MemoriesThey will live on through our cherished memories
Read the memories submitted to Alive in Memory, beginning with the most recent. Want to share a memory? Click here.
“To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.”
― Thomas Campbell
Kristi Lynn Hensen
Photo submitted in loving memory of Kristi Lynn Hensen by Patt Hensen
The difficult thing about memories is that they fade. Most every day moments are lost to time. Even special days. I have lost the memory of the last Mother’s Day I spent with my daughter, Margareta, in 2009. I’m sure it was nice and an enjoyable day, but nothing so extraordinary that it stands out in my mind.
Margareta’s preschool teacher – who is now teaching her little brother, Paxton – reminded me this week that she and I participated in the preschool’s Mother’s Day tea party a few days before that last Mother’s Day. It brought up a fuzzy memory of sitting across from Margareta at a small table sharing cookies and Peet’s tea. Then she presented me with one of the best presents I have from her: a wooden heart with her hand-written message, “I (heart) you mom!” (It still amazes me that at 3-1/2 years old, she was able to write!) She also decorated a wooden box with paint and flowers.
That fuzzy memory and my keepsakes will have to be enough.
Mother’s Day remains hard for me. I have four wonderful boys who will honor and show their appreciation for me, and I will savor their love and affection. But underneath the surface will still be the painful longing for the daughter who won’t be there to hand me the card she drew or the lovely gift she made in school. I won’t feel the warmth of her hug or hear her beautiful voice tell me she loves me.
I will do my best to temper the sadness with the reminder that I had the privilege and honor to be the mother of that amazing little girl who loved and adored me with all her heart. And that is something I will never forget.
Submitted by Maria Kubitz in loving memory of Margareta Kubitz.
I was just watching TV and saw a commercial for a local street fair in a nearby town that my family has been to before. All of the sudden a forgotten memory of my daughter, Margareta, popped into my head. What a wonderful, unexpected gift.
We had gone to the street fair about four months before she died in 2009, when she was 3-1/2 years old. I remember our family walking along looking at booths and stores when we got sucked into a local toy store. Margareta loved most toys, but stuffed animals and puppets were her favorite, which is what she gravitated to.
After a little while, I recall that we saw a little pony ride with miniature ponies on a side street. To my knowledge, Margareta had never been on a pony ride before, so we decided to let her go on it. Boy, was she happy. Her eyes were beaming and her smile was as wide as the Cheshire cat.
Afterward, we continued walking up the street. We saw a booth that was giving away balloons and got a white one for Margareta. As we were walking away, I wanted to tie a slip knot on the string and put it around her wrist so it wouldn’t fly away if she let go. Being her normal strong willed self, she refused. I was stern in my warning that if she refused and accidentally let go and lost it, we would not go back and get her another one.
Saying that my daughter was headstrong would be an understatement. When I was telling her this, I was leaning down so that our heads were on the same level. She looked me straight in the eyes and with a serious expression, purposefully let the balloon go. Honestly, I don’t know exactly what she was trying to prove, but she was very deliberate in her actions.
I don’t remember her crying, but as we walked on, she was sullen and unpleasant, and it was obvious that she was testing my resolve. The rest of the memory is fuzzy, but I do remember this: she ended up getting another balloon! Apparently she won that battle with me.
Not every memory of my daughter is a sweet one. She was a normal child, and mixed in with the wonderful times were difficult times. We had our frustrations as well as our love and fun. But now, every memory up until the day she died is precious to me because it is all I have left. I am very, very happy to have gotten this one back.
Submitted by Maria Kubitz in loving memory of her daughter, Margareta Kubitz.
I lost my ex-husband, Bill, (father to my 3 children) last July 2013. The grief struck me hard. He fought the disease of addiction. The addiction won the battle. He was just so tired and took his life. I too have seen signs via several ladybugs and one dragon fly. I believe wholeheartedly it was him trying to comfort me and let me know he was ok. I found aliveinmemory.org via a search on ladybugs and afterlife. I believe more than ever in life after death now.
Our oldest daughter, Michaela Noam, was a lively, intelligent, beautiful child who has cerebral palsy. She was thriving despite her physical limitations, and she elevated our existence and gave purpose to our lives. She unexpectedly passed away on May 23, 2009 at age 5 and a half, leaving behind not only her devastated parents, but also two younger sisters.
