Welcome back, Summer! You have always been my favorite time of the year. Thinking back as far as I can to when I was a little girl, summertime always made me happy. It was a time when school was out for the year, I could go swimming at the beach and play outside for hours with my friends in the neighborhood. The 90 – 100 degree weather, with a lot of humidity, never bothered me. As a teenager, I spent almost everyday of the summer at the beach. I never cared about how sunburned I would get. There were many times when I would stay all day at the beach and by the end of the day I would have blisters on my body from being so sunburned. The pain was horrific. But, it never seemed to bother me when I was young.
Seven years ago, everything that I enjoyed about the warm weather months, changed forever. May 2010, Kayla was tired a lot, but, seemed happier than I had seen her in awhile. We took pictures in front of our house to give to my mother for Mother’s Day; it was a fun day with Kayla. But, we had no idea what was headed our way. June 2010, over the next few weeks, Kayla became fatigued, dizzy and had unexplained low grade fevers. An unusual red sore appeared on her chin. She woke up one morning and her face/cheeks were swollen; she looked as if she had just had her wisdom teeth removed. Her pale skin became whiter. July 3, 2010, Kayla’s diagnosis – acute myeloid leukemia; AML. September 22, 2010, Kayla took her last breath. Since then, my summers have not been the same. Now, when there is a hint of warm weather in the air, my mind always goes back to the summer of 2010. I can still remember the smell of the hospital when walking into it from the heat outside. It was always so cold in the hospital and I wore a jacket the entire time we were there. I can still taste the hospital food that I forced myself to eat while worrying if Kayla would survive. I can still see all of the images in my mind of Kayla slowly slipping away from us. The sound of birds singing in the trees always remind me of the day of her funeral. It was a beautiful sunny and hot day. And, the trees were full of birds chirping; the sound still brings me right back to that devastating day. And, for a very long time, I could not stand to hear a bird whatsoever.
Thankfully, Summer, the last few seasons with you have gotten a little easier. It took me a few years to get there. The warm weather still takes me back to the last few months of Kayla’s life. But, I am learning to appreciate this time of year again; school is out, swimming at the beach, spending time with family and friends and enjoying the beautiful sounds of birds that fill the trees.