This past week, I had some time to connect with my sister, and I truly treasure the times that I am able to connect with her. She is in such a priceless season of life being a first time mom with her beautiful 11 month old daughter. My sister has always been wonderful with children, and I am thoroughly enjoying watching her in this new season of life.
For years, my sister’s baby has been her golden retriever. I would marvel at the care and love that her golden retriever would receive. My sister had her dog at doggy day care where she was able to view Dakota’s day via video cameras. I remember one day when Dakota was bit at doggy day care, and my sister pulled her from the place for a short time. I would giggle and wonder, “hmmmmm if this what happens when there are problems with her dog then what in the world will it be like when she has a baby.” For the last years, I have been very much looking forward to witnessing how everything would be when my sister became a mom. One thing was absolutely definite in my mind… her child would be fiercely loved. Her daughter most definitely is.
My sister has always been wonderful with children. Whenever we were around children through the years, they were naturally drawn to her. Children have such a wonderful sense of what people are like and who cares about them. My sister has had such a fun-loving personality, and this wonderful part of her has been like a kid magnet. 🙂 I have watched her so many times throughout the years finding so much joy in her time with kids.
When I had my son PK, my sister was so excited. I remember how she would just sit with him and marvel at everything that he did. My son always loved attention, and he loved putting on a show with his many tricks of shooting the ball or running fast or whatever else he could think of when he had an audience. My sister was definitely one of his most adoring fans. When my daughter came 15 1/2 months later, then my sister was thrilled to build a fun relationship with her right away as well. Kylee always loved her aunty, and the feeling was definitely mutual. From the time Kylee was little, my sister always understood her sense of humor and truly enjoyed her.
When it was time for MiKayla to arrive, then PK was 4 1/2 and Kylee was 3, and I had just completed my master’s program. Kim said that she would come and stay with PK and Kylee while my husband and I were in the hospital. MiKayla was born via C-section like her brother and sister which gave us an average of approximately 3 days in the hospital. The kids were excited about having some time with Aunty Kim by themselves, and she was great about bringing them to the hospital each day so that we had time with them as well. That also gave them special time to start bonding with their new sister.
One of my funniest memories of their time with their aunty for those few days involved my son and my sister. PK from the time he was able to speak would tell on himself if he was doing something that he shouldn’t, and he would tell on anyone else that was doing something that he felt that they shouldn’t be. PK definitely had things that scared him like coyotes and wolves. 🙂 One of his favorite movies when he was little was The Lion King. There were certain parts of the story that made him feel scared, and we would always fast forward those “scary” parts. Almost immediately when we were home from the hospital, 4 year old PK had his hands on his hips and was shaking his head. “I have to tell you something mommy. Aunty Kim did not fast forward the scary parts and made me watch the scary parts on The Lion King,” he exclaimed. My sister’s eyes got huge as she said “PK!” His dad and I could not help but burst out laughing. This was such a typical PK moment, and my sister’s look was priceless. Of course, then I needed to explain to my adorable son that I was not laughing because he felt scared, and that I was so sorry that he felt scared. My sister and I have laughed at that memory countless times.
As my children grew through the years, my sister had many special times with each and all of them. She was the fun aunty who went tubing and jetskiing at the lake cabin. She was the supportive aunty who came to cheer them on at their sporting events and games. She was the aunty who I brought with on our family vacations as she loved to adventure with the kids and I while their daddy may have preferred to rest. She has been such an integral part of their lives, and I am ever grateful for her love for them, her involvement in their lives, and for all of the joy and fun that she continues to bring.
My sister most definitely had a special relationship with my husband. She truly loved Kirk. She was excited to gain another big brother when we got married, and she definitely appreciated who he was. She spent some time living with us years ago when the kids were little, and I look back at many of her interactions with Kirk and get the giggles. He had absolute freedom to say whatever he wanted to her also which many of us did not have. LOL. There was one guy that she was dating in particular that did not have his approval. He was quick to let Kim know what he thought and even started calling him “Flawed” whenever he referenced him. I would tease Kirk often and let him know that obviously he had a lot of freedom with Kim. I was convinced if any of the rest of us started calling him that then she would not be pleased. She accepted it from him though. I am convinced in their relationship that they knew that they loved each other from the start, and I always felt like they truly appreciated one another.
