Today you would be five years old, my sweet girl. It’s still hard to believe it’s already been over two years now that I celebrated your birthday with you physically here. Now I am left with no choice but to continue celebrating your birthday every year by releasing balloons for you, so you can catch them in heaven. Today is all about you, my gorgeous baby, it’s all for you.
Three weeks ago on June 4th was your 2 year anniversary that I lost you. I have not shared with very many people what happened on that day, but as expected, it was a rough one to say the least (much like today without you here).
I remember crying so hard at the thought of missing you, the flashbacks from the hospital, the words the doctors and nurses spoke to us, the feeling of my heart breaking like glass that you are still gone, the hole in my heart expanding as I ache just to hold you one last time, knowing it is so far away from happening. I know I will see you again one day, but it seems like forever, and forever seems like a million miles away. I did something that day that I had been meaning to do for the longest time. “Go get your baby,” as my dad has said to me. What he meant was to go get your ashes. Your ashes.
On the way there, I began to tear up, as much as I tried to fight those hot tears from rolling down my cheeks, I couldn’t hold them in. As my eyes are filling up, my face begins to feel hot and at the same time, the back of my neck gets hot too. Something told me to turn my radio down, and in that very moment, I began to listen. I heard your sweet voice telling me, “I’m here Mommy, I’m here,” because you knew exactly what I was about to do.
I was able to calm down after that, enough to just make it there. Your Grandma Renee gave me a hug and handed me over the bag from the Funeral home that contained your ashes inside. As I’m pulling down the driveway to leave, I begin to see fireflies light up the night. That was the first day of the summer that I had seen a single firefly. They have been a symbol/sign from you since the day of your Celebration of Life, and we lit off lanterns in the sky for you.
I remember Aileah letting off her lantern for you, and all of a sudden, a firefly landed on her hand. I would see fireflies in places that they normally wouldn’t be. I remember driving the golf cart and seeing a firefly going up and down the floorboard (it must have been really bored because that’s all it seemed to want to do). I would see them in the house, on the door going back and forth, over and over again. When my best friend Janice took Aileah to Kentucky Kingdom, she called me and said, “Guess what was in our hotel room?” I’m pretty sure she called it a lightning bug, (I’ve always called them fireflies). At the softball fundraiser, I remember my dad sitting in his chair, and a firefly landed on him and went back and forth on his shorts for quite a while. I looked at my dad’s face as a tear rolled down his cheek. During July 4th, Aileah and her friend Maddie called the fireflies “Kenley bugs.” That was the cutest thing I have ever heard. It wasn’t until recently that Maddie overheard her big sister, Dana and I talking on the phone and she told us all about her and Aileah calling them that. I thought it was soo sweet and it made my night when I heard it. Whenever I see fireflies lighting up the sky, I always think of you.
I have always believed there is more to life than what meets the eye, that there is other life out there somewhere, and life after death. I don’t believe people are just here on earth and they die & that’s it. I believe there is a heaven and a hell, that this isn’t all that there is once we pass. Believing that Kenley is in heaven, that she is fully alive and in paradise, brings me a sense of security knowing that she is safe.
When I first lost her, I questioned my faith. I questioned God multiple times and asked him why he took my child from me. I’ve been mad at God and asked him plenty of times to just take me, because I didn’t know how to live without Kenley. Since then, I have rewired my brain and changed my thoughts, and I stopped questioning him and all of his doings. My faith in the Lord has become stronger than it ever was that I thought was humanly possible. Every single sign that I have from Kenley, let’s me know that it is God’s gift to me and that she is up in heaven with him, along with my Mamaw Elouise, Mamaw Hallie, & Papaw Larry. I remember sitting outside after losing Kenley, and I closed my eyes & saw the three of them all holding hands in a circle with Kenley Boo dancing in the middle. The song was, “I hope you dance,” by Leann Womack.
I remember at Kenley’s Celebration of Life, when that song came on, I lost it.
It made it almost impossible to believe that she was gone, because never have I ever been to any kind of funeral service and the body not be present in a casket. I actually believed that she was coming back to me, I believed it for months on end. It just didn’t make sense, it still doesn’t.
I know now that she isn’t coming back, no one is going to knock on the door, saying Kenley came back from vacation. No one is going to do that and that’s what I believed in my head. She hasn’t came back to me in her physical body, but she has made it known that she has never left my side and she will always be here with me.
