Monday, July 29, 2013


July 26, 2013

I'm beginning to feel like my blog titles are an advertisement for the DSM 5....the 'bible' for diagnosing mental illness.  A curious thing, since most of the titles are pretty accurate descriptions of the content contained therein.  Then again, at this point in my life, maybe it'd be more concerning if my blog were a self-help book on happy joy joy. 

 Lately, when people see me and tell me they're sorry to hear about Brandon dying, I feel almost odd saying thank you, like I'm not even in that moment  because they couldn't possibly be talking to me, right?  Just when I thought it'd started dying down, it's like everywhere I turn, someone is asking me how I'm (really) doing.  I see tears in at least 50 percent of those eyes.  It's empathy, I know, as I walk out every parent's worst nightmare, but I swear it makes me instantly disconnect.  This just cannot be my life.

In the beginning, I knew they were talking to me and hugging me for a reason... what other woman was standing in the room crying?  What other woman was staring into space in total disbelief, mentally daring God to take her, too?  There was no one else.  I was in the midst of life's worst and greatest storm and people were trying to help steady the boat.  Now, I hold my head up and try to act like I've always acted, like nothing is different, so others follow my lead.  Storm raging around me?  Where?  Nuh-uh, if I don't admit it's there, it must not be there.  I stay busy or hiding, absolutely nothing else in between.

When I think of Brandon, as I'm wandering around the house alone, I find myself saying aloud, " No,"  and shaking my head, like it will clear the reality of death out of my mind and life.  When I start crying, which is a strange experience in and of itself, lately, where I start sobbing for five minutes and then it's as if a switch is flipped and here I am, again, and everything is ok, the first thing out of my mouth is, " Damnit!"  I don't want this stupid reality,  it's horrible and it deserves something more than a damnit that I'd give a stubbed toe.  But, I don't want to pay it too much attention.  It could be real then.  When I'd discovered that I'd fallen asleep one night without checking on his room and it was ok, I decided that maybe if I just stay away from the reality, it won't be so hard to take.  We have not touched his room.  In fact, his room is just as he left it, so maybe he'll come back to it.  If I stay away just enough, if I keep saying my kids (plural) and speaking of him in present tense, maybe it won't hurt quite so much? 

My brain will not cooperate.  I keep calling the dog by Brandon's name, something that might've been funny once, like calling one kid by the other kid's name, but now seems cruel.  My every conversation is peppered with Brandon.  I'm not sure if my conversations were so filled with talk of my kids, before Brandon died, but now it's all that I have to say, it's taken on a life of its own, while I try so hard to push it back down.  Last night, I woke up crying.  I don't remember the dream,  but I knew it was about Brandon when I woke up.  The tv keeps playing songs/ artists that he both loved and hated... essentially,  EVERY single thing, dead or alive and every word in existence, is a haunting memory of some sorts and I want out of the nightmare.  I don't even know how to get and comfortably stay in's too real.  I just hope I'm not as crazy as I feel....although...sanity may be terribly over-rated right now.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Abandonment Issues

July 20, 2013

People with abandonment issues usually end up with the very people that will leave them.  Subconsciously, they are drawn to the same type of relationships, time and again, in a desperate attempt to change the cycle which, inevitably, perpetuates that cycle.  I think that's probably true for most dysfunctional relationships, actually, but that's a whole other blog for someone else to write.

The relationship between a parent and a child is unique.  Children love their parents, even with all their faults and missteps, like no one else.  It is their parents whom they first love.  When that relationship is severed, it wounds so deeply and, sometimes, can be hidden so well that all seems fine.  But it is not.  You can be sure the hurt is there and it runs deep.  Some of those kids grow up and have kids because they think that, FINALLY, someone will love them unconditionally and never leave them.  They'll love their kids, their kids will love them, it will all be fixed.  I know of teens who have felt those precise feelings because they felt so rejected in all other areas of their lives.  It's probably a lot more common than we realize. 

While I was not one of those teens, I'd never really thought much about this issue until yesterday.  I was sitting in my living room, surrounded by pictures of Brandon and I said to God, "You took one of only two people on this earth that love me unconditionally, no matter how bad I've screwed up, no matter how badly I've hurt them or how much of a hot mess I've been.  Why would you do that?  To someone who has been abandoned more than once in her life already...why?" 

And, this is not about a pity party.  I have tons of friends.  I have family.  God graciously gave me a kinda mama who has, without a doubt, been THE rock of my life.  She has never judged one thing I've done, she loves me no matter the cost, as if I were one of her own, even though I wasn't in her life until I was almost 18 years old.  I mean no disrespect to my own birth family...things happen...we make choices that we wish we could take back...I haven't walked in my own parents' shoes and I know their choices were hard.  Life is hard.  Knowing that, doesn't just erase the pain.  As for my husband, the relationship between a husband and wife is one where there is a lot of stepping on toes, hurt feelings, distance and then, well, that love is just get the idea.  It is the not same love as a child has for you. 

