to the ones who left

to the ones who left,

hi. it’s been a while, hasn’t it? you’ve been on my mind extra lately, so i decided it was probably time to finally write this. these words keep swirling around in my head; sometimes i wake up in the middle of the night and can’t go back to sleep because the words just keep coming. some nights they’re sad words about how much i miss you or how i wish i could pick up the phone and call you to tell you about something that happened. other nights they’re angry words and i want them to hurt you, to give you a taste of how much hurt you’ve caused me, my family, my kids. but mostly they’re questions…why? how? and the knowing that those questions will forever go unanswered is what keeps me awake the most.

at the very least you were among my best friends…at the most, you were family. and now you’re gone. i’ll never understand that choice, but i’m at least to a point now of being able to accept it and i want to tell you a few things about how your choice has rippled.

listen, i get it. i made a choice that made you uncomfortable. maybe you loved my husband, maybe you just loved the seemingly perfect little family we had, maybe you just have really firmly held beliefs in traditional marriage, maybe you were worried about me or my girls. after two years i’ve realized that figuring out the why of your decision won’t make it any easier, so it doesn’t even really matter why, does it? what matters is that you left before you even tried. you decided it was too hard or wrong or ridiculous or dangerous or whatever adjective you want to throw at it. you decided, and you left.

i used to be so heartbroken about your choice. i let it define me and let it make me feel less than and unworthy.

i let it shrink me.

i held my girls while they cried, too young to really understand why you left. i explained love and choices to them. sometimes i cried with them, letting my tears and confusion match theirs. other times i held it together and helped them feel strong and capable and brave in spite of the sadness and loss…and then wept after they were in bed. eventually i started to believe the things i was telling them.

“everybody gets to make their own choices.”

     “we’re better off surrounding ourselves with people who love us no matter what.”

                          “it won’t always hurt this much.”

        “think of how much kinder and more aware of people’s feelings you are now.” 

so i guess what i mostly want to tell you is that we’re okay. we have people who love us – really love us no matter what. we are so happy and whole and healthy. we laugh a lot and our smiles are plentiful. our home is full of joy and so much love. sometimes your name comes up and we all pause. we let ourselves remember the good things, though with a tinge of sadness.

and another thing…you were wrong.

you were so wrong about this.

you left a friend, a best friend, a daughter, granddaughters, nieces. you caused so much damage and heartache in your self-righteous temper tantrum, and you don’t get to take that back. you (yes you) made choices that i didn’t agree with, had different political leanings, believed different things about jesus and the church, married people i thought weren’t good enough for you, spent money on things i thought were ridiculous, raised your children differently than i did…

…but i loved you still. i wish you could have done the same for us.




a few weeks ago, she surprised me. it had been one of those days when nothing had gone particularly wrong, but it didn’t seem like much had gone right either. we collapsed into bed, unable to do anymore “mom-ing” for the night, and she pulled out her computer.

it always feels a little surreal, seeing pictures of my mom as a little girl or a teenager, a new mother with a tiny baby me in her arms. there aren’t many pictures of her; these were old slides that i inherited when ma went on one of her purging adventures. i always meant to do something with them, but then life happened and they ended up on a bookshelf, mostly forgotten.


it’s been so long that sometimes i forget she was ever actually here, which feels awful to admit. the older i get, the more distant the memories become.

but this is proof that she was here. and she was happy. and brave.


and she loved her baby girl.

gosh. she would have loved her granddaughters. these pictures of her in a dragon shirt are so similar to leslie in all the ways – their face is the same, their hands, their hair, their apparent love of dragons and bad jeans.

my heart is so happy.

xoxo, k


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the way your sleepy eyes sparkle
like moonlight on the water
how my hands find your curves
in the night

like the fog rolls in
on these bluegrass hills
before the sun
burns everything bright

how the sea rolls over
and over in waves
the rocks
slowly tumble under

mamas and babies
through their first days
falling in love
with each other

all a mystery
all a dream
all the truest grace

the way you love me
how you see
how my hand
fits (perfect)
on your face

and all of the healing
all of the days
feel like magic
leave us amazed

forever and ever
stay with me
and i promise you
i’ll never leave