My son is incredibly powerful.
“Think of your child then, not as dead, but as living; not as a flower that has withered, but as one that is transplanted, and touched by a Divine hand is blooming in richer colors and sweeter shades than those of earth.”– Richard Hooker
Time for another one of those raw & real posts. It’s hard to write about, but it’s the truth, and it’s mine. Bear with me.
Last night, after a very rough evening, I made the decision that God was not real. I told myself that God is something that people make up in their head in order to make themselves feel better about the terrible things that happen in life. To give us peace in our time of sorrow, and to find comfort thinking of those we love in a fictional Heaven.
My day started off good yesterday. I got up and talked with Scott, enjoyed another day back at work, and met my mom for a post-surgery doctor’s appointment that went well. I decided to finish the last part of my day making work calls at home. And then the storm rolled in.
I stepped in a huge pile of my dog’s puke.
It was all over my beautiful rug, all over another pair of shoes sitting on the rug, and all over the current shoes on my feet. I wanted to scream. I wanted to cry. I wanted to throw things. I wanted to cause pain to anyone else in this world. Why does every single task have to be so damn difficult?
I just didn’t have time for this. I’m doing everything I can to just simply work and create my new normal, and there’s always something. I did my best to clean the mess, and went back to work. I stayed focused, motivated, and accomplished tasks. Then a frustrating text about one of my businesses came in, and it threw another wrench in my day. It never fails, as I get my head above water, life knocks me back under.
I was done. Mentally and emotionally spent. I went to my store to work, and felt absolutely empty. For the first time in my entire life, I truly questioned my faith in God. There is no possible way that He could allow all of this pain and heartbreak. I decided in that moment for certain, being a good person does not pay off. God is not real.
I wanted to say such hurtful things to ease my anger. I wanted to text and email painful words to others that made them hurt as badly as I hurt. I needed to cause them the same amount of pain that they were causing me. I typed my angry and mean words out in my phone’s notes. I could feel the hateful words pouring out of me. I wished I could cause in others, the soul crushing pain I felt. But I just couldn’t.
I felt so bad when Scott woke up in Russia, and I had to tell him how my day ended horribly after he went to sleep. I wanted to hide it because I knew he’d feel helpless an ocean away from me. But I also knew that wouldn’t help either of us. So I was honest, and he was heartbroken for me.
Today, I woke up feeling okay. I went to my first work appointment and then to counseling. I was going to cancel the appointment because I didn’t want to be there. But I went.
It was there that I had one of the biggest realizations of the last 6 weeks. I was sharing my anger and frustration, and the horrible pain I wanted to inflict onto others the night before. My counselor then told me she wasn’t going to let me mask my true feelings with anger.
And that’s exactly what I was doing. I broke down and cried. I couldn’t stop the tears. All of the things I was “angry” about, weren’t really feelings of anger. I am hurt, I am betrayed, and I am heartbroken. And when I finally allowed myself to feel the pain that I was shielding with anger, I finally started to begin my journey through it.
It’s remarkable how it feels to become more self-aware. To truly take time to identify why you feel the way you feel. Saying those mean and horrible things wouldn’t have made me feel any better. In fact, I would have felt worse. I wasn’t actually dealing with my emotions, I was masking the pain with anger. It’s so much easier to do that, yet completely useless in my healing. I need to feel and process the pain. I see that now.
I told God as I denounced Him last night, that if He wanted me to believe, I needed a sign. And I needed a big one, one that I would recognize. I knew it wouldn’t happen, because God was not real.
I went about my day, and decided to walk into a business that had recently moved. There I saw an unexpected familiar face. We discussed the approaching hockey season, and my upcoming trip to Russia. She then asked me a question about Kellan that I had never been asked before. How did we decide on his name?
What a thoughtful and special question. The story of his name is in fact one of my favorites. A story that I only learned after his death. So I shared it with her.
Scott and I had been trying to come up with a name, and of course my husband likes to take time to process. Unbeknownst to me, he apparently decided to go through all of the MLB rosters, and there he found a baseball player with the name Kellen. After doing further research, he found it had an Irish background. It meant brave, independent, determined, courageous. He sent the name to me and I loved it as well. We made a small tweak, and spelled in Kellan.
After Kellan’s death, I learned how much thought and care my husband put into finding the name. I loved it even more. We knew Kellan would have the middle name Albert after my dad. What I never told anyone, not even today as I told the story, was that after we won the Robertson Cup, I joked with Scott about naming him Kellan Albert “Robby” Langer.
I went about my day and stayed busy. And then I got a random text from the woman I told the story to earlier. It was a wikipedia page about Kellen, the MLB baseball player. Kellen Robert Kulbacki. I stared in shock at the middle name Robert. I couldn’t believe that was the baseball player’s middle name. No one in this world knew I had joked with Scott about that middle name.
What are the chances I ran into her today? And that she’d ask me that specific question? Or that she’d send me that wikipedia page?
My heart needed that question today. My heart needed to tell that story. My heart needed her to care enough to look up and send me that link. My heart needed that sign.
It was my sign. Kellan is with me and God is real.
The rollercoaster I’ve been on over the last 24 hours has taught me so much. I can’t promise that I won’t have bad days or moments again, and I can’t promise that I won’t question why. I know this process of grief is long, confusing, and ever-changing, but it is mine and I’m doing my best to navigate it.
I have every right to ride a rollercoaster of emotions. My child died and I will deal with this grief forever. But no matter how painful and brutal it all may be, I know now for a fact that I am never alone. And that is incredibly powerful.
My son is incredibly powerful.
Tiffany, your strength just continues to amaze and inspire me. Even though I have never faced the loss of a child, parts of each of your journal entries apply to so many parts of life. God loves you, he loves Scott and he absolutely adores little Kellan. Continue to look for the signs that God is using Kellan in your life on this side of Heaven. Together, they will help you through each day.
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