In August 2011 when my husband had his accident and was paralyzed and was placed in the trauma unit then my sister was quick to think of all of the ways that she could help. At that time, the surgeons and I were discussing that he needed to go to a rehab center almost immediately after his surgery that they were planning for. He was instantly paralyzed from the chest down from a work related accident, and they were clear that we were going to have to choose where to send him quickly. We were looking at places in Florida, Chicago, and a variety of others. The prognosis was not good as the entire medical team believed that the paralysis would be permanent including after the surgery. I wanted to find the best place for him and then to figure out what was best to do with the kids and school etc. My sister’s heart was so full of love for us that she volunteered that she would alternate with me and spend some time with the kids when I was with Kirk and then would stay with Kirk to give me time with our children. She was such an integral part of our family, and her willingness and volunteering to help us in such incredible ways in our time of crisis was simply amazing. Tragically, my husband died a few days later on August 14th and never made it out of surgery.
My sister’s focus after that became helping my children and I as we began our grief journey. Kim moved and lived with us for approximately 7 months as we began trying to adjust to the tremendous loss of Kirk to our family. For those months that Kim lived with us then she tried to help each of us with our grief. She continued to build her relationships with the kids and support them in their many activities. My kids have never wondered how much their aunty loved them or how special they each were to her. What priceless gifts that she has given to each of them.
We have always laughed at the funny relationship that she had with my PK. For some reason, he often saw her as one of the kids and sometimes even acted like he thought that he was the older one. Kim and I laughed so hard when we told him that she was becoming a psychologist. He looked at her with huge eyes and a big grin and said, “Wait. People are going to pay you to talk to them?” Oh he thought that was funny. He laughed and teased about that. I think being he still viewed her as a kid then he could not imagine that people would pay her to talk to them. He processed that for a long time. He adored his aunty. He was very protective of her even from a young age. When he thought that a guy was interested in her then he stated that he wanted that guy to leave and go to a different town and find a wife. He thought he should take care of his aunty.
When my only son was killed instantly in a car accident at the age of 18 in June 2013, my sister mourned his loss tremendously. She also continued to try to reach out and help the girls and I. She was understanding with me when I was inconsolable. She would listen to anything that I had to say. She did not judge me. She did not tell me how to feel or how to grieve. She was there. She has been a great person in my daughters’ lives, and someone that my daughters have always known that they could talk to about anything. Her love for the three of us is fierce, and she truly wants to help us as we try to do our best in our lives in the midst of our pain and hurt.
It is a priceless gift to have others with us on our grief journey who will simply walk with us and stand with us in our pain. My sister truly understands the concept of acknowledging our pain when we are hurting and not trying to push us along in our grief. My sister knows first hand of the incredible love and bond that I had with my only son. She has not only hurt for the pain and suffering that I have and continue to experience in being forced to live without my son, but she cares deeply for the girls and I and for our emotional well-being. She experiences her own pain at the loss of her nephew and brother in law. She loved them both so much.
Surrounding family members can play such an integral role in the lives and journeys of those who are grieving. I am ever thankful for the continued love and support that the girls and I have from my dear sister. I hope that any of you who are grieving have someone or others who are able to play such a vital and loving role in your life as my sister has in my life and the life of my girls.
“To my sister: For happy times shared through the years… For the loyalty, love, the laughter, and tears. For that special things only you can do. For all of these… I Thank You… Author Unknown.”
Thank you to my sister for being such a complete blessing to the girls and I through all of the years. Thank you for all of the joy and love that you brought to PK and to Kirk while they were alive. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I’ll love you forever and like for always… my sister and my friend you will always be.