When Life Changes…


I wrote the date for a check today (yep, there are still some uses for those things!). January 8. “Wow,” I thought, “Kit would have been 31 today.”

I’ve been having flashbacks a lot the past four weeks, and they mostly center on how different life is from 10-15 years ago. 10 years ago today, I was flying a styrofoam airplane in a Hays, Kansas field and in my own way saying good-bye to a friend.

Kit died 3 weeks before his 21st birthday from a pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lungs). My dad called me on a December morning right after I had talked with him the night before. I knew someone had died, and I thought it was one of my grandpas. I wasn’t prepared for the shock that it was one of my friends from high school who I respected greatly. I’d attended his wedding only 6 months prior.

My ritual through the rest of finals week was to get up, change into a new set of pajama pants and t-shirt and replace my tear and snot soak sweatshirt with a clean one. It was my first experience with grief. Thankfully, I had some amazing roommates who were incredibly supportive and reminded me that whatever comes out in grieving is normal. If you need to laugh, cry, sleep, go crazy…whatever, just do that.

Kit introduce me and our mutual friends to the best form of entertainment EVER – the $5 styrofoam airplane. This isn’t a mini-flyer. It has a 4-6 foot wingspan. The entire point of getting one was to not only fly it around, but see how long it takes to totally demolish the sucker. So, to grieve, remember, and have fun, my friend Lisa and I met over my lunch break to fly a “Kit airplane.” The wind was moderate to strong that day, and it was a great day for flying, but since we were in an open field there was little opportunity for destruction.

It’s funny how these seemingly simple and little things are huge emotional markers for me. I don’t want to live in the past nor do I pine to be the person I was. But there is a sense for the loss over time.  Not feeling too old or that time has slipped away. Rather, you realize how much life has passed since those significant events. How much has changed in your ideals, goals, and faith. I pray a prayer of thankfulness every time I realize the destructive patterns I have left behind since then. And I pray a constant, “Lord, have mercy” for those that I have yet to leave or even realize.

Memory eternal, Kit. You are missed. Thank you for your prayers. P.S. I’m not who I was 10 years ago.

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