Counting Your Blessings

Hearing the laughter of my children, talking to my mother at least once a day, and the 17 years, 9 months and 22 days I had with Kayla; this is simply scratching the surface of some of the blessings that I count everyday.  I know that there are times when I get too busy to appreciate all of the wonderful things in my life.  But, when I stop and really think about how God has blessed me, I am so much more thankful, grateful and appreciative for all that I have in my life.  I think as I became an adult and a mother I began to recognize the little things in life that I should not take for granted.  However, since Kayla died, I now value and treasure anything and everything good, no matter how small or large it may seem to others.  I used to think that if I can just make it through the rough teenage years with my girls, one day, we would be okay and the best of friends.  Now, I appreciate the fact that they are simply able to just wake up each morning, laugh, cry….breathe…..Have you ever wondered how a young teen finds her blessings after the death of her sister?  Can you imagine being a young child or teen and losing your sister to cancer?  I only know what it feels like as a parent to have my child die from leukemia.  Therefore, I cannot feel the same pain that Allison or Ashley experiences because they lost their sibling.  Ashley, my gorgeous 7-year-old, copes with her loss of Kayla in an innocent and matter-of-fact kind of way.  She will tell anyone that will listen that she has two sisters and one of them had cancer, died and now lives in Heaven.  And, she can say this without any tears flowing and in such a positive way; almost, like she has something better in her family than the other 7-year-old’s in the 1st grade.  I love her sweet and courageous attitude.  And, I wish I could be more like her.  My beautiful and now 15-year old daughter, Allison, has no idea of the strength and wisdom that she gives me.  I try to tell her, but, I probably don’t do that good of a job expressing myself to her.  I’m sure that most of what I say to her sounds more like Charlie Brown’s teacher, “Wah, wah, wah, wah.”  But, my heart breaks so much for Allison.  As I have said in a previous blog, she always depended on Kayla to guide her to make the best decisions and choices in life.  And, now Allison has taken on the role of being the oldest sister and not by her own choice.  She has to figure out many things on her own now because Kayla is not there for her.  Of course, I am always here for my children.  But, I am their mother and not their sister whom they admired and looked up to.  Taking over for Kayla can be extremely stressful and exhausting for Allison.  But, she is doing an incredible and awesome job; I have no doubt that Kayla is very proud of her.  Thankfully, she has found an outlet for her pain, grief and sorrow.  Allison truly has a gift for writing.  Once I discovered how well she could write, I began encouraging her to express herself on paper as often as possible.  Her writings are beautiful, meaningful, fulfilling and give me hope.  If you would like to take a peek into the heart and soul of a young teen girl who had to let go of her sister forever, but, can still count her many blessings in life, please read below:

by Allison Jones –

“I hate people who take things for granted.  I was scrolling through my news feed on Facebook and I saw someone post a status saying how their life is “falling apart.”  I don’t know them personally, but I know their life isn’t.  It angered me so much.  I would like to take that person up to Children’s Health Care of Atlanta and show them all the kids who are terminally ill and are fighting for their lives. None of those kids have had a taste of life, yet.  They have to adapt to a new life which is being hooked up to an iv pole at all times, taking countless numbers of pills, and being wiped out from chemotherapy.  Their new home is a hospital room with a tiny bed and a bathroom you can barely move around in.  But the funny thing is most of those kids try to make the best out of it even though that’s not where they want to be.  When Kayla was in the hospital, it would hurt my heart when I would see a little kid push his iv pole down to the elevator, while his parents were walking behind him and you can just see the exhaustion on their faces and wanting their boy to be okay and survive.  I know I was a sibling of someone who had cancer, but as a parent, how do you do that?  How do watch your child suffer and you can’t do anything about it?  My heart breaks for all the families who have suffered a loss from cancer.  I thought I would always have Kayla, physically, around, but God had something different in mind.  So, don’t ever take ANYTHING for granted. Count all your blessings that God has given you.  You may think that you have it bad, but if you look over your shoulders someone has it way worse than you could ever have it.  Be thankful for what you have and love on your family at all times.  You never know when something tragic could happen.  I never expected to have to deal with something so painful.  I thought 3 divorces was about as bad as it could get, but I think losing my sister beat out 3 divorces.”

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About MomMinus1

Welcome to my blog, momminus1 (mom minus one). I am a mother of three beautiful girls, Kayla 17, Allison 13 and Ashley 5. One of my daughters recently became an angel; Kayla passed away on September 22, 2010 due to complications from AML leukemia. She was diagnosed on July 3, 2010. She endured harsh chemotherapy treatments, hair loss, rare and painful skin disorders, horrible stomach infections, weakness, loss of appetite, depression, anxiety and fear. From the time she was diagnosed until the day she died it was just 81 days..... A short, but, horrific battle with cancer. I am always asked, "How are you doing? What can I do for you? How are your two girls doing?" At times, these are tough questions to answer. And, I express myself best when I write. Writing is so helpful and therapeutic for me. Maybe I can answer these questions for those that are concerned about us. Maybe I can help another mom that might wake up tomorrow and find out that their child is diagnosed with cancer. Maybe there is a mom somewhere, like me, that just lost a child to cancer and is searching the web for answers. She might be thinking, "Is there anyone out there that understands what I'm going through?" I understand. I am grieving. I am in pain. I have a big piece of my heart that is now gone.....I would love your feedback about my blog, too. Thanks for reading!
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6 Responses to Counting Your Blessings

  1. Cyndi Amerson says:

    Like Mother like Daughter, with her writing ability. She has the gift at an early age to see how life can really be, amazing!

  2. Jaz says:

    A friend of mine shared this on his facebook page. I truly admire your courage to pick up and try to move on without one of your babies. I don’t think I would have the strength, but as a mother of 2 girls myself I do understand the need to be strong for your other 2. I lost my father in 2009 to Squamous Cell Carcinoma. Losing a parent is hard enough, I can’t imagine losing one of my babies. Your daughter’s outlook on life after losing her sister is truly inspiring. Take a bow, Mom, you’re doing an amazing job. I know I’m a stranger, however my thoughts and prayers will be with you and your family that you and your children will only get stronger as you recover from this most devastating loss. My most sincere condolences to you for this most tragic loss you’ve suffered.

  3. judy says:

    allison, your writing is so beautiful and it shows what a wonderful, caring person you are. i know kayla is so proud of you. i love you and am so proud to have you as my niece. tell your mom i know where you get your writing skills . i love you all…..judy

  4. Jessa says:

    Amber,
    Your blog posts always make me think how blessed am I really am. Tell Allison that I cannot imagine her pain, her feelings. Love to all of you.

  5. Susan B says:

    Allison, it isn’t fair that Kayla is gone and you lost your sister. Be kind to yourself. Live your life knowing your sister wants you to be good to yourself and family. When you are angry, and hurt and no one is making any sense talk out loud to Kayla, any time you want, because I believe she can hear you, and if you are still and listening, you will hear her speaking inside your heart. The more you do this the louder her voice will get. You’ll know it’s her because your thoughts will clear and your stomach will calm; it will just feel right. You are never alone Allison.

  6. MomMinus1 says:

    Susan…..Thank you so much for your beautiful comments to my daughter, Allison. She really enjoyed reading it and you made her smile today. I think it’s so important to remember that siblings hurt, too, when they endure the death of their sister or brother. Thank you for encouraging her to reach out to Kayla. I, also, believe she can hear us…….

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