From the day I met Brandon, on March 19, 1994, he has been mine, he has been for me.  He loved me, even though I am critical and overbearing and temperamental and selfish.  He knew I adored him and loved him with every ounce of my being.  Brandon and I were simpatico and to lose that relationship still has my head spinning.  One half of the people who had that almost indescribable love, forgiveness and acceptance of who I am is just gone.  In a flash.  No preparation, no goodbye, he's just gone from my life.  If I had ten other kids, if I live to be 100 and have 45 grandkids, I will never have Brandon or what he was in my life.  There is such a hole.

Until we meet again.  I wish I knew the hour.  I am ready now.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Two Long Months

This is mostly for my sweet teen followers, but it's applicable to everyone.

Brandon made a BIG difference in many, many lives in his short time on this earth. None of you forget that. Carry his legacy on for generations and don't let his death and his beautiful life be in vain. Live like today is your last, which means loving every person you can with all you have. If they don't have you tomorrow, they will have the memories of your love to sustain them.

Burying a child is the most horrific pain that can ever be experienced on this earth.  It is primal, a guttural wailing in the soul that begs for relief that can't be found.   You cannot hide from it, dull it or pretend it doesn't exist.  It will not be ignored.  It will ache and ache and ache some more and when the gift of shock wears off, it will hurt like hell all over again.  I think people would be ashamed of what I'd trade, without batting an eyelash, to have him back.  For one day.  One hour.

Before you take that risky step, before you take a ride from a drunk driver, before you think that doing something one time is no biggie, stop and picture your parents in a fetal position begging and pleading to God to give you back and, when the answer is no, they cannot have you back, picture them begging God to take them, too.  I've had to utter the words, "My son passed away," more times than I can count and each time my heart breaks all over, again. 

This season of your life is a hard one.  Gosh, you couldn't pay me enough money to be a teenager, again, but I promise you, it's a short one.  Things will get better.  Someday, you'll have kids at your feet calling you mommy or daddy.  Please, please do not make your parents sit at a funeral home sobbing over pictures of flowers and caskets.  Call me.  I will give you a ride.  I will give you a shoulder, I will just sit and stare at the wall with you, if that's what you need.  Remember my boy and remember that what Brandon wanted for all of you was to be ok, to be healthy and free.  And, if you name all of your kids Brandon, well, that would be awesome, too :))

One of the most ridiculous platitudes-if it can even be called that-has been one of the most reassuring....everybody dies, sometime.  It's not a pretty statement, but it is reality.  Sadly, we lost a beautiful soul too early, but we can all honor his life by helping just one person.  We will all die, someday, and I hope you will all be with us in that spectacular Paradise, but until then, be there for just one person that you wouldn't have otherwise been there for.  Brando would just love that.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Surprised By My Death

When I got on the plane to leave Las Vegas, it was just a few days after the Asiana crash.  I know that take-off and landing are the most dangerous parts of flying and, quite often, a time of serious nerves and jaw clenching for me.  This time was different.  I sat on that plane absolutely sure that that was the safest place to be.  I swear I wanted to make an announcement right then that no one needed to fear a thing because I was on that plane and it was not going down.

Sitting on the tarmac, my thoughts drifted to Brandon, again, the place where my mind is most often parked.  That usually causes my heart to drop into my stomach because I think about how losing Brandon does not preclude me from losing my daughter or my husband or both.  It sounds so morbid to think like that, but there's nothing like a death so close to home to make you brutally aware of how you have no control over anything bad happening to you.  It can always be worse.  Ask Job, he can confirm that. 

I would, however, be surprised to wake up in front of God.  In all of my musings on what can be lost, I am sure that my own life is about as safe as it gets right now.  I'm not sure enough to go stand in front of a bus and see if I become invisible, but I'm sure enough to want to go sky diving and feel like I could be in a 10000 take-offs and landings without one hair on my head being harmed.  I think it's because I wouldn't have minded the plane crashing and waking up in front of God and seeing my boy.  I know my life could not possibly be so beautiful and easy as to be whisked off to my son, less than two months after his death. 

As I sat down on my second plane, in Oakland, the lady next to me said, "Oh gosh, I hate flying at night, I really try not to."  I asked her why, just to entertain myself.  I knew the answer and I was prepared to tell her all about the reality.  She said, "Because if something happens, I want to be able to see what is going on."  Soooo, does daylight make plunging to your death, along with a couple hundred strangers, better...easier?  I almost told her exactly how I felt.  This plane is the safest place for you, because God is not going to let something happen to me.  There's no way He is letting me go to my son yet.  In fact, you should consider coming home with me because the car I'm riding in will be the safest one on the road.  Seat belts?  You don't need no stinkin' seat belts.  I know, it's sorta morose, cavalier and I sound like a victim.  Believe me, I feel like a victim right now.  At any rate, what I said was, "Oh, it'll be fine."  I told myself I'd leave it at that, unless she asked why.  She did not.  I don't know how long I'll feel this way because I'm not even sure of what "this way" means, I don't how to define what I'm feeling (invincible...unstable...who knows), but know that if I die anytime soon, I'm gonna be very surprised.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Googling Brandon's Name

I'm becoming the poster child for what no mom should ever have to do.  I thought that 'no mom should ever, ever have to do CPR on her own kid' was the hardest thing I'd ever have to do, it'd be the biggie to wrap up the manual of things a mom shouldn't have to do.  It wrecked me.  I relived it constantly, probably because I was afraid that what happened is what would happen....I wouldn't  be there in the moment he needed me to do it again.

