Kyara Dzenis

Kyara Dzenis

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Camp Stars

The weekend at Camp Stars is behind us and I can't say that I am not happy to be on the other side of camp.  Camp Stars is a camp run by Hospice Atlanta in which families who are mourning the loss of a family member can go and meet other families, enjoy the fantastic amenities at Twin Lakes, and spending bonding time while remembering our loved one.  Skylar went to the kids camp in the fall and loved it.  In fact, more than once, she cried after coming home because she wanted to go back to camp.  So this spring, we figured, why not go to the family camp?  I had some reservations about going, but if it was important to Skylar, I would do anything! 

A couple of things stood out to me during the weekend.  I live in a land of denial most of the time.  Somehow I have tricked myself into believing Kyara is just on a trip or something.  Now, I know she is in heaven and I am not delusional or anything, but I think that is a coping mechanism I have been using without realizing it.  The first night at dinner, we had to introduce ourselves and tell why we were there (who died.)  For some reason, after hearing each family say "We are so and so and we are hear because________ died," it hit home.  WE are there because Kyara died.  Even writing that doesn't seem real.  What do you mean she's dead?  She's not dead, she is just not here right now.  How do you grasp the fact that one of your babies are dead?  Well, the way I am choosing to see it is... Kyara is not dead as we know it.  She is in heaven very much alive.  She is there waiting for us to join her.  She is reminding me daily that it is my job on earth to not become spiritually dead and to rejoice in the truth of eternity together.  This time apart will be nothing compared to eternity.  In light of this way of thinking, I am going to say that I am not in denial after all.  Yes, Kyara's earthly body is dead, but now she is so much more!  Thank you, Jesus!

Another thing I realized is we are in a pretty good place right now.  Gunars and I can and have laughed again.  We enjoy today and we enjoy our girls.  Although times come when I can hardly stop crying, they are fewer and farther apart than they once were.  Memories of Kyara make me laugh more than cry these days.  She was a "Goofy-Head!"  Going to the camp and hearing everyone's heartwrenching stories was tough.  But the hardest part for me was the Memorial Ceremony at the end of the weekend.  I found it to be too much like a funeral and I have already done the funeral.  It was not something I wanted to go through again.  Once was enough for me, thank you very much.  They played very beautiful, very sad music.  The atmosphere was so solemn, as soon as you walked in it was like the air had been removed from the room and it was difficult to breathe.  People were crying before the ceremony even started.  This is the one part of the weekend that Skylar said she did not want to do.  It was...difficult.

I was happy to see how much Skylar enjoyed the counselors and the other kids at Camp Stars.  She loved them so much, we would have to "force" her to sit with us during meals!  This was a family camp after all! 

I also came to realize how difficult it is to know what to say when you find out someone's child/sister has died.  The first night, while we were checking in, there was a little girl and her father making their nametags beside us.  The administator mentioned to me that her mother was off to the side feeding their newborn baby.  The little girl was looking at me and listening to our conversation, so I asked her "Do you have a little brother or a little sister," (meaning the baby her mother was feeding.)  The girl informed me, "My little sister died and that's why we are here." Stare, stare, stare....pause. Pause.  Close your mouth, Genie, think.  Say something...anything!  "Oh, I am so sorry.  Is your mother feeding your little brother or sister?"  In my head, I am thinking... what should I say, do I mention Kyara?  Do I say, "Skylar and Kassey's sister died, too?"  How should I react?  I later learned that this is how the little girl tries to make conversations with people.  But I felt in that moment like I am sure many of you have felt when talking to me.  Especially at first.  What do I say?  Should I say this, or should I say that?  No, better stick to I am so sorry.  That is the safest route.  I don't want to upset her.  I think most of us are just looking for a connection, though.  A way to say we are not alone.

We are 3 days from Kyara's anniversary/birthday.  I am not sure how I will feel on that day.  I will do the things I do every Saturday, though.  We have soccer, both Kassey and Skylar. We will cheer them on the best we know how.  I will not stay in the bed and pull the sheets over my head, even though I may feel like it.  I couldn't decided if I wanted to do something in memory of Kyara for the 19th, there is much to be thankful for, but I would give anything to hold her in my arms again.   One day, that dream will come true! 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi, Genie,
I've been thinking of you today.