Sunday, May 9, 2010

Kelly: She Bares Her Heart

Kelly, Adam's sister and our youngest, shared these thoughts about Meghan.  I keep thinking I 'll get back to blogging about our RV lifestyle' but it keeps getting interrupted by Life.  This is posted on her blog.

I wrote this on the plane back from Detroit to Dallas. I recognize that it's written more novel-style than journal-style... a bit detached. But it's the only way I could write it. It's long, too.

Meghan passed away last Tuesday, the 27th. Three months almost exactly after being re-diagnosed. Suck. I am on the airplane headed back to Dallas after being in Michigan for 1.5 weeks. We spent a lot of time in Canada- some up at the cottage with people. How terrible for Adam and Marg & Bill. He lost the wife of his youth, they their only daughter. I don't know how they can get out of bed in the mornings, but they have managed each day to get up and press on. Their courage and strength is inspiring.

She died on Tuesday. I got a phone call from Mom a little before 10 am, which I thought was strange. I was sitting in the census training which I had assumed was the Lord's provision for me. (Funny that every part time job I try to get somehow doesn't work out when I'm unemployed.) I didn't answer, seeing that I was in training. She called me a second time, immediately after the first. My first thought was... "shit. shit, shit, shit." I knew before I answered the phone. I practically ran out of the dingy old church fellowship hall into another room and mom told me. I started shaking, was in complete shock & remember thinking that my mom was making it up. There was no way she could be gone. I had just learned how to pray for- and believe in- miracles. And certainly God was going to answer that prayer. I wanted Him to show His power. To show His glory in a way that would completely change everyone's lives. He wanted to show Himself in another way, though. His power extends beyond our own.

After I hung up the phone with Mom, I immediately called Megan (my best friend in Houston). I couldn't choke out the words I knew to be true, but didn't believe. It took me three attempts before Megan could figure out what I was saying. After that, I texted a couple of my really close friends, went back to get my purse, and quit the census job. I am still astounded at the kindness of some strangers. A woman I had just met that morning gave me her card and as I was leaving- I mumbled out... "my sister in law just passed away." She told me to call her if I needed anything. I needed a lot, but nothing that she could provide.

I only remember part of the drive home- it wasn't a long drive... just a couple of blocks. I called my roommate to make sure she was home and to see if she could drive me to the airport. I got home, pulled out my suitcases & threw clothes in. Black dresses. Funeral clothes. Funeral wear. I packed the pants Meghan bought me, and the matching (airbrushed) shirts I had got Adam and Meghan and I for Christmas. Mine was a unicorn, hers was a flying llama, his a narwhal. She was mortified, and probably never ventured to put it on.

I bought my plane ticket. For some reason, my passport was already in my purse. I talked to a friend who volunteered to take care of Ed. I didn't pray a prayer. I kept saying to myself... "Dear Jesus." Not... "Dear Jesus," as in the beginning of a prayer or a letter, even. I couldn't ask for comfort- I didn't know how. The last thing I grabbed before I left was my hat. I didn't want people in the airport to see my pain. I also loaded my purse with kleenex and a book- my escape.

A different friend came to get me to take me to the airport. Chick-fil-a on the way. She was such a blessing, chattering about who knows what, but keeping me from dwelling on the reality of it all. I got to the airport and checked my bags. I tried to avoid everyone's eyes when I walked around. I tried to mutter as few words as possible. Somehow, the day passed. Tears escaped my eyes only occasionally, and luckily, nobody seemed willing or able to acknowledge them. I didn't have to explain to anyone else that day.

I got anxious deplaning in Detroit. I turned a corner in the airport and saw my parents waiting to pick me up. I ran. I needed comfort. We cried a few tears, but didn't lose it. I asked them more questions. I guess I didn't need to ask them if it was all real. We all knew it was coming. But we thought it would be "eventually." We never imagined eventually would be that soon.

Adam and Meghan were married for one day less than one month. I was her maid of honor, Brad was Adam's best man. Him and I were the official witnesses. It was not supposed to be the only wedding. I still have invitations to make and a plan to execute. A wedding binder to make. A chance to be neurotic. I went to sleep that night knowing that Wednesday would suck.

Wednesday, the three of us woke early. We had to get up to Canada for the viewing- family only. I almost didn't want to be included in the ranks of those closest to her. The pain so intense, so raw, so unavoidable. But I was. She was my sister. Only for a month, but forever family. We got to the Baker's house early. Reality hit hard when Adam walked into the kitchen. We hugged like we were never going to let go. We did, but not before pain erupted and our hearts were ripped open, exposed, bleeding.

We made the short, two- block drive to the funeral home in silence. I, at that point, didn't want to see her. I didn't want to remember her that way- a lifeless shell. I knew it wasn't her, but just the remains of her. I didn't have a choice, though. Funeral homes don't allow you to choose. Our hearts were completely open when we were in that room- completely unprotected, unguarded.