I became obsessed about an extra comma in the FB image I created.  I had to go see if the picture from the memorial service had that extra comma.  Not being at home, I didn't have the obituary open in the browser.  So, I had to Google my son's name.  Do you know how very wrong it is to Google your child's name and see that the first result is an obituary?  It's so far deeper than heartbreaking and profoundly sad that I can't even describe it.  It's just wrong.  There's my son's name all over Google for all the wrong flippin reasons.  How did we get here?!  No mom should ever have to see her son's name and picture on Google like that. 

No mom should ever have to endure a phone call from the medical examiner, much less several conversations with a medical examiner.  No mom should have to play the what if game, wondering what she could've done differently to have her child on this earth with her.  No mom should ever have to discuss the cost of a funeral or any other death related costs with anyone.  No mom should ever have to write an obituary or eulogize her son at his memorial service.  No mom should ever have to pick out viewing clothes for her child and have to decide if they will do a burial or a cremation.  No mom should have to wonder why she can't die so she can see her child, again.  No mom should ever have to see her child's death certificate.  No mom should ever have to pick out an urn for her child and be left with only the ashes of her child and an empty room full of belongings that will never be used by her child.  No mom should have to avoid food, locations, tv shows/movies or activities that her child loved, in an attempt to keep the searing pain at bay just a few minutes longer.  No mom should have to be broken to pieces because she didn't videotape her child and is dying to hear his voice, again. 

I know this list could go on and on and on.  I feel like all I have right now are things I shouldn't ever have had to do.  Never ever.  It's not fair.  Death sucks, especially when it's out of order.  My life is all out of order and I don't even know how to begin to set things in a new order.  I don't have the desire to do that.  I want the old back.  We can't make a new way, somebody is missing.  He'll always be missing.  I wasn't going to have an only child.  No mom should have to see her baby end up an only child.  No mom should have to pause when people ask her if she has kids.  I still don't know the answer to that.  I'm not familiar with one word answers and just saying yes seems to cheat Brandon out of his story.  So many things I never wanted to do, never should've had to do and now do not want to do.

Second by second.  One day at a time is still way too overwhelming.  It's unimaginable that days are just ticking by, taking me with them, totally against my will. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Joy and Sadness

For those of you who don't play Words with Friends, it's a game, like Scrabble, where you have tiles that are used to make words.  A couple of nights ago, I went into one of my games and those were my tiles.  JOY IS BK.  That's my boy, Brandon Kashef, known as BK to so very many people.  I looked and looked at those tiles, totally amazed.  I doubt I'll ever see that combination of tiles in my tray, again, and I know it's not a coincidence. 

I haven't really asked for "signs" regarding Brandon.  Most of the time (99.5%), I am secure in knowing where he is and that he's happy, much happier than anyone on earth could possibly be.  I am human, though, and I've had a couple of moments where I've cried out to God, telling Him I just need to know for sure.  I know his heart would break for mine and the thought of him being sad for all of us is too much.  Heaven has no sadness, though, so I have to believe that he's content just walking with the Lord, until we meet, again.  I'm still not totally sure how to view those tiles; he is joy, like living in complete joy or that's my joy-BK.  I guess either way works, but the point is, it was really quite something to see and such a neat thing I was given.  God cares so much about us, if it takes game tiles to reassure us, He meets us where we are.

Conversely, I miss my boy so much, I practically ache from head to toe, inside and out.  I found myself wondering today, if someone told me that I would lose Brandon at 19, and I had a choice, would I have still had kids?  The truth is, I don't think I know the answer to that.  I think that, yes, I probably would've.  I was always meant to have children, something I knew from the time I was a teensy child, myself.  I think I would've said yes because I couldn't have known how horrific the pain of losing a child could be, never having experienced it before.  Were I to see into that pain, though, I think I'd have said no.  Having my kids is one of the few things I don't regret in this life and nothing I'd ever want to take back, but reconciling that happiness, that completeness, with the deepest, most wretched pain in the universe is impossible. 

And, I'm still struggling with God's sovereignty.  He knew.  He's been everywhere I've been.  Why couldn't He send a messenger to tell me something, to warn me, to do anything?  Knowing He was going to allow Brandon to go home, why didn't he make absolutely sure that Baze was home for his 19th and last birthday here?  I absolutely know that Brandon was spared from the heartache that goes on in this life.  Somehow, God decided that what he had to do was done in those 19 years and it was ok for him to go home.  That sovereignty I trust in wholeheartedly, I just don't  understand why he went so suddenly, no chance to say goodbye, no final moments together.  A blessing, also, that I didn't have to see my son taken from my house in a bodybag breaks my heart that my boy died without his mama.  Brandon is happy, happy, experiencing a joy like we can't fathom with our earthly minds, but I just want him back.  We can go home together, later.