Post by Butterflygirl on Jun 3, 2010 16:03:46 GMT -8
January 12, 1969 - June 2, 2010
My daughter passed away last night. She was 41. She had two daughters, Isabelle and Hailey and she had been married to her husband Monty for 20 years. I wrote about Kathy in my book The Art of Changing.
Like President Obama, Kathy had a black father and white, single-parent mother. I almost gave her up for adoption because they did that a lot in those days (1968). But I kept her and loved her with all of my heart.
Last night my son was attacked by a man with a knife and a pit bull. He barely escaped with his life. It is so eerie to have one child spared and one child taken at the exact same moment. I don't ask why. That was God's decision and I trust him/her.
I am going to use this thread to grieve and eulogize my precious daughter. Right now I am still in shock, but I will be back.
Post by Butterflygirl on Jun 3, 2010 16:22:35 GMT -8
Kathy and Jasmyne
I had a really difficult time forgiving myself for neglecting my son Karl and my daughter Kathy. Even as I write this I feel a lot of guilt. However, since recognizing what I did to them I have apologized and made what they call in 12-step programs a “living amends.” This means doing now what you would have done then if you could go back in time. With my daughter Kathy this process took on new meaning when she decided to have children, and little did I know when she got pregnant that I would soon have an opportunity to make a significant amends to her and begin to forgive myself.
In 1994, Kathy got pregnant. I was ecstatic. I wanted very much to be a grandmother and have a second chance at parenting. I knew Kathy and her husband Monty would make good parents and that the cycle of dysfunction would be broken by them.
Early in June, three months before she was due, Kathy went into labor and did not even know it. She thought she was having a backache. By the time Monty rushed her to the hospital the baby’s little foot had started to come out. The doctor said that if the delivery could be delayed just too weeks the baby would have a chance. We prayed. We begged God. Monty even dreamed the baby would wait. On June 16, 1994, at 11:04 <m>p.m.<m>, Jasmyne Marie Snyder was born. She weighed one and one-half pounds. Monty was too nervous to be in the operating room (Kathy had a cesarian) so I was there when little Jasmyne came out. She was perfect.
We watched over Jasmyne for fourteen days while she struggled to hang on. During this time, my heart ached for my daughter. The pain was as sharp as a knife. I had to ask God, “Why are you doing this? Kathy does not deserve this. Punish me. I am the one who failed at parenting. Give Kathy a chance to be a mother.” The waiting made me sick. Jasmyne sucked in the air of her ventilator. Her little swollen hand reached out to me. When she grabbed my hand it was as if she was pulling out a plug and tears came rushing out of me.
Jasmyne passed away on June 29, 1994. They took her off the ventilator and we all rushed down to the hospital chapel. Kathy couldn’t bear to be there and asked me if I would stand in for her. I was afraid, but I had to do this for my daughter. The doctor, pastor, nurse, Monty, and I all sat side-by-side. We each held her in turn. A moment after she was placed in my arms she stopped breathing. I was the last one to be with her on this earth. Later, Kathy told me how grateful she was. It was at that moment that I felt I had finally made my amends to her and for the first time I could really begin to forgive myself.
At Jasmyne’s funeral I felt moved to read a poem I had written years earlier.
A Brighter Tomorrow
Life may take a downward spiral And overwhelm us for awhile.
Pain may seem a way of life; Endless moments filled with strife.
Gloom may settle in our soul, Splitting that which once was whole.
And yet despite this painful rift, There still exists a timeless gift.
The saving grace when all is gray, God's promise of a brand new day.
For some reason I emphasized the phrase “God’s Promise.” Three months later, Monty announced that Kathy was pregnant again. “We were supposed to wait a year, he said,” but it just happened. If it is a girl we are going to name her Isabelle. “Why Isabelle?” I asked. “I don’t know,” he said, “It just came to me.”
I immediately called the library (this was before the Internet) and asked the research librarian what Isabelle meant. She looked it up and said, “It means God’s oath.” “What does that mean?” I asked. “You know,” she said, “God’s promise.”
Today, Isabelle is a lovely child, full of promise and full of beans — just like her grandmother. What have I learned? God is amazing and he never forsakes us — something to live for
Post by Butterflygirl on Jun 5, 2010 14:23:24 GMT -8
Day three is a disaster. I tried to get out of bed to go to church with my granddaughters and son-in-law and couldn't do it. I have nausea and a headache. I guess I need to eat as I am dizzy. It has finally hit me that my baby is gone.
Post by Butterflygirl on Jun 10, 2010 15:43:51 GMT -8
Friday, June 11, 2010. We will put Kathy's urn in the ground. She has two grandparents on either side and a great uncle beneath her. Under the grave of her Nana is her daughter Jasmyne
Saturday, June 12, 2010 We will have a memorial service for Kathy.
We are expecting at least 200 people as Kathy was very popular. She was the church secretary and was in charge of all the weddings and funerals held at the Church. She was the class mother for both of her daughters. Her boss, the pastor, didn't even know how to change the message on the phone without her to tell him how. Some important people from the SDA council will be there to help the family through this as well as the whole church and Christian Academy.
