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Easter: Celebrating Life; Recovering From Loss

As we are all aware, today is Easter, a day that signifies rebirth as well as the unofficial beginning of Spring.

Today is also a bit more personal for me, as it is also what would've been my cousin Kate's 35th birthday.

My last picture with Kate at my sister's house. Me (left), Kate (center), my sister Erin (right)
I've written before about her untimely death this past October and her impact on my life. Especially with one of her last Facebook posts about wearing your good jewelry.

Not only am I remembering Kate today, but in less than a week, Kate's family and friends will be gathering to celebrate her life and legacy and laying her to rest in our home state of Kansas, alongside our grandparents.

I feel that it's somewhat ironic and cathartic that her first heavenly birthday falls on such a significant occasion as Easter. 

As the days lengthen and the air warms, flowers are beginning to bloom. Kate's favorites were sunflowers. While it might have something to do with them being the state flower of Kansas, they have always brought me joy and comfort, as well...especially now that she's gone.

A few weeks ago, like a sign from her, I received some "easy to grow" sunflower seeds. I was hoping I would have them blooming by now, but my black thumb is apparently no match for Divine Intervention. 

While I still hold out hope for an on-coming sunflower sprout soon, I am comforted by the lilac bushes beginning to return to life in my yard.

See, last year, when we bought this house, I told the bf that, while I'm not much of a gardener, I wanted one lilac bush in our yard, because, Kate and my, grandma had them everywhere and they remind me of home and our childhood. 

I didn't realize that ALL of the tree-looking things throughout our backyard were lilacs until our seller mentioned it. He had trimmed them to be somewhat unrecognizable, but lilacs they are and I considered them to be another sign that I was home.

I wish Kate could've seen them and smelled least once, but I'm sure she's surrounded by them up there and dancing through fields of sunflowers.

I'm still coping with my grief. Still trying to wrap my head around her being gone forever, but I find comfort in the little day-to-day things that remind me of her...things I know she would've loved, like Golden Girls memorabilia, cute cats, dogs, wine, good music...

This past week, my niece and her new husband came to visit on their honeymoon. It worked out that there was a concert happening one of the nights. I was aware of it because of the opener, Sean McConnell (who is amazing, btw), but I unfortunately was not familiar with the music of the headlining band, NEEDTOBREATHE (who, come to find out, are from where Courtney lives in South Carolina. Signs, right??). 

Well, I wasn't, but I am now.

That night, they played a song called "Be Here Long" and right away, thoughts of Kate entered my mind and I feel like it finally helped me cross over the denial threshold in my grieving.  

Music has always been cathartic to me. I truly believe that no matter the situation, there is a song for it and this is no different. 

The funny part is that I couldn't remember the name of the song. So, when I got home, I started going through their entire library. After about an hour of searching, I still hadn't found it. Finally, in a moment of frustration I cried, "Come on, Kate, help me out here."

Wouldn't you know, the next song I tried was undeniably it. The lyrics and beautiful melody washed over me, and I won't lie, I lost it.

All of the emotion over her loss that I'd been keeping pent up since October finally came out as I listened on repeat. I like to think she was there. I like to think she still is. 

Someday, I hope to find out.

So, I'll leave you with some of the lyrics and a link to their music. 

Maybe it will help you, too, if need be.

"And though my heart may be in pieces, my eyes are still set on you.
And though I can't keep it together, I know that you want me to.
Oh, I'm swimming in the grief and there's no anchor that could hold me down.
I don't want any relief, because I don't want to let you go right now...

Your moments were a charity, they gave me more than I could lose.
Yeah, I know you found the promised land, but I'm still here and I'm missing you.

Close my eyes and think of you.
Go to sleep and dream of you.
We don't get to be here long.
I gave you the best of me, loved you more than anything, but we don't get to be here long."

And remember to always wear your good jewelry,



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