You know how certain events trigger memories? You walk into a room or hear a song, and a memory floods every pore of your body. You know those memories? The ones where the emotions overwhelm you and you are crippled by them once again, if only for a minute.
Orange Conference is one such event for me. Unfortunately, it’s one I can’t avoid. I work for the company that puts it on each year. It’s kinda important that I be there. Every year, I am overwhelmed. Not just with the workload, stress, and excitement of the conference. I’m overwhelmed with memories of past conferences. Memories of phone calls.
My first Orange Conference, I was working when I got a phone call from my Katie. I had to step outside from the chaos so I could understand her words even though I didn’t want to hear them. The cancer. It was back. We chatted awhile. Made a plan of attack. I went back inside, found a comforting co-worker and cried. My heart was breaking.
Fast forward two years to 2010. We’d been through multiple chemo options, each one worse on her than the previous. We thought we were getting a handle on it. It was time for the Orange Conference again. I got another phone call. I was standing in practically the same place as I had been two years before. This one wasn’t good either. Everything we’d been doing wasn’t working at all. It was growing. It just wasn’t good. My heart was breaking again.
Fast forward to this year. I’d given the eulogy at my Katie’s Celebration Service two and a half months previous. I’d mourned. I’d cried. I’d rejoiced. I’d even gone almost entire days without feeling sad.
But, I wasn’t prepared. I hadn’t thought about how overwhelming the memory rush would be when I walked into the conference center. I’d considered it briefly during preparations for the conference. But, I wasn’t prepared.
I stood in my same spot that I stand every year. I remembered each phone call. I remembered the heartbreak. I remembered the pain. I let it wash over me. I even cried a little. Because I knew I wouldn’t get a phone call this year. I couldn’t.
Then, I heard a little whisper. I felt a little voice. And, I knew she was there with me even as I was overcome with sadness. I remembered that where she is, has no pain. Where she is, has no suffering. Where she is, there is nothing but joy. Where she is, I can’t wait to be.
My baby girl, I know it hurts. I get tears every time you write about it. And I know how you will move with and through this grief, loving your Katie forever.
I am so sorry for your loss. This kind of loss is never easy. I am glad you are finding some moments of peace and that you know she is eternal.