Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Four of Us

Hi. It is Kelly--not my Dad. Sorry to disappoint. I hijacked his blog. Just couldn't help myself. I wanted to make sure this photo found its place here. It made me grin. The four of us at my godfather's retirement party in the very early '90s. The bulky shoulder pads on Mom and me give the decade away. At least we don't have the big bang thing going on. AquaNet was my friend in the '80s. And Bryan in a suit--a rare find!
The Four of Us. It makes me sad that we won't have anymore family photos. Our family is getting ready to take our yearly family picture (though it has been more than one year since the last one!) and I was lamenting that Bryan wouldn't be in it. But then again, he only endured them out of courtesty to me and Mom. Lucky bro, you are off the hook this time! And I am so thankful that we have so many of us all together. They are priceless treasures.
How are you all doing? It was nice to see the Klungreseter Klan a few weeks ago. I have some fun photos of our time together. But not of all the marinara sauce slurping down my chin as I devoured a BellyBuster from Busy Bee. That will remain a mental image for you lucky ones!
Miss you!
"Grief is what cultivates the soil for the seeds of joy. " Ann Voskamp

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Super Sunday

It was Superbowl Sunday last week and Bryan would have found it special that it was also his birthday weekend. He liked the hoopla surrounding the game and like many of us, found the game to be of secondary interest, that is as long as his beloved Chiefs or his adopted Chargers were not playing.This year we decided to celebrate his big day at home, all together watching the game and doing what we do best, graze.Another big attraction of course are the commercials, but I must say they lacked quite a bit to be desired this year.
When Bryan worked at Hennessey's, they would hold big gala super bowl parties with special foods and prizes. He loved it when he could talk us into coming there for the big game and of the course different years, we would do it. The problem was, he would be crazy busy and could hardly spend any time with us and those hard little chairs are very rough on my big boy rump. We did however manage to win a few raffles and did in fact enjoy the times that we did make it. I'm pretty sure we even did it once or twice with the whole family, but it was definitely not a place to have your children watch people get nuts and out of hand. Still it was the life that he chose and we all wanted to make a effort to be a part of it with him.
This year's game was much better than many and even had the Fitzpatricks rooting for their team, the Aint's, and the Klungrester's pulling for the Inndy boys just so we go have something to cheer about against one another. By half time we pretty much lost all the Fitzpatrick children to a higher calling, with the exception of Samuel, who would bounce in every once in awhile to check out to see if his Saints were ahead. This allowed us to watch the commericals, opps I mean game, without interruption. We all laughed until we almost cried on the Doritos one were the dock put the collar on his master and started to stun him. Funny, very funny....
As for the grazing part, we had food, food and more food and when we got done with that we had more food for dessert. Victoria cooked a ham and although it was a little over done, it was still the best ham and cheese on out of this world rye bread that I've encounter in quite so time. We even had a veggie tray just so we could say we had a little healthy food too. We had way to many other goodies to list here but just suffice to say, we didn't run out at any time.
After the game and before they had to go home, we had the world's smallest birthday cake, as if we needed more, and sang happy birthday to Bryan. I prayed for all of us and although I can't remember all of it, I know that most of all I asked that God would give us all peace with knowing that Bryan was with him and having one of his best birthdays ever. I also continue to pray that all of my loved ones, friends and co-workers come to his amazing grace and that we will all be heaven together when it is our time to be with him. Until next time, keep them cards and comments coming and I'll talk to you all later........

Friday, February 5, 2010

Birthday Blues

Today is Bryan's 38th birthday and I must confess I've been feeling a large dose of the blues coming on all week. February 5th will always be Bryan's birthday and I suspect it will also always be a difficult time for all of us who love him dearly. Victoria and I spoke about our family and birthdays and had a "minor" argument about our views. I stated it wasn't until later in their lives we really went all out for birthdays and when they were young, not so much. She took that as a hit on her and how we handled the kids birthdays, which I think I convinced her, was not my intention. We just didn't do elaborate parties and such and we mostly involved family. Kelly's children, on the other hand, have a totally over the top major production for each and every one of the birthdays and I will give money on the fact they all remember each and every one of them! Were we wrong or is she wrong? Nope, we all do things our own way sometimes, but I know it has always been done in the kids interest, which matters most.