I remember just recently, the day of her anniversary, how I was completely losing my shit. I didn’t think I could handle another day without her. I broke down so badly that day. I remember asking her for strength to help me get through the day and the rest of my life, I needed her to help me. After that, I felt a sense of comfort wash over me and I was able to calm down, I haven’t broke down that hard since. She listened to me. I know she can hear my thoughts and listen to my voice when I am speaking. She can see things before and after they happen and while they are happening. I know she knows everything about the past, present, and future that have/are going to happen.
I know she is genuinely living her best life in a place that I can only imagine. I can only imagine how beautiful it is to live in a place like heaven. How magical it is without any sign of evil up there, only love and never hate. I can only imagine what it will be like on the day that I am reunited with my precious beauty. I live for that day, even though there are days where I just want to make it all easier and see my own way out, but I know that is not the answer. I can’t play God and pick & choose “my time,” because only he knows.
On Kenley’s anniversary that just passed, I remember setting her bag that contained her ashes on my lap and just holding it all the way home. I didn’t shed one single tear driving back. When I arrived at home, I headed straight to my bedroom. I remember opening up the bag and seeing her death certificate first thing. I folded it back up and placed it at the bottom of the bag and reached for the box. Inside the box was a tin, inside of the tin were her ashes. When I opened up the tin and saw her ashes, I lost it. Aileah looked up and me and said, “Mom are you okay?” She gave me the biggest hug and held me so tight, because she knew for sure that is exactly what I needed in that very moment.
Now that I have Kenley’s ashes here, I can feel her presence even stronger than I did before. I had to wait until I was fully ready to face the reality of her now being ashes instead of a physical body. Whenever I would search urns online, I would have to stop, I could never finish and follow through. I don’t know if it was due to the fact that I didn’t believe she was actually gone, or the fact that my sweet baby girl shouldn’t be just ashes!!
I think NOW, I will be able to make it through. There are glass blown urns I’ve seen that you can have custom made and have a loved ones ashes mixed in. That’s what I wanted to get, but even thinking about calling Renee and asking for my baby’s ashes was one of the hardest things I had to force myself to do. I actually ended up texting her about it instead. I don’t know how I would’ve been able to vocally ask her a question like that. How would those words even slide off of my lips? How? “Can I have my baby’s ashes?” How does that even sound? There are no words for it.
I don’t want today to be a sad day. I want to try my best to make it through the day without shedding a tear. I want today to be all about Kenley Boo. I want people to remember how beautiful and full of life she was, her contagious laugh and the glow she always had upon her. I want tears of joy and love and laughter. I want to share stories of my silly girl and the things she would do and say. I want to remember the happy times and the beautiful little life she once had here. I want to talk about how big her voice is for her tiny body and how much of an impact she’s made in the world with her story of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. I want to talk about how many families and friends and people I have never had a chance to meet have reached out to me from all over the country and across the world. Let’s talk about how many lives she’s saved and how many people have personally messaged me, asking for advice when it comes to ticks and tickbites and what to do thereafter. Let’s talk about the legacy my angel is leaving behind her forever!!! For such a tiny baby, she’s shouting loudly and clearly through the nations overseas and echoing to and fro.
If there is one thing that I have done correctly in my life. ONE THING. I know that that ONE THING is being her Mommy. I may have failed tests in school, I may have had speeding tickets in the past, I may have made mistakes that I wish I could take back, I may not be perfect, but I do know one thing for damn sure, I never failed my Kenley Boo as her mama. Never. I loved her then, I love her now, and I always will. I will forever share her story with the world, until the earth stops spinning, I will keep talking and spreading awareness. That is my pinky promise to the world. It has to be a pinky promise or it doesn’t count. 😉
HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY IN HEAVEN TO YOU, MY SWEET ANGEL BABY. I LOVE YOU MORE THAN YOU WILL EVER KNOW! YOU ARE EVERYTHING TO ME AND SO MUCH MORE. I AM SO PROUND TO BE YOUR MOMMY, IT IS THE GREATEST GIFT I HAVE EVER RECEIVED (ASIDE FROM YOUR BIG SISTER OF COURSE). ALL THAT I AM AND ALL THAT I HAVE YET TO BE IS ALL BECAUSE OF YOU. I LOVE YOU SO MUCH KENLEY BOO! HAPPY 5TH BIRTHDAY IN HEAVEN, MY SWEET, SWEET ANGEL! UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN!!!