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.

Friday, January 1, 2010


Now I know what "Once in a blue moon" means!
Cheers! Toasting the New Decade

The Count Down Begins--Getting ready to bang those pots!

Ringing, I mean Banging, in the New Year!
Ever since Bryan & I were little, our family has always banged pots on New Year's Eve.
Please don't ask me why? I really have no idea? Until recently, I thought everyone else did too!

Even Peter joined in the fun! Seniors (my mom) and Minors equally enjoyed the night!

Silly String Wars at Midnight


All the ingredients for a delight-filled New Year's Eve. A celebration of the culmination of an entire year lived: the laughter and copious amounts of tears, the highs and lows, the good times and bad--all without Bryan. But not without Hope.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

I know, I know: out of context and written to another people in another time. But these words resonate in my hopeful heart tonight--written for me alone. So I am making them mine. Go ahead, call my theology into question--I don't care.

Bryan wrote a pithy poem for 2008--"2007 wasn't so fine, 2008 is gonna be great!" But that didn't turn out so well. I didn't ring in 2009 with smiles, pot banging, toasting and first kisses. In truth, I am not sorry to see it end. But this New Years Eve, my family and I united and purposed to choose joy and hope in the coming year. So instead of a perky cheer for 2010, I offer this prayer:

"When night comes, and retrospect shows that everything was patchwork and much that one had planned left undone, when so many things rouse shame and regret, then take all as is, lay it in God's hands, and offer it up to Him. In this way we will be able to rest in Him, actually to rest and to begin the new day like a new life."

St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

Starting 2010 out right with:

Trout Spread.
Belly Dancing.
Senior Citizens.
Dramatic Charades.
Brian Campbell. Enough said.
Reflection Questions.
Emotionally stunted.
Toasting with Sparkling Cider and many Minors.
The Prayer of Dedication for 2010.
A Blue Moon.
Pot Banging.
Neighborhood-waking Shouts.
Silly String Wars.
2010 is here.

It's a New Year! It starts with a new day--today! January 1, 2010! Hoping for a new song to sing in 2010! May the new year be filled with joy and peace for your family and mine!

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