Diary of a Mother's Mission

My son, Kevin Martin, disappered under mysterious circumstances in the wee hours of July 18, 2004. His partial remains were found on February 1, 2005 in the river. The Des Moines Police have not been helpful and this is my blog to tell what I have done as it's done.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Patty's Death

Couldn't come up with a title to this except "On Death and Dying" and that title is already taken. I did take that book by Elizabeth Kubler Ross out of the library, at one point, but ended up not reading it. It wasn't quite what I expected and it seemed to have so much on people who were dying as opposed to the psychology of people who had lost loved ones. That wasn't my issue at the time. Maybe it was just time constraints, at that particular time, and/or maybe I was just not able to get into the book. It certainly isn't something which would be "escape" reading. Things have changed since I checked that book out of the library. The breast cancer diagnosis. Actually, I can't remember if I titled another blog "death". I don't think so although I know I've talked about it. If I did or if I am repeating myself it is, obviously, because it is something I think about all the time. Even moreso, now, since I have been faced with my own mortality. There is a difference between facing the mortality of a loved one and facing ones own mortality. A big one. I guess I thought I was kind of a pro at death until I got my cancer diagnosis and then I realized this was something else. Something really new for me as I have always been in very good health and so something I never faced. I was really scared, shocked. We know we all die one day but, I guess, I could just say those words but subconsciously believe that I was going to live forever. Or, that it was so very far off in the future that I didn't have to be concerned about it and that it wasn't really going to happen. Already the shock has worn off and although I'm still in the midst of things, have started to feel, as I've gotten further away from the surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, that, indeed, I am going to live foever! I know this isn't true but there must be something in the human psyche, I guess you would call it instinct, the will to live, survival, which prevents us from dwelling on the death issue.

Dwelling on death is one thing. Coming to terms with it is another thing and something our society and culture doesn't deal with well. I'm still coming to terms with the loss of my children, my loved ones. Four years later I still don't think my mind can fathom the finality of Kevin's death. That I will never see him again on this earth. What the whole thing really means. That this handsome, young, intelligent, talented young man is no more. One can't destroy consciousness, though. The essence of who Kevin really is. His spirit. Enter faith. Enter belief. I have to believe that Kevin is still alive somewhere, and I do. But that's hard to fathom also, for the human consciousness. Maybe it's easier for some people and, hopefully, I'll get there too, to that level of spiritual development. And I have to have faith that I will see him again and be with him when I die, and I do. I try to think of all of these things, and I do, on a regular basis, but still can't grasp the whole thing. What it all means. Why some are taken so quickly and others are not. Four years later I still don't have the answers but I guess my faith is stronger.

Months ago a young woman I worked with lost her husband, 38 years old. I am still overcome with emotion by loss and death. Perhaps that's part of our society too. Here, I certainly know what loss is. I have dealt with death. Terry was 38, too. And yet I didn't know what to say to her. Everybody has to deal with their loss in their own way. And, yes, it is impossible to take their pain and loss and grief away from them, as much as we would like to. As much as we don't want to see anyone suffer, death is life and so they have to work through their own pain. So, yes, in the past four years I have changed. Hopefully grown as a person as one does when they experience tragedy in their life. My attitudes are different about death and more accepting as that is part of the process, I guess. It would be nice if we could make it easier for those suffering. That doesn't happen too often either. That is our society. People don't know what to say or how to say it and don't want to make anyone feel uncomfortable and that includes me as well.

When you lose a loved one, a big part of you does die. We all die a little in many ways all of our lives. We grieve many things, as I've said before. We grieve the loss of a dream, a belief, the loss of a spouse, meaning in this case, divorce. The loss of opportunities, the loss of youth. Well, it's endless, really. Even the loss of a favorite car that just wouldn't go anymore. So, maybe my title, this time wasn't half bad. I have died before, a big part of me with Kevin, with Terry, with Danny and I will die again, the final one, but for now I'm trying to figure out all of this death stuff, Patty's attitudes about death, for whatever it's worth.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Four Years Later

Today, and the past week or so, I'm not coming from a position of high spirits. I don't know why. I did want to write this particular blog coming from a position of strength but I'm not feeling very strong. Who knows why? At times I try to figure out my gray moods. Sometimes I can, because it's all very obvious. At other times it isn't, and so to sit and dwell on a reason or to try to come up with an answer is futile and a waste of time and energy.

