Thursday, March 5, 2009

A Lesson Learned

Sweet Lexi,

This is a unique anniversary. You were here on this earth for fourteen years and now today, you've been gone for fourteen years. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of you but on this day, March 5th, the events that transpired on the day of your death inevitably play out in my mind and all at the same time it is a very difficult day and a day of celebration. The hard memories are there but even more, the fun and goofy, the sweet and tender memories are there and they kind of balance each other out creating a paradox. Sometimes the memories open the wound and sometimes the memories are a salve for the wound.

As I reflected on some of those memories this week, I remembered a valuable lesson I learned from you. It was a painful lesson to learn but it has impacted my life possibly more than any other experience I had with you. I was an insecure high school student and I hated it when mom was late picking me up from school because I felt like a loner waiting on the grass with no one to hang out with. One day she was especially late and when she pulled up and I saw that you were in the car with her, I was frustrated because I knew that you had delayed her. It was definitely a process to get you out of the house, especially with your wheelchair. I knew if she would have left you at home she would have been on time and I said something to that effect when I got in the car.

Oh Lex, I know you know how many tears I have shed over this incident. It is the most painful regret I have. The insensitivity, the selfishness and the lack of perspective I had still just make me so angry with myself. You were quiet on the way home and later slipped a note under my bedroom door apologizing for making mom late and explaining how everyday you missed me while I was at school and how you counted the minutes until I would return home and be with you. You said you would beg mom to take you with her because you couldn't wait to see me and you needed the fresh air. You expressed your love for me and I had never been so humbled in my life. I was so so ashamed and hot tears rolled down my cheeks as my heart thudded in my tightening chest. It was physically painful to realize what I had done and how I had hurt you.

I know you forgave me that night as I begged for your forgiveness and hugged you while I cried. We talked everything out but I STILL have not forgiven myself for that and as much as I have suffered over my mistake that day, I am so grateful for the lessons it taught me. The most poignant lesson I learned and have INTERNALIZED is to never take my loved ones for granted. Lexi, I would give ANYTHING to have that moment back. I would give anything to have mom pull up in her car with you in the front seat...I would run and throw the door open and tell you how much I had missed you all day. I would hug you and not let go, I would look into your eyes and smell your hair and tell you, "I LOVE YOU so much."

I'm comforted now by the knowledge that I WILL have that moment again. I will see you again and until then, I promise the hurt you felt that day will not be in vain because you taught me to always have an eternal perspective. And with that gift I will treasure and appreciate all the precious moments, as momentous or mundane as they may be, with the people in my life.

I miss you Lex. I am grateful for the fourteen years I got to be your big sister and I'm grateful for the fourteen years that you have been my angel. Thank you for the lessons.

Love, shezbo


Brandon and Katie said...

that definitely brought tears to my eyes shar. thank you for sharing that. i need to be better at loving unconditionally and not taking anyone i love for granted. i love you!! you're truly amazing and such an inspiration!!!

Freddy and Mandy said...

I love the Plan of Salvation. Knowing one day you two are just gonna sit back and laugh at that whole thing! Lexi is surely missed. Both of you are an incredible inspiration to me! Sweet post, Shar.

Kris said...

This is a very special memory Sharlie. I love this picture of Lexi, just how pretty I remembered her being. I am thankful that I knew you both! I am thankful our families were friends.

Katelyn said...

I don't know what to say, except that the love you two share/shared is a special, uncommon love between sisters.

Somer Love said...


What a fabulous post I know your lil angel is so proud of you! I am so glad you and your mom could celebrate her life I know Lex was celebrating right along with you guys!


Brandon and Katie said...

Shar- I shared this sweet letter with my dad and he wrote this little note to you:

Dear Shar,

Although it was so so difficult to read, I read your letter to Lexi and shared it with Karree.
You were the very best sister that Lexi could have ever hoped for!

I love you,


Holly said...

I cannot believe it's been 14 years! You are such an amazing sister to Lexi, and I know she's watching over you always!

Sharlie Kaltenbach said...

Sweet Shar,

I love you.


Collette Larsen said...

Ooops - that last comment was from me. And I really do love you, honey. Thank you for sharing.

Kaylene Jackson said...

Wow Sharlie that was such a powerful letter. It's amazing to me that after all these years that you and Lexi still are teaching me a valuable lesson. You're an amazing sister.

tiffany.amber said...

Your words are so beautiful written and just what I needed to read tonight. Thank you for sharing your heart with all of us. I was feeling overwhelmed/frustrated with the needs of my family and just wanted a quiet moment but as I read your post I was instantly grateful for the tiny bodies tucked into every corner of my bed.