But back to my little Snuss and his birthdays. He loved going up to Big Bear and play in the snow with as many people who wanted to join in on the party. We must have done this 5 or 10 times over the years and they all went great except one. In our pain and anguish over Bryan's death, we tried to keep the memory of those wonderful times alive and decided to go to Big Bear to spread his ashes in the mountains he loved. While it was a noble thought, we were not ready for this just yet. We had gotten two cabins from family friends at a great price and we all set out on our trip. As we approached Big Bear, the weather started to turn and so did some of our moods. We found out the cabins were at two different ends of the mountain and in the pending weather, it would be difficult to travel between the two. In addition, when we walked to the mountain side it was very slippery and it was starting to drizzle with a light snow falling. This made the ash spreading hard to do and Kelly had put together some music and thoughts she wanted to share with all that came. She shared beautifully and I choose to think all of us there that day were moved by what she had to say and how she said it. One moment of humor did arise and I apologize in advance for this might offend some, but as I was throwing Bryan's earthly remains into the wind, I neglected to judge just how strong it was blowing and which direction it was coming from, and promptly covered Victoria in his ashes. I was panic stricken at first, but she was gracious and let me off the hook with a slight laugh at what I had done. Once everyone left from there and went to separate cabins, we did in fact have a good time and learned some great new games, one of which is Farkle, and someday I'll tell you about it! I want to say as I'm writing this, more of the good times we had up there that weekend come to memory, such as the great meal cooked by Beckey and Pete, watching the kids play in the snow and even the scary rides in and out of our cabin, I suddenly realize we did in fact have a good time and we did all get together and celebrate Bryan's birthday in a grand fashion that would have made him proud!

I'm going to end today's blog with this: All of our day's have been numbered by our wonderful Lord and all of us need to start living our lives so we don't waste the very short, precious time we have here among our loved ones and friends. So take advantage of it and let them all know how much they mean to you, but even more importantly, how much they mean to our God. Don't let a moment go or be wasted which can be used to edify and lift one another up as we all live in this same fallen world and are all sinners who need the forgiveness that He along freely gives......

Monday, February 1, 2010

In the beginning....

In order to tell you the stories that I have in my memory bank about Bryan, I have decided it's best to start at the beginning so that's exactly what I shall do. I don't remember the exact details as to when we found out we we're going to have another baby, but I do remember we already had a very small baby and the doctor wanted to know if I understood the term, "Wait awhile". I assured him I did and that I had, but alas, we were on our way for another trip down maternity road.Kelly was only 10 months and a few days old when she was joined in the Klungreseter household by her younger brother, Bryan David. She didn't get to meet her brother for over a week however because he was born with jaundice and was very sick. Victoria's body didn't get enough time to recover from Kelly's birth and the shock of being pregnant again was to much for her to overcome and poor little Bryan paid the price.She was not even allowed to hold her new baby boy and was sent home empty handed. I was going to school full time and working two jobs, so I couldn't take her to visit and she couldn't drive herself so she sat at home crying and missing her new baby boy. When we finally got the okay to bring him home, we were all overjoyed and excited to have him at home with us. Then the very first day he came home to us, Kelly was playing with her baby doll and bent over to pick it up and cracked her head on the coffee table. Back to the hospital we went for eight stitches in our little ones forehead. She still has that scar today and it would prove to be one of many trips for stitches that would mark her life. Once he settled in he was a quiet little guy. who was a Mommy's boy through and through and when upset, she was who he wanted. I decided to start here so everyone can see that Bryan wasn't always that big giant of a man he became and that for his mom and dad, he will always be our little baby boy who we always felt it was our job to protect. The thing is however, that as much as we want to make sure our children are protected and that nothing bad ever happens to them we can't do that. God is who gives our children their protection and his is the only protection that is everlasting and complete. I know that the hardest part of dealing with my sons death has been the letting go and knowing that he is in heaven with Jesus and is waiting for the time we will all be together again. Our God is a great God and it is he who gives us comfort from the grief that has a tendency to overwhelm us at times. That's it for this time so stay tuned and come on back for some of the really great times in the life of Bryan David Klungreseter....

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Sister's Last Blog

Bryan David Klungreseter

Kelly Lee Klungreseter Fitzpatrick

I am in the process of putting this blog in book form for my parents. And even though I dislike posting photos of myself, I am doing it for my mom. I know she will like having a spot with both of her children side by side. It is one of my great laments, that Bryan and I did not have more photographs taken together. This is the best I could do Momma. I am no good at photoshopping and fixing--otherwise I would have made it look like we were really together here. Wait! We were together in the picture of Bryan. It was a whole family photo! We just aren't standing together! So pretend we are hugging. And enjoy the obvious fact that we both got Grandma Birthday's cheekballs! Dad has them too!

"Good-bye." Not my favorite word. When my dear Grandma Birthday died years ago and I spoke at her funeral, I remember saying, "It's not good-by Grandma, it's see you later!"