Yes, I finally did go back to the police dept. to request another part of Kevin's file which was under another number and referenced in the larger case file. It was no problem, and went quickly, unlike my attempt to get the primary file. I was in and out in 15 minutes. I also requested a meeting with the new chief, Judy Bradshaw. The office person had to check and when I called back to request that appointment I was told that someone would get back to me. This is what happened the first time. No need to say more about this. Same old, same old. What is the Maj. going to say to me when I tell him there are things missing from Kevin's file? As I've said before, I have to muster all of my strength and faith to go down there and deal with these people. It's depressing.

This past Summer an acquaintance or friend of Donna's, Kevin's step-mother, called her. He had seen a bumper sticker with Kevin's "http://www.kevinmartin.com/" on it, what do you call that, his website, I guess. Gary thought it was a white car but I'm sure it was mine, silver gray. Anyway, he called Donna to tell her that he had had an "insight" and seeing the bumper sticker reminded him of that, and, although so much time had passed, he felt the need to call Donna and relate this to her. Nothing new, but it did corroborate what has been said before; that someone did something to Kevin and that he sustained a head injury. So after all this time, someone remembered something, an insight, I'll call it, and relayed it to us. Why he waited so long to call, I don't know, and it wouldn't have changed the outcome anyway, but it does give hope. The case is closed, definately, as they told me with vehemence, they're not working on it, but if a piece of information comes through that they deem significant they can always reopen the case.

I watched a little of the Olympics this year. The gymnastics are so popular that one can catch coverage of that particular sport if one doesn't have cable, which I don't. A couple of names were mentioned from the last Olympics. The U.S. medaled then as well, although not as prolifically as this year. I couldn't understand why the name wasn't familiar to me and then I realized. 2004! I was in a different world. A nightmare. Kevin had disappeared just before the 2004 Olympics. Rereading the police report, again, took me back to that time as well, something I don't like to do. I don't want to relive the horror but it does come up every now and then. I immediately try to focus on where I am now, the positive, the wonderful memories of Kevin. Now, four years later, I can do that most of the time. Just not all of the time. Whenever I hear a jet plane, I always think of Kevin. This year, once again, I go to Lincoln H.S. where Kevin went to school. On occasion, I still see young guys who remind me of Kevin and I turn my head and watch. Most of the time, they, the school, airplanes, a favorite book, his artwork, which I just looked at again the other day, all different little things that maybe I had forgotten about suddenly pop into my everyday consciousness, and conjure up warm, positive, memories of him - and I'm glad for them. It's hard to accept that that's all I have. Memories. But, yes, I'm very glad for them, because that's all I do have four years later...

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The Summer of the White Blouse

Well, what does that mean? The Summer before, 2007 that is, I termed the "Summer of the Big Sweat". That's because it was a much hotter Summer than this year, I thought, and I road my bike back and forth to work everyday. I've never sweat so much in my whole life! I guess I should say perspire. Women perspire, men sweat. So, the "Summer of the White Blouse"? Starting in June I had to start my radiation treatment, 5 days a week, for 6 and a half weeks. I went to the stores and looked for ,and found, some light cotton, pretty, blouses to wear. Blouses that would be easy to slip on and off to replace with those ridiculous hospital gowns. At least we could keep on our bottom half whether it be a skirt or pants. Since I was riding my bike I chose black pants. Pants , but in my case, because of my previous uniform requirements at MTA, were all black. So, I pretty much have all black pants and a lot of them. Black pants and a white blouse. Very stylish and sophisticated, I've always thought, especially on models and tv personalities that are very slim. Well, really, everybody looks crisp and business like in black and white, I think. - And sophisticated, too.

Well, what does this have to do with Kevin? I kept thinking about that and my title, "Summer of the White Blouse'. It kept sticking in my mind for some reason. I got a kick out of it as I did my title from last Summer. But then I started to think about it on a different level. Black and White. What does that mean to me. Probably during my growing up years I was more black and white and immature than most people. One sees things in terms of black and white when, in actuality, most things fall in the gray parameters. Life is gray, most of it, not black and white.

This has bothered me, and always will and why I will always persist when it comes to Kevin. Some things are not gray. There are some things that are black and white, absolutes. The dignity of human life. One doesn't just "drop the ball" when it comes to a young man who is missing and then ends up dead in the Des Moines River. I've been over all of that before. Kevin's life was black and white and he deserved the respect that is accorded some and not others. He is a child of God, as is everyone else. His life was precious and deserved so much more. Appreciation. Recognition. Acknowledgement. All of this has been said before ,too. I believe there are absolutes in this life, some things that are black and white, no gray, and Kevin, and Kevin's situation is one of them. He deserved so much more and got pushed aside.

The "Summer of the White Blouse' is over, for now, hopefully not to be repeated (the trips to the hospital) but it came with a new sense of clarity and resolve. Kevin Russell Martin