If I had to pick one picture that captures the grace and love of my sister as she faced her last days on Earth, it might be this one.
I had rented a wheelchair for Kass because she was having trouble walking and could not get around as well as she used to. She was tired. Both her legs and her mind had grown weary. But, her heart? Her heart was fierce and strong.
It was a perfect Saturday in June 2012. The three of us, Kass, me and Josie; spent the entire day together. Kass wanted to go to the mall to “feel normal for a day.” She wanted to take Josie to the Gap to buy her some clothes. I pushed her around the mall and could not help but notice people watching us. I knew that everyone who looked must have made the connection to Josie, who walked beside us. They knew they were mother and daughter by the gentle way they interacted together. My hope that day was seeing Kass and Josie that day made them pause and appreciate their own blessings, if only for a moment.
We went to the Gap, but I had trouble maneuvering Kass’s wheelchair through the clothes racks, which were jammed so close together that a wheelchair could not pass. I ended up parking the chair in the middle of an aisle and asking Kass to tell me what to grab for her. Kass was so good at picking out cute outfits. She always had been. She was so stylish and beautiful all those years. Josie seemed excited. Kass smiled, which made me smile.
We left the mall and stopped for ice cream. And then, we went to the park. As Josie played close by, Kass and I talked about the future. It was in these moments that I forever changed as a person. Written words could never capture how a conversation like this affects you to the depths of your soul. Listening to Kass’s words that day made me realize there was no going back to life as normal. While we talked, Kass shared with me her hopes and her dreams for her daughter, and to this day the thought of it makes me weep.
When we left the park, we returned to Kass’s home. I asked if she wanted to go for a walk up the road. She looked at me perplexed. “We can’t use the wheelchair on the gravel road.” I said, “Wanna bet? Let’s try.” And, off the three of us went down the gravel road outside of her house. For the most part, our walk was quiet, as we both contemplated our conversation from earlier in the park.
On our way back to the house, I saw Josie grab her Mommy’s hand and keep on walking. I quickly and quietly took this picture. I’m not even sure I ever showed it to Kass. But, I know in my heart how much she would have loved it. They stayed like this for some time. I saw Kass wipe at her tears.
Today, I share this special moment to celebrate the huge heart, bright smile, charisma, grace, strength, and inner beauty of my dear, sweet sister whom I remember and miss with every breath. She remains my greatest example of grace. How did she ever make peace with letting go of her little girl, whom she loved so much?
It’s been five years since you went to Heaven, and I want to simply say:
Thank you for showing me the path to grace and love, Kass. Not one day has passed since the day we said goodbye that your life here on Earth has been forgotten. Not a single day. And, so shall it be for as long as those of us who loved you continue to share the gifts and lessons of love you left behind and to shine a light on the genuine goodness and kindness in your heart.
There will never be another you, and there will never be another us. My soul sister. My best friend, secret-keeper, holder of truth, bearer of hope, and vessel of love.
I’ll keep telling the world, especially Josie, that we lost one of life’s greatest treasures the day you had to go. I find peace in knowing that Dad is with you now, and that you both continue to watch over us from above. It’s for this reason that I spend so much time looking up….
I loved you in all of my yesterdays, I feel you in every today, and I will look for you with the dawn of every tomorrow….until I see you again, sweet Kass…..