Good morning everyone. As some of you may know, tomorrow will be what would have been Kailen’s 26th birthday and our first time experiencing Kailen’s birthday since she went to be with Jesus on September 15 2015. Being completely honest with you, we have all been dreading tomorrow for several weeks now; however, one thing we didn’t anticipate was how her birthday would affect us, not only on her birthday, but during the week leading up to her birthday.
On Sunday night, Jeff and I both began experiencing an overwhelming feeling of what felt like ‘impending doom.’ This came as a tremendous surprise to both of us and very much caught us off guard. As Jeff and I sat in our family room on Sunday night and began trying to talk about how we were going to spend our day as a family trying to ‘celebrate’ Kailen’s birthday, the tears began to flow and the feelings of ‘impending doom’ became stronger and stronger. We tried to talk but couldn’t as the tears of grief began to take over. At one point, I looked over at Jeff and said, “You know, 25 and half years just wasn’t enough time with her…only 25 and a half years…” And, when I said that, Jeff barely eeked out the words, “No, it wasn’t” as he shook his head and got up and left the room.
This sort of scenario has happened many times with Jeff and me since Kailen’s passing. Jeff and I will be talking about something to do with Kailen and he will suddenly disappear into another room. When this first began happening, I truly had no idea what was going on. Then, one day, I finally asked him why he would sometimes leave the room so suddenly when we were talking about Kailen. He looked at me and said, “So I can go and cry in private.” I was very surprised at Jeff’s statement and asked him,”But, why do you have to leave the room to cry? I cry all of the time in front of you when I talk about Kailen.” He looked at me with his eyes filled with tears and said, “Kim, I leave because I cry so loud that I need to bury my face in a towel to muffle the sound so I don’t scare anyone.” So, on Sunday night, I knew where he was going when he left the room except this time I heard his weeping like I’d never heard it before. As Jeff was weeping in the other room, I sat there holding our grandson and began having overwhelming feelings of not wanting this February 24th to come. I just could not imagine how in the world we were going to get through this as a family.
As I said in my last blog post, Kailen absolutely LOVED her birthday and it was always such a fun and special time for us together as a family. Then, after she and Bryan were married, if we weren’t together on her birthday, we would always look forward to her phone calls or texts telling us about her day and how wonderful it had been. However, Kailen’s last birthday was what she described as ‘one of the worst days of her life.’ Last February 24, because Bryan was doing one of his pharmacy school rotations in western Kentucky, we planned a special birthday party for Kailen in Ohio County at Bryan’s parent’s house with all of her immediate family being together to celebrate Kailen Olivia Mae Combs Taylor. Jarrod drove from Georgetown to Lexington and picked up Bryan’s sister, Alyssa, from UK; Audrey drove from Kentucky Wesleyan; and Jeff, Kristen, and I drove from Louisville to Ohio County with our vehicle filled with birthday presents and some of her favorite foods. However, on our way there, Bryan called and said Kailen had not had a good night and was in tremendous pain. Jeff and I were so deeply saddened for many reasons, but, one of the biggest reasons was because Kailen had been telling us how much she was looking forward to having ALL of her family together for her birthday. We did our best to celebrate her birthday last year and Kailen did her best to enjoy her birthday; however, I’ll never forget her sitting in the chair as Bryan’s mom, Lesa, held her special strawberry birthday cake in front of her with candles lit and us singing our ‘Combs Family Birthday Song’ to her as tears trickled down her face. While we were singing, Kailen looked at Bryan and she tried so hard to smile as she (and we) all knew she was not going to be able to fully enjoy her 25th birthday and the time she had so anticipated having all of her family together on her birthday.
So, now, here we sit on February 23, 2016–the day before what should have been Kailen’s 26th birthday–wondering how in the world we are going to get through tomorrow. Jeff, Jarrod, Kristen, and I have talked and cried over these past few days as we’ve done our best to put together a plan for tomorrow that will honor Kailen, yet, we truly have no idea how the day will go. All we do know is that we miss Kailen SO terribly and we SO wish we could be celebrating tomorrow with her as we have for these past 25 years. So, if you think of us tomorrow, please pray for us. We take great comfort in knowing Jesus already sees tomorrow and He will be faithful to lead us through tomorrow as He has so faithfully led us through each and every day.