*My daughter asked me if I wanted to stand up and say something about Konnor at his wake. She said she just couldn’t do it, she was a wreck and understandably so. My first instinct was to scream, “I can’t! I’m an absolute mess, how could I stand in front of everyone and give a speech?” Despite my grief and the anguish I was in I knew I had to talk about Konnor. I had to take what strength I had and sit down at my computer and write about him, about what he meant to me and my family. Yet, how do you eulogize someone who’s life had barely begun?
My son and I had gathered pictures of Konnor to place on poster boards for the wake and I found myself running around my home, up and down the stairs, in closets, searching through numerous boxes of photos, searching.. there just wasn’t enough pictures of Konnor. I wept knowing I would never have the opportunity to create more. Those precious moments are forever frozen in time in photographs. I thought about this as I stared at the keyboard. How would I put into words what Konnor had placed in my heart? This is my eulogy to my beloved grandson ~
~When I found out Ash was having a boy, being the controlling mother I’m told I am, I insisted Ashlee and Tommy name him Konnor. I suppose they spelled it with a “K” to show me they were the parents.
I was in the delivery room with Ashlee, it was an unexpected c-section. I watched as they removed him from my daughter and I watched as the nurse kept flicking his little foot trying to make him cry. Flicking and flicking trying to get him to take those ever important screaming breaths. He never did. He was quiet from the start.
He was a weak infant. His neck was too weak to hold his head up. He was slow to roll over, slow to crawl, slow to talk, slow to walk. But he was a fighter even as a baby.
* I stood in front of that funeral home reading my speech feeling like I was outside my own body. I could feel myself shaking from my hands to my knees, I kept trying to tell myself to keep it together, to hold on. I would glance to my right at Konnor in that casket that was too big for him yet the funeral director tried so hard to make special by placing Spider-man fabric in the inside of the lid. It was as if I wanted Konnor to know I was talking about him or maybe it was because I knew it was the last time I would see him. I don’t know, but I suddenly fought the impulse to walk over to him….after the service I asked for scissors. We cut pieces of his hair…
~His first surgery was when he was about 9 months old. Don’t know how many of you know but he was born with a few anomalies. One of them being he was born without testicles. So at nine months old he had surgery to bring them down from his abdomen into the scrotum. The surgeon could only locate the right testicle, the left one was unable to be brought down. To Ashlee and Tommy’s frustration I christened Konnor with the nickname “Lefty.” But our little Konnor, even after the surgery he was in good spirits. I have a picture of him after that very surgery looking up at me with a smile on his face.
Konnor faced some challenges. He started his life with physical therapy and speech therapy. Ashlee had to start to learn sign language until the doctors figured out his hearing problems and placed tubes in his ears. Ash, remember “more?” (Ashlee had to learn how to “sign” the word more) He had several ear tube surgeries.
But he progressed. He figured it out. He worked hard. As he got older he didn’t let the fact that he couldn’t run like the other kids or ride a bike like the other kids get him down.
I think Ash and I babied him just a little. We made a big deal of his accomplishments but like Aunt Brittany said, he needed to feel like he was just like any other kid, doing as they do. She was right, don’t treat him like he’s different. He wants to be the same.
Maybe this is where his love of Superheros comes in. He loved the Power and strength that he thought he could never have.
But what he didn’t know is that he IS a superhero. He DID have power and strength. What Konnor overcame in his eight short years is incredible to me. I am proud of my grandson. Always have been, always will be.
He was always the goof, always the silly smile, and like his mom says the ultimate cuddle. He had the power of patience for his siblings, kindness, love and a beautiful soul. Like his hero Spider-man he spun his web of love around my heart and it will never let me go. He had such a beautiful heart.
I’m reminded of a line in an old song most of you young adults won’t know but it’s a song called ‘Vincent” and it goes, “This world was never meant for one as beautiful as you,” and I believe this. Konnor had a beautiful soul.
*I wanted to make it through this speech without breaking down. I would pause a few times in order to collect myself through my tears but I knew I had to finish it for Konnor. How surreal it felt. This can’t be real. Wake me up. Please God, wake me up. I looked at my daughter, trying so hard to be strong. I looked at Tommy, eyes so red from crying they were nearly swollen shut. I was speaking yet it wasn’t really me…
Although I am not a religious person, I am a spiritual person. I believe in the human spirit living on. Konnor’s spirit will live on with his family Ashlee. Rather than wondering what Konnor would be like in five years or ten years, I prefer to always think of him as who he was today. The strongest, bravest, super-hero any of us will meet in our lifetime. He was here to teach us something, give us something. Touch us, light us.
I’m going to read a quote from a favorite book of mine and my daughter Taryn. I find it haunting as we have a “hole” in our hearts by the grief over losing Konnor from a “hole” in his stomach and the name of the book is “God Shaped Hole.”
“The days will always be brighter because he existed.”
“The nights will always be darker because he’s gone.”
“And no matter what anybody says about grief and about time healing all wounds, the truth is, there are certain sorrows that never fade away until the heart stops beating and the last breath is taken.”
Until we meet again Konnor, Grandma loves you.
Standing up and speaking about Konnor in that funeral home was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. As Konnor’s Grandma and for Ashlee and Tommy, I was a voice. The voice that told Konnor’s short but glorious story. That child will always mean everything to us. And I, as well as my family will always ache for him.
Konnor’s wake was a day filled with great sadness and many tears. Nonetheless, long after the tears have dried his classmates, friends and family that shared that mournful day with us will forever cherish the love that remains.
For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love. – 1 Corinthians 13:12
Fly high Konnor, I hope I see you in my dreams.