I had been a devoted special needs mother. I have not returned to writing and much of my non-fiction work — essays, memoir — has been published. It all has to do with Michaela. As well, I continue to fiercely advocate on behalf of the special needs population. You can follow me on Twitter @gabriellaburman.
Submitted by Gabriella Burman in loving memory of her daughter, Michaela Noam Kaplan.
I lost my husband to lung cancer just two months ago. On 22nd Jan at 3.30 am. He battled with the disease for 3 years. We were married for 7 years. And together for a total of 15. Everything I know and have learnt, is from him. He was my best friend, my boy friend, my husband, my father, mother, my sister and my brother.
Losing him slowly, everyday to the disease was painful, but nothing had prepared me for losing him to death. We were prepared for the inevitable, but nothing can prepare you to live through the inevitable without your partner, who you prepared with… I miss him very single minute of the day and night.
All my memories are with him, of him and about him. From learning to e-mail, or to use the computer properly, way back in 1998. To learning to drive, traveling to different countries, eating all kinds of food. Everything.
All my conversations were always about my experiences with him and about him and us, our life, our love story, our stories. Period. Now I can either just speak about him or not at all. I have no words to talk about anything else other than him. It’s almost like I have re-learn everything, from social graces, to conversation topics, to living my life on my own. Restarting my career. Everything. And every place I visit and re-visit, for real and in my head, it’s all with him.
It’s a process I know, it don’t have an end, and neither does it have a set pattern or map that I can follow. And it is my journey and only mine, alone. I’ve never really done anything without him. But it is nevertheless, my only option. Taking it a day at a time. The only and only philosophy that has helped me so far.
May everyone find their peace, in this journey in some way or the other.
Submitted by Purva Verma Khanna in loving memory of her husband, Sachin Khanna.
I remember you arrived in the aftermath
of hurricane Katrina
You turned my world upside-down
but in the best way possible
I remember you sleeping peacefully
surrounded by many stuffed animals
who would later become
your treasured playmates
I remember your smiles and laughter
intermixed with a quiet seriousness
as if you were contemplating
the mysteries of the universe
I remember how excited I was
when your hair was long enough to put in pigtails and braids
and how you pulled them out
because you preferred your hair free and messy
I remember the many pretty dresses
you loved to wear
and how they showed off your scrapes and bruises
from playing rough and keeping up with the big boys
I remember you asking me to sleep with you
pulling me as close as you could
face to face and noses touching
giving each other eskimo kisses
I remember your intelligence and confidence
as you started to navigate your own way
through this confusing world
and how I wished I could be more like you
I remember the joy
I remember the love
I remember you
every day and
with every breath
Submitted by Maria Kubitz in loving memory of her daughter, Margareta.
There is a time in everyone’s life when everything seems to come together like the pieces of a puzzle. We have to share the gift of our faith and of God’s love, and demonstrate how God even shows it physically to us. In my case, it is a rock – a simple rock picked up off the ground and handed to me by my child. Big Deal? How many times do our kids give us rocks, leaves, bugs?? How many times have you missed the message God sent to you through a child? I know I have several times, I wasn’t always watching, or listening close enough.
Jeremy had been sick off and on that winter (everyone was sick with colds or flu). It was Wednesday, and we were walking down to John’s shop to get into the car. I took Jeremy to school each morning to St. Joe, then would drive to the Cleaner’s where I worked (they were only about 3 blocks apart at the most). This was just an ordinary day, like every other day, as far as I was concerned. Little did I know ..this would be our last day like this.
I remember Jeremy bent down and picked up a rock and handed it to me. I asked, “What’s this for ?”
One of us said “Something to hold on to”. Being a typical parent on a typical day, I put it on the seat between us, and forgot about it.
Jeremy stayed home from school the next day. He was not feeling well so I let him stay home. I did not leave until 8:30 and would be home at 11:00 for lunch. Pooh and Shawn would be in and out during the day. And John would be home by 3:45. No problems, just a typical day in the lives of a typical family. That was Thursday, remember.
Jeremy had a restless night, I got up and sat with him during the night. At one point, he said, “Mommy, as tired as I am, you’ve got to be more tired.” I said, “Baby, when you go to sleep and get some rest, I’ll go to bed…” I covered him with a quilt. We held hands and I said, “I love you, baby,” and he said, “I love you too, Mommy.”
I know I dozed a little later. I woke up when my chin hit my chest. I looked at Jeremy who looked like he he was sleeping peacefully and I went to bed. I looked at the alarm clock. It was 2:30. I get up in 3 hours to start my day for work. I went to sleep.
