In Loving Memory of Jesse Gabriel Kammerzell

Your precious feet left tiny footprints in our hearts...

Friday, March 12, 2010


It had not been a hard day today; quite the contrary. It's Friday. My students are finished with their CSAP testing. The weather was beautiful, and I had a productive lunch meeting, got good news about new technology I'm getting in my classroom, and even was feeling quite satisfied that I'd gotten so much planning finished after school. It's weird how grief sneaks up on you.

Tonight we went to Old Chicago to eat. That's where we had dinner the night Jesse died. We've been back since then once or twice, and it was no big deal. Tonight though, was a different story. When we got there we circled the lot to find no parking (maybe the first sign that we should've just ordred pizza), so we drove across town to one of our favorite Mexican restaurants, which was equally busy. Billy really wanted OC so back we went. We had to park across the street in the tanning salon parking lot. When we got inside it was slammed. Hot. Loud. Smothering. There was no space in the bar (of course), so I put gave our name and the lady said it would be about 45 minutes. I took the buzzer thingy and went back to Billy. As I told him how long the wait would be, suddenly my heart felt as though it would burst from my chest. The walls and the crowd were going to crush me if I didn't leave, and quick. I couldn't be in there, not right at that moment. Not wanting to burst into tears in front of all of these people, I dashed out the front door and all I could think of was getting out, getting away from the noise, the crushing crowd, to breathe. I couldn't breathe. Humiliated that I couldn't even manage to go out to dinner with my husband on a Friday night. (It was a crowded Friday night that night too. Twelve weeks ago. We were sitting at the bar so we wouldn't have to wait forever for a table.) All I wanted was to go home. Couldn't we just get takeout? But Billy really wanted to go out to eat so we made our second trip back across town to the equally crowded Mexican restaurant. It wasn't AS noisy or AS hot, but the people standing in the lobby waiting for tables all seemed to have babies. Everywhere I looked, babies. Babies in pink hats and babies with rosy cheeks from the wind. Babies laughing, bouncing in their daddies' arms. Again the tears jumped from my eyes and I couldn't talk to Billy to even tell him what was wrong because if I breathed, if I opened my mouth, I knew that all that would come out would be a strangled, pitiful sob and I didn't want to make it more of a scene than it already was. They seated us pretty quickly...get that crying woman out of sight, quick, I imagine. And even at our table, from the booth behind, crying babies.

What had brought on such a reaction? Our assignment for group this week is to try to write a letter to Jesse, and that's been sitting like a lump of cold steel in the back of my brain all week. I just can't wrap my head around how to start. And I got some books that I'd ordered today. Books friends at group recommended. About God talking to a Baby he's about to take home, like Jesse. I haven't read it yet; not sure I can. About a little kid who was supposed to have a baby brother or sister, but got an angel instead. Will I read it to Sami or just tuck it away with Jesse's things? Or could it be the disc of photos I am carrying around in my purse, wanting to get a print of Jesse's precious little feet(the ones at the top of this page)to put in a tiny frame next to the plaster molds they made us at the hospital?

In the end, dinner was fine. I am exhausted. I think I'll go to bed early.


  1. Karen,

    I know these feelings so well. Many times I have found myself confronted with babies and pregnant women and crowded situations and just felt as if I was going to explode. I am sorry. In my Bible study memorial I wrote a letter to Hannah. It was VERY difficult but I felt SO good afterwards. I felt like I let out all those things I never got to tell her, that I had just been holding inside. And its strange you mention the book- is it Born to Fly? My friend had made a video of the conversation Nathan has with God that same night of the memorial. It was very difficult to read, but also comforting at the same time.

    Lots of love,
    Katy xxx

  2. I too have had the feeling of claustrophobia, in an OB's office. It is not easy! I felt like I couldn't breathe and had to run out of there. It was so overwhelming and a bit scary - I couldn't control myself.

    It sounds like there were so many things building up and it was the end of the week, when you could relax, and it all got to you. Grief does that to me too. It jumps up when you put your guard down. I've learned the best way is just to feel it, talk about it, and write things down. You will get through it, and be a stronger person and understand your thoughts and emotions a whole lot better in the end.

    I think that it might take some time to be able to write a letter. I've seen others do it all the time and couldn't even entertain the idea of doing it myself. Lately though, I find myself sending thoughts out to Julia during the day. The other day I even found myself piecing together some things I might write in a letter to her... Don't pressure yourself too much, it will come when you are ready.

    Hugs to you :)