Here I am, signing off after a year of sharing my ups and downs, my laughter and tears. In what sometimes felt like naked transparency. In this place, I have shared what was going on inside a heart that grieved painfully after an unexpected loss. I miss my brother every single day. I weep even now as I think of the huge hole left in my life, my days, my heart with him gone.

I have tried to honestly share my questions and doubts and pains and fears. It has been here, in my cyber journal, that I discovered what I truly think. Ann Voskamp says it is a handicap, "needing to live all things twice, in breath and in word, before you can really understand your life" . But I just say that is how I am. And you have been here on the journey with me--to understand my life. Thanks for hanging on for the wild ride.

I could not offer a neat little paragraph summarizing all that I have learned in this year of mourning. I wish I could. I prayed many times that I would be able to see with my human eyes here and now what God was doing in my family, in my life, in my heart by taking Bryan Home so soon. I have wanted to have "something to say", to share with others who will walk this path one day. Might as well make this pain useful. Learn something. Share something valuable. But I can't.

Since I still don't know and may never know this side of Heaven, I will say this for the record: "I still believe. I don't know so many things but I know this: I need God more than I have ever needed Him before. So I chose to stand on what I do know and not what I don't. I have His promise that He knows the plan and it is ultimately good. And for His glory. He knows and I can trust Him. Even if I don't know what He is doing."

There. That is said. I don't want anyone reading one or two of my really vulnerable posts where I share my sorrow and sadness without adding the praise that follows quietly. Jesus has brought His peace to my heart, peace I can't understand or explain. But it is there. Even in the middle of the storm.

If you have been reading here with me and hurting too, you are suffering from unexpected loss--of a child, of a marriage, of a dream, of your innocence, or your purity, loss of a loved one, loss of a job, you just have a hurting heart. I want to end by suggesting two good books that can address sorrow and offer Hope in a much more succinct and articulate way than my stumbling, simple words ever could:

The Holy Bible-The Book of Psalms by God

Hope for Hurting Hearts by Greg Laurie

And I am offering a free copy of one book to any one out there who is wrestling with some of the questions and hurts that I have shared on this blog. Please just leave a comment with your email address and I will contact you to get your mailing address. I will send you either book totally free. These books ministered to my pain in very powerful and effective ways. Please let me share their Truth with you. There is Hope in the middle of your grief. It would be my pleasure to share it with you.

As for the future, look forward to my Daddy's new perspective for this blog. The baton has been passed, the new chapter begins soon! Stay tuned!

See you later!
Kelly Klungreseter Fitzpatrick,
Bryan's sister, David & Vickey's daughter, Bob's wife, Reilly, Kate, Samuel, Aidan, and Peter's momma, God's girl.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Counting my Blessings

I started keeping track of my blessings with a renewed gratitude attitude inspired by Ann over at my favorite blog spot (see the button at the bottom of this blog). It was originally God's idea--to be thankful. To rejoice in all my circumstances. To bless the Lord, Oh my soul, with all that is within me. He gives and takes away. Bless His Holy Name.
But its a new year--a new decade. So I bought a pretty journal on December 31. I have started to write in it. I used to faithfully keep a journal. I have volumes from when I was a young girl, a young woman, a young married wife. But the day I gave birth to Reilly was my last entry. I have tried a few times to renew the (wonderfully therapeutic) habit but just haven't. I have begun anew.
As this chapter of my blogging days comes to a close, I feel so grateful to all of you who shared in my cyberspace "journal" for the last year. Just knowing that you were reading and commenting and chuckling over the entries made it more fun, endearing, purposeful, therapeutic.
I have tried to post this the last two Mondays and haven't. But I HAVE been journaling. Privately again. Instead of on the internet. I have been adding to my Multitude Monday pages. I have been counting my blessings. If you are reading this right now--you are among those many blessings. Thanks so much for sharing this journey with me to tell Bryan's stories, to remember him, to honor all that was noble and good and funny and excellent in his short life.
And if you want to know what the future holds for this blog--I will share my secret with you. I have been praying that my Daddy will pick up the (metaphoric) pen for the next chapter. To fill in the blanks with stories that I can not tell. Bryan was an avid huntsman, fisherman, sportsman. He was a beloved son. These are sides of him that I cannot describe. But my father can. His memory is stuffed full of first homerun moments, winning that long-awaited game at EHS his senior year, quail trips, deer hunting, Kern River, Padre World Series, the list is endless. I know you are reading this Daddy.
No pressure or anything Daddy! :)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Friend Remembers

