I’ve been M.I.A for the past couple of weeks so we have lots to catch up on! Being close to the ocean in San Diego with Ellie and my family was relaxing and therapeutic, need I say more?! I read a great book on the trip called “My Story” by Elizabeth Smart (the adorable girl from Utah that was kidnapped and found). I was captivated by her strength and will to survive. Even though our circumstances were completely different I was able to relate with her through my own life challenges. I especially related when she talked about how her experience has made her more grateful and how her faith helped carry her through. Those things were true for me as well.
The night I got home from San Diego my dad and I were eating Rosa’s enchiladas (one of our faves) and my mom brought me a card to open. She expressed that she meant to give it to me on my anniversary. I looked at the card and couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It was Andrew’s handwriting on the card. You see the last month of Andrew’s life my mom was helping me get cards together for Ellie so that she would have something from her dad on special occasions. Never did I ever think about doing anything like that for myself, but my mom did. It was the nicest and best gift she’s ever given to me (and she’s a great gift giver). I opened the card and inside was a handwritten letter from Andrew which said, “Bailey, you’re the biggest blessing in my life. I don’t know how much longer I have, but I know it will be great because it’s with you.” It was like he came back from the dead. The finality of someone’s death starts to become reality as more and more time goes by. I was beginning to accept that I wouldn’t see him or hear from him again and then I got this letter. Word’s can’t really do justice how much that card means to me.
This past weekend I had some kind friends help pack up my furniture in Cuero and help move me into my new home in Dallas. Walking into the Heard’s house in Cuero was overwhelming to me. Maybe it was because I started my first round of therapy that week so my heart was open to feeling, but nonetheless I cried on the stairs when I walked into their home. I started talking to Andrew out loud and I repeated over and over how sorry I was that he had to suffer. Being in that house reminded me of the suffering we all watched him go through day after day. Those memories will always stay with me. When Andrew’s mom got home and found me crying she hugged me tight and we cried together. I will always feel like Andrew’s parents are the only other people who know what it’s like to watch the person you love suffer day in and day out and the toll that takes on a person. Andrew’s dad came home and we laughed, cried and talked about good memories. It was healing.
The next morning I headed back to Dallas to unload the u haul. I’m not completely moved in, but I’m getting closer. Sitting in my new house while Ellie played on the floor I had the realization that the house was going to be this quiet all the time. There was a sense of sadness in the room. Don’t get me wrong I love me some alone time, but by choice not by circumstance.
The day after I moved my furniture we drove to Waco to celebrate my little brother’s engagement. He is such a romantic and his engagement was the mother of all romantic gestures. He proposed in a tiny white chapel at a Ranch with rose petals, candles, strung lights and pictures. He had a video crew and a photographer. A yummy restaurant catered. Pres and Anna were surrounded by close friends and family. The families spent the night at the ranch and that night we all sat by the fire pit roasting marsh mellows while sharing in Pres and Anna’s excitement. It was a beautiful experience. I’m honored to get an incredible new sister and I’m so proud of the man my younger brother has become. I’m looking forward to celebrating this memorable time with them. Ellie’s already been practicing her flower girl duties.
I know this was a lot to throw at you at once so I’m not going to let so much time go by in between blogs. I’m hoping that once I’m moved into my new house I can get into a groove. Next week I’m headed to San Antonio and Houston to speak at two different events. I am extremely honored to be invited to share, inspire and encourage others. Thank you all so much for continuing to share my family’s story so that I can have these amazing opportunities to help others even as I continue to work through my own healing. Lots of love to you all. Blessings.
P.S. In case you were wondering about the title of this blog let me give you a little background. My maiden name is McKissack. Pres (my lil bro) and Anna’s friends thought of the saying and created a hashtag for the engagement #youmaynowmckissack So creative!