The next thing I remember was John’s voice, moaning and calling my name. I went into Jeremy’s bedroom. Our son had died in his sleep. My baby was gone from his body.
I will not go into all of details from the next few days. That is not the purpose for me to write this down today. I feel like I should move onto the next part, ok? Please bear with me?
Jeremy’s funeral was on Monday. It was painful, sad, and beautiful. There was so much love around us, yet each of us felt alone in our own thoughts and emotions. Grief does that to you.
We hugged a lot, cried buckets of tears, and moved deliberately step by step. I was afraid to stop, for fear I could not begin again if I lost momentum.
Pooh and I went to do some errands on Tuesday. This was the first time I had driven my car since Thursday. I put my hand down to fasten the seat belt, and my hand touched “The Rock”. The words “something to hold onto” held a different meaning this day. I carry that rock with me now always.
Sometimes it is in my pocket, sometimes it is in my purse, but it is always with me somewhere. John picked upon the rock, but never knew the story in the beginning. He went up on our roof to get one of the rocks that Jeremy used to knock up there with a tennis racket… John still carries his rock in his pocket every day.
A plain ordinary rock…like the ones we see every day…but we ignore. We just cannot always see the meaning in all the little signs that we are given every day. We get too busy in living our crazy lives, and we miss the things that God has given to us. “His Love is the Solid Rock” that we should “Hold On To”…and never set it down.
Now I am asking each of you to pick up a rock, keep it for yourself, or give it away to some one who needs to be encouraged. Tell them it is a gift from God, through the heart of a child. Then pass on Jeremy’s story and what he told me with his rock. We never know if it might be our last chance to make a difference in their lives — or in our own life.
Hold onto the Rock! Peace be with you always, Debbie.
Written Sept 27, 2006
Submitted to Alive in Memory by Deb Jones in loving memory of her son, Jeremy.
Even from a young age, Margareta could keep herself occupied for long periods of time. Whether playing with toys or using her imagination, she would often just sit intently and concentrate on whatever it was she was doing. I appreciated this time, as it allowed me to get things done, whether it be working from home for my job or doing chores. I remember one particular time when she was 1-1/2 years old that had a funny result.
Margareta was sitting in the living room/dining room combo and occupying herself with a toy, sitting on a chest that had the kids’ art supplies in it. I was busy doing chores nearby. The chest is on the other side of a half wall separating the kitchen and dining room, so I couldn’t see exactly what she was doing, but was close enough to keep an eye and ear on her. After a little while of silence, I checked in on her and found the following:
What impressed me the most was how detailed she had been…even getting the bottom of her feet:
Miss you sweet girl!
Submitted by Maria Kubitz in loving memory of her daughter, Margareta Kubitz.
In 2010, I had crazy mornings. Getting four kids out of the house by 7:20. But we did it. I’d wake everyone up for a quick bowl of cereal in front of “Full House.” Maddie always asked for “Ciminin toast crunch, no milk” At two and half she had figured that if she skipped the milk part of the cereal, she would be the first to eat. Smart little bugger!
Anyway, once in the car we would drop Anthony and Shannon off at their school. Wait in the car until they were crossed by the crossing guard and then make the u-turn to get the 4 year old Julia off to preschool. Julia had quite the case of separation anxiety and every morning at about this point she would begin crying. Madison and I would do our best to comfort her as I inevitably had to carry her into the school building. All parents know the routine, no lingering, give the child to her teacher and walk away quickly, but Julia would always ask if Madison could stay…”Next year Julia.” Madison would inform her big sister as we were flying out the door.
Maddie was last to be dropped off at the babysitters. Alone in car she would ask me to put on Cornfllake girl (Fornflake girl) by tori amos. And then she would sign along real loud until 2 blocks before the sitters house. At this point she would got completely quiet and put her head on her shoulder. I would turn down the music and get out of the car real quietly and open the back down. While unstrapping her car seat I would ask “are you real sleeping or fake sleeping?” Madison would answer quietly “I’m real sleeping.” I would carry her in my arms like a new born into the house were I would inform the sitter, “Shh, Madison is real sleeping,” as I placed her on the couch. I would whisper my goodbyes as we all played along with game, and finally head off to work.
Submitted by Jill Ritts in loving memory of her daughter, Madison Ritts.