My cousin let me know that one of Bryan's old high school buddies had contacted her and wanted to talk with our family abut my brother's death. She gave me his number and I was thinking of a quiet moment I could make to talk with him (I DO remember you Anthony-- and I will call!). But he beat me to the punch and left this comment on the first blog I wrote soon after Bryan died. I know that people don't usually read comments from old posts so I am posting it here. Anthony recently learned of my brother's death. His kind words about Bryan made me smile and weep this morning. Thanks for taking the time to remember Bryan here, Anthony. My family thanks you for your kind gesture. Others are still thinking about and remembering Bryan and his life. That is the entire reason for this blog:
Posted January 13, 2010
"I just found out about BK's passing. It's already been a year. My heart goes out to his family. He really was one of the best guys I ever met in my life. I remember during high school having just moved to Escondido there were'nt many minorities, everyone was a stranger nobody really spoke to me much, and I felt way out of place. Then this dude named Klungy with more spike hair then the law should allow comes up starts talking then later invites me to hang out. We became good friends from that point on.
Football,taco shops, teeing off in the yard at his parents old house in Esco. I bet I ate 50 avacados in that backyard!I always admired that he was the type of guy that could be trusted with anything. Except reliable transportation. That old beat up blue volkswagon rabbit he was driving at the time was a real piece of junk! Thinking about our times together brings a smile to my face and tears to my eyes. Your memory will be apart of me all the days of my life. How did it go? "My brotha! from anotha motha! of anotha color!" That's how I'll remember you Klungy. Rest in peace dear old friend."
Anthony "GoGo" Alexander

Sunday, January 10, 2010

These Faces That I Love...

What will you remember about your Uncle, precious Peter?

You always kept Uncle B grinning, you crazy kid! Aidan boy!

Sweet Sam-mandoo. I know you miss walking on Uncle B's back!

Kate the Skate always giggled when Uncle B was around.
You learned you art of storytelling from your Uncle. Pretty soon you will rival him!

Uncle B's little bug is growing up into a lovely young lady.

Bryan loved each one too. I am getting ready to publish/bind this year's blog for my parents. I wanted to end with these dear faces. Bryan loved our children. He was the best Uncle ever. I realize anew when I talk with others about their relationships how blessed I was to have a brother who was so involved in his nieces and nephews lives. Bryan's death left a huge hole in my children's lives. But they have been so much better at understanding or at least accepting their grief without bitterness and questions. Ah! To be so childlike and trusting! I pray I will be more like them this year.

I will always ache when "special" times come and go in their future, wishing Bryan were here with us. There were so many big events, celebrations, traditions, and all the simple moments in 2009 that he did not share with us. My heart ached for missing him. But I carried him with me in my heart. So I will end this year (a week late!) with the faces that he and I both love.

The Stockings were Hung by the Chimney with Care...

My parents mantle with each of our stockings.

Wish you could see their footed pajamas. Too bad they don't carry them in my size!
Reilly, Kate Marie, Peter, Samuel, and Aidan on Christmas Eve

Peter/Joseph and blue-eyed baby Jesus in the beanbag/manger.

We spend Christmas Eve with my parents. My parents get us all new jammies. My dad makes his famous chicken tacos (this is a newer tradition--not a "since the beginning of time" tradition), the kids enjoy my parents Christmas choo-choo, we read the Christmas story found in Luke (this year the kids acted it out), we enjoy a candlelight church service and sing beloved carols. All these things work together to slow us down after the frenzied preparations and purchasing--I like focusing on the reason we celebrate. Bryan wasn't with us this year, for the second time in my life. I only shed a few tears. The wound is healing? Or maybe I am getting used to the fact that I will never be celebrating Jesus' birth with him on this earth. We sang the carol, "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" on Christmas Eve. Its lyrics served as a poignant reminder:

"Hail the Heaven born Prince of Peace!

Hail the Son of Righteousness!

Light and Life to all He brings

Risen with healing in His wings

Mild He lays His glory by

Born that man no more may die

Born to raise the son's of earth

Born to give them second birth"

How beautifully these words express my Hope. Knowing that Bryan trusted Jesus and is with the Prince of Peace gives me great peace. Thanks Karen for the reminder!

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Bryan bought my boys the Wii for their birthday a couple of years ago. It is their all-time favorite gift. Even over the trampoline Uncle B bought them the year before the Wii. In memory of how much the gift remains a part of our lives, this Christmas my parents gave the wii lovers in our family blue wii jammies--complete with a long pocket large enough to hold the wii remote when not in use.

WARNING! Tissues Required-Video Slideshow of Bryan's Life-Sorry the music was muted!