Post by Butterflygirl on Jun 10, 2010 17:23:31 GMT -8
My Eulogy (short version)
I was thrilled to find out I was carrying Kathy. I had always wanted to be a mother. She was due in February, but decided to appear on January 12, 2009. The best I could tell, she was conceived during the “Summer of Love” in the Haight Asbury district of San Francisco.
My little hippie baby was eight pounds and 21 inches. All I remember about her labor was my mom telling me “I know I lied about this being a wonderful experience, but if I told the truth you would never have kids.”
Kathy was a fussy baby but so beautiful that people literally stopped me in the street to tell me so.
As a little girl Kathy clung to me and her grandmother (Nana) but by the time she was in school she was the most popular child in her class.
For much of her schooling Kathy went to Golden Gate Academy, but in the eleventh grade she transferred to El Cerrito High School from where she graduated in 1987.
I sent Kathy to community college but in the middle of her second year she announced she had “met someone.” But she never stopped going to college. For years and years she took one class at a time working toward her credential to be a probation office.
Kathy and Monty had a beautiful wedding. Everyone at the Berkeley Seventh Day Adventist Church pitched in. I made her gown and Nana baked the most beautiful cake I have ever soon.
Monty and Kathy lived in San Leandro for awhile and then Dublin. They finally settled in Concord. I give Monty credit for this. Kathy was a spender and he was the one who saved enough to buy a house.
Kathy got pregnant on schedule and we were thrilled. As most of you know, however, we lost little Jasmnye Marie Snyder.
Soon after (sooner than expected or advised by the doctor) Isabelle came into the world. Kathy had to spend 5 weeks in the hospital to ensure her safe arrival. I still remember Monty walking out of the delivery room holding her in his arms.
It took awhile to get Hailey into the family, but eventually she arrived looking just like her dad (except that she had hair).
Kathy was a wife and mother. Yes she would have made a good probation officer, but her calling was her family. She did not get her expertise from me. It was truly a gift from God. Everyone who has ever met her can attest to that.
There is a hole in many hearts now that we will all have to fill with our love for Monty and the girls. [/color]
Post by Butterflygirl on Jun 19, 2010 18:34:08 GMT -8
Someone who doesn't like me just said, "It doesn't look to me like you are even grieving."
Like I needed to hear that . . .
When I was 14 my brother was electrocuted and while people stood around visiting I cleaned the kitchen. Someone said, "Isn't Susan a brave little soldier." I thought that what they said was a good thing so I have tried to be stoic at the last 14 funerals I have attended.
But that does not mean I am not grieving. I do miss my daughter. I just can't cry yet. I am mute.
Also, losing Kathy has brought back the pain of losing my mother and Sandra. I am afraid to just let go.
I have a question for God. Why are people so mean? Is it mental illness? Our they displacing their own pain onto me. I don't know I just know they are wearing me down.
Post by Butterflygirl on Jun 20, 2010 18:57:58 GMT -8
(Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Women Who run With the Wolves.) Tears are a river that take you somewhere. Weeping creates a river around the boat that carries your soul life. Tears lift your boat off the rocks, off the dry ground, carrying it down river to someplace new, someplace better. There are oceans of tears women have never cried, for they have been trained to carry mother’s and father’s secrets to the grave. A woman’s crying has been considered quite dangerous, for it loosens the locks and bolts on the secrets she bears. But in truth, for the sake of a woman’s wild soul, it is better to cry. For women, tears are the beginning of initiation into the Scar Clan, that timeless tribe of women of all colors, all nations, all languages, who down through the ages have lived through a great something, and yet who stood proud.
Post by Butterflygirl on Jun 21, 2010 18:59:31 GMT -8
center]Sympathy, empathy, compassion . . . all these wonderful gifts from God are seeing me through.
Empathy is considered a sign of emotional intelligence. When Isabelle was three years old she saw her father crying. She got this serene look on her face, walked over to him, and patted him on his shoulder. "It's going to be ok Daddy." she said. I was floored.[/center]
Post by Butterflygirl on Jun 21, 2010 19:09:54 GMT -8
For those who have asked . . . there is no known cause of death. Monty woke up and Kathy was gone. She died in her sleep. We are waiting for a toxicology report (about 8 weeks). The last time I waited for an autopsy report was when Sandra passed away. It is frustrating.
Update. Kathy died from an overdose of the medication she was taking for her arthritis. I don't know the details. It was ruled an accident.
Post by Butterflygirl on Dec 11, 2010 1:26:15 GMT -8
Susan. I read your blogs about your granddaughter, Kathy, Monty, Karl, and yourself. I hope that some of the grieving all over the place has by now been lifted. Kathy is in a better place and is appreciative of the way she was designed to be remembered. No more punishment from you. Don't worry, be happy! You can't change God's plan. We just need to trust in him more. Thinking of you! Thank you for making me feel like I am part of your extended family. You are the best!