks to our awesome friends and family, it was a ‘perfect’ day, if you can even say that about your child’s funeral. The outpouring of love and people that showed up for our daughter was something truly remarkable and makes us as parents feel like we are doing something right. Kinsley Reese shut down roads across two counties and an overwhelming amount of people came to celebrate her life with us. The entire day was filled with those statements, ‘I’m so sorry for your loss.’ What am I supposed to say back?

Respectfully I say, ‘Thank you’ and move on but what I was really thinking was, ‘You’re sorry? Yeah me too.’

‘She’s always with you.’ in my head I’m thinking, ‘No, she’s not f*cking here, is she?’ and the worst is, ‘Time will heal.’ That sends me into an internal rage. ‘How do you know? You think every day for the rest of my life, I won’t think about her and it won’t break my heart all over again?’

Courtesy Shannon Sandvik

Time doesn’t heal. Time makes it easier to live as we learn to live our new normal without her. You can rest assured, in 20 years if I’m still here, I will still be thinking about my baby girl.

I’m not writing this to be an a*shole. We truly appreciate every comment and thing said to us over the last three weeks of our lives regarding Kinsley’s death because we know everything was coming from a place of love and sympathy. We truly have an amazing village behind us, and we are thankful for every single one of you. But it really had me thinking about situations like these. What is the right thing to say? Because I don’t know, and I am awkward in these situations as well. Nothing anyone says will make it better but there was one note we received that made us feel like they truly knew how we were feeling, and it was comforting. It was two words ‘F*ck Death.'”

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’

‘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

‘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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