I thought back to the wedding day as I sat along a wall, as small as I could make myself. I wanted to tell her she was beautiful that day. Her wedding day. But I didn't. I wanted to have a bachelorette party with her, but didn't. I wanted to make her a bouquet of flowers, but didn't. I didn't want to over step boundaries. I wish I did, though. I wish in insisted her Dad walk her down a makeshift aisle. How were we to know that would be her only wedding?

I wrote her three, maybe four times since her wedding. The first one, I practically begged her to keep fighting. I was almost ashamed when I sent that one. I was asking her to stay strong while I wrote that through my pouring, incessant tears. Seems selfish and unfair of me.

We went back to the house after that, and more people showed up. Some brought food. The rest of the day was a blur. We looked through hundreds of pictures of her, and printed them out. We placed some photos on foamcore, and planned to hang some in between the boards the next day. Mom and Dad and I went back to Michigan to spend the night there. Some of the strangest, most real moments of the whole trip, though, were at the border patrol. I know it's their job to ask the reason of your visit. You just don't want to admit that you're going somewhere because someone died. I still don't want to answer that question.

Thursday was another long day. That was the day of the visitation. This is when the family stands in a line, greets strangers, and listens to their asinine words of comfort. Some woman told me that I look exactly like Meghan. I wish I could have punched her in the mouth, but that behavior is apparently frowned upon. Someone asked me how my vacation was when I returned home. Words meant to comfort and move on, but aren't all that comforting. At least it was something else to think about other than the reality of what's happening.

I met Meghan's close friends that day. People that loved her dearly, and were able to know her deeply. They are all completely different from each other. She saw something in each of them and knew how to love them well.

I couldn't stand in the receiving line long. I wanted to run away. I do, however, remember introducing myself as Adam's sister and being consumed with pride for my brother. He turned into an amazing man, worthy of respect. Before Meghan, I thought him to be irresponsible and unfocused. But because of Meghan, she allowed him and encouraged him to flourish. She let him grow up and mature- she loved him well. He is a different man than before Meghan... a better man.

I spent that night in Petrolia- slept a few hours and readied myself. I wasn't sure how to look. What a weird thing to worry about. I mean, I wanted to look nice, but I didn't want to overdo it. Too much makeup, or too much jewelry. But I knew Meghan to always look fabulous. She was beautiful- tall, but not too tall. Dark, exotic features. Perfect eyebrows. And killer hair. Even when she had no hair, I thought her to be gorgeous. But strangely, she didn't seem to notice that. She didn't pay attention much... She just existed beautifully.

There were 8 of us pallbearers. And Adam carried the urn to the front of the church. We stood in the back before the service, and listened to "It is well with my soul." Indeed it is. Or it will be. But my soul aches first. I picked a perfect version of it- Katie Giguere sings it. Just a girl and her guitar. It felt like she was there in the church with us.

6 people spoke during the service. Adam spoke first, and in part of it, he said... "the light that shines brightest burns half as long." Indeed she was bright. I got up and read a prayer. I can't remember much of it. I do, however, remember praying that the family be comforted in their sorrow. I hope they are. I know they are.

After the service, we were supposed to go in to the fellowship hall to eat cold cuts, egg salad and jello salad. What an odd way of doing things. Jello salad? Pretty sure that I don't want any hint of jello salad after my funeral.

We packed up after that and drove up to the cottage. It was one of her favorite places to be. I can see why. That is such a healing thing to do- to go somewhere out of the way, surround yourself with only the people that were closest to her, and hide for a few days. We didn't shed many tears there. We spoke openly of her. We did a puzzle. We laughed. We smiled to ourselves and sat in silence.

In fact, I haven't shed many tears since the funeral. Maybe I'm numb. Maybe I'm waiting until I'm home. I doubt my grief is over. My sadness will be revisited many times over the next couple of months and coming year. I know that. It may be mixed with sadness over my own life and current dilemmas. It may be fear that I cry. What if I go and don't know the depth of love that Adam & Meghan shared? I hope my life is one marked by joy and accomplished goals and fulfilled dreams, as Meghan's was. I hope I face bravely the challenges set before me like she did. I hope I carry myself with grace and beauty, the way she did. And I hope I remember the few memories I have of her. She wasn't born to be my sister, but chosen to be my sister. I can't be more thankful.
Thanks Kels.

And thank you for viewing the Roadrunner Chronicles.  Happy Mother's Day to all you ladies!


  1. What a beautiful and touching tribute, your daughter wrote. Randy ,you and Pam have done the job of parenting well, as both your children have displayed the virtures you instilled in them. Please again accept our prayers and Pam you Have a good Mother's Day. Sam & Donna.

  2. I'll just second what Sam & Donna said above as I couldn't possibly put it any better.

  3. Randy and Pam,
    Thanks for sharing! There just aren't just leaves you numb. We also agree with Sam and Donna.

    Mike & Gerri (happytrails)

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.