This is a follow up story to Shannon’s on going grief journey. To read the full back story please click here.
“Sunflower, a direct correlation to the sun, the life force for our solar system, a source of warmth and life. Sunflowers are stunningly beautiful, the bright yellow petals representing rays of sunshine. They are ‘happy’ flowers and usually given to someone to bring joy. They are admired for their charm and delightful disposition. They have so many positive characteristics, it isn’t surprising that people bask in their glow.
As I sit here on my couch, I’m looking up at the last bouquet of flowers from Kinsley’s funeral withering away. This same bouquet of flowers lasted an entire month and brought me comfort each day looking at them. The sunflowers didn’t even look real. They were perfect in every way, little rays of sunshine in this dark storm. While all the flowers around them were slowing wilting, these sunflowers were bright vibrant and full of life.
Kinsley was a sunflower. She was the life force of our home, full of life and fire. She was stunningly beautiful and always happy. She brought joy to everyone’s life, in fact, people were drawn to her. She was charming and funny, yet strong and could withstand adversity. She was fearless, yet proceeded with caution. I’ve looked back at pictures of her, she is actually ‘glowing.’ Kinsley made my heart happy and brought me joy every day.
It’s almost been one month. 30 days of waking up without the ‘sunshine’ and life feels different. Packing lunches, buying clothes, school pick-ups, nightly dinners, after school homework, no soccer practice, our car dance parties. Honestly, just breathing feels different. The girls often ask, ‘Why, Kinsley?’ and I don’t have an answer for them. I respond with, ‘I don’t know but I miss her too.’
We are establishing our new normal, which involves Kinsley every day. Every time we get in the car, we play a little Lizzo and some Hot Girl Bummer. We visit her grave often, even if it’s just to drive by screaming out the windows, ‘HEY, GIRL.’ We place sunflowers on her grave — EVERYONE places sunflowers on her grave. She was everyone’s sunshine. Our house now is lots of extra love and holding on tight to each other as this storm continues to whip around us.
We have a long road ahead of many firsts without her and I know they will be difficult for all of us, but we hold on to a piece of her each day and I look for signs she is with us. Originally, I had thought she came back as a bird, just to be annoying but now I think she is playing a much bigger hand with God. The sunsets and sunrises have been breathtakingly beautiful lately, bright fiery red and looking at them, I can feel her. I giggle because she got a hold of God with her Kinsley charm and personality, and now, she’s got a spot right up next to him painting the sky.
This was Kinsley’s way. She was chosen for everything. People would instantly fall in love with her. She was a magnet, a force of warmth and life. A sunflower, our sunflower.”
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’
‘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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