Love: Frozen In Time

May 7, 2012

Yesterday I spent the day with my son-in-law, Chris.  We were at his house going through some of the many boxes of Katherine’s “stuff” that are still taking up valuable space in his basement—now 2 years after her death.  This second anniversary of her death is coming up on Wednesday.

I wanted to do something that was meaningful this year to commemorate this time besides crying all day, which is what happened last year.

I braced myself before heading over there.   I was bound and determined to make this time meaningful, not morose.

We started diving into the boxes that contained pictures taken from her camera—which means they were photos I had never seen before.  I was so delighted to be immersed in new material….and none of them was taken in her ‘”chemo” years—they were shot in healthy, vibrant, silly, frivolous natural growing up and young adult times.  They were of her travels and parties, school and family…..all mixed up, back and forth, and many many many of them.  There were photos of smoking in college trying to be a rebel, her pierced belly button, awful depressing days while studying abroad in Berlin during her junior year in college with four other dear but also depressed friends as they suffered the poverty of their pocketbooks and that city as it tried to rebuild its economy—and Berlin’s sun hard ever shined.

And then I found “The Box”.  A plastic Target storage see-through container, just loaded with what looked like a specially gathered collection of her favorite letters. I opened letter after letter from family members and dear friends.  I put the ones from others into special piles to give to them later.

But something very special happened.  I will never experience this ever again.  It was a place, a space, truly “frozen in time”.  It was an afternoon spent reading letter after letter from me to Katie.  There  were birthday cards, encouraging cheerleading letters before her first set of college finals, cartoon cut-out collages being silly and longing to connect with her when  she lived overseas for years at a time.

What I realize now is that I was watching/reading years of outpouring of Katie-love over time.  It was a fast forward deluge of affection and demonstrative descriptions of my sheer delight in who she was as she negotiated the teenage and young adult passages of her life.  I was sitting there in Chris’s livingroom in real time, but transported into sacred time—a special crevice of grace-filled “no-time”—watching me love her over and over again, letter after letter. It felt like a solid rock of mega-memory.  Yet the miraculous thing that was transpiring at a meta level was the specific deep articulation of another message—from her to me—a reaching back to me, from Katie, to whisper as loudly as she could:


I was immersed for hours in mother heaven. Ironically, as I sit down to write this, I am reminded of something else I haven’t been aware of until right now. Katie died on Mother’s Day 2010.  Yesterday in Chris’s livingroom she reached through to provide me a Mother’s Day present for this year.  It truly felt like  being with her. A beautiful space frozen in time, for all time, from beyond the veil.

I love you, sweetheart.

12 Responses to “Love: Frozen In Time”

  1. Such a wonderful written sharing of your time yesterday. It was good. It was NOT morose. Not regretful. Not empty. It was full. Full to the brim. “My cup runneth over” – she knew you loved her, she KNEW you loved her. There was no way she would not have known. There is nothing more beautiful. Love never ends.

  2. You received such a beautiful gift. I’m so glad it was there to find and cherish.

    • Kay said

      Me too. We never plan for such surprises and sometimes we don’t even know until the gift is behind us and it sifts through to reflection: What was THAT? And then the WOW comes. And then the thanksgiving.

  3. Christina said

    That was so beautiful. I think it makes a huge difference to those who have died to see our memories of them, good and bad, to have our love pouring out to them. I have heard that they see our memories as living pictures, and that it is so important to them to have those memories be alive for us so they can be there with us through them. I am sure that the day you spent reading those letters was a day that she treasured as much as you did, and that she was there much more than we can imagine when we believe that what we see is all there is.

    • Kay said

      I have two reactions to your comments: “How can we ever possibly know?” is one of them. The second one is a WHOLEHEARTED “YES YES YES” to your recognition of a knowing that we will never know. We live somewhere in the middle of those two realities and I’d rather be in the second one with you! Thanks for reading and your thoughtful response, as always it is so very thoughtful.

    • Kay said

      Love to you, as always. They are capital-T-Treasures, to be sure!

  4. Great piece, and so glad for the gift you received from a task you had dreaded. Keep writing.

  5. Hello Kay. I don’t know you, and I didn’t know Katherine. I clicked on your blog because you clicked on mine. I wanted to say how touched I was by your post. It made me pause, and think, and wonder. It feels very honest, heartfelt without being sentimental. Beautiful and sad. Your love and that of your daughter’s shines through. Best wishes from England. Tom

    • Kay said

      Wow, Tom. Thank you so much. I hadn’t blogged in a month and hadn’t been checking to see if anyone was listening—and then there you were, sending me care from across the planet with words I long to hear. It’s remarkable how feedback from those you don’t know provides a view of your work that those who love you, “contaminated” by their hopes and desire for you to do well, just can’t provide. If my Katherine rings true to you from my blog so far, then I am elated. It’s hard to cram the voluminous amount of knowledge that I hold about her and our journey into a concise bunch of sentences. It always leaves me wanting. But, I will now set out again, with your kind encouragement, and will think of your ear bending my way when I write.

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