It’s about time I post to He Wore Flannel. But I feel pretty behind. So much time has gone by, I don’t know where to start.

A lot’s happened since my last posting just after the New Year. Namely January, February, and most of March. There was Kade’s 22nd birthday, a visit from my parents, Asher’s first Disneyland experience, attending GriefShare, receiving a scholarship to a grief retreat coming up in April, starting to train for a 5K, and the advent of spring.

OK, I decided. I’ll write about Kade’s 22nd birthday on January 24th—the third since he’s been gone.


They just keep rolling around without him. The years he was growing up went fast… and I guess still do. With his birthday and angel-versary evenly spaced out in the year I always have something super fun on the horizon to look forward to. Luckily what I planned for the first birthday without him worked so well that we put it on repeat. It’s nice not having to decide what to do.

The main event is a pizza party for family and friends. The first two years we had it at a neighborhood pizza joint. Last year we felt cramped in the private room, there was a lot of waiting around for pies and refills, and it was hard to mingle among packed booths.

This year we reserved a wide open room at the rec center and ordered pizza in. It suited us much better. We could spread out our tables of pizza, pop, cake, canvas pictures of Kade I made to take home, and sky lanterns to write messages on.





Marni, Jenny, Laura, Leah


making my decoupaged Kade canvases for party mementos


Finished party favor: 6×6″ canvas with Kade’s photo decoupaged on it. I copied from his Calvin and Hobbes books and cut strips for the sides, also decoupaged on.

After ordering 22 purple sky lanterns, opening, assembling, and writing messages on them (Asher too!)… it was too windy to launch. We were so bummed! I gathered them up for another time. Which reminds me, we still need to do that. Maybe on his angel-versary in June. Or I might pick a time before then to get the kids together.

All three years I’ve also arranged volunteering around Kade’s birthday. Let’s just say it’s not as popular as pizza and sky lanterns. The first year we helped at Denver Dumb Friends League and the library, honoring Kade’s love of animals and books. Dumb Friends was more popular but unfortunately hasn’t had anything for our group the last two years. So the library it’s been. I’m very appreciative of friends who signed up, Angela, Leah, Draven and Nick!


Jen & Angela


Nick and Draven. Love the purple!

I got to chat a little about volunteering with Kade’s friends. Planting a tree or picking up trash at a skate park seemed tolerable because they could bring their boards and have something fun to do after.

Although I look forward to celebrating my son on his birthday and can’t imagine not (in life or in death), I have to say I breathed a sigh of relief when it was over. I never had a CLUE of the impact of dates after losing someone close. Holidays, birthdays, angel-versaries, and a whole host of other times. Not a clue. Just the day before Kade died I reconnected with an old friend I used to work with. She said she couldn’t wait till June was over because that’s when her mom died. Never having an immediate member of my family like a son or mom suddenly gone, I didn’t have an inkling about what she was saying. I probably thought something like, “Why say a perfectly good month like June is ruined? Mind over matter,” or something along those lines.

Then, Bam!, boy did my life, and tune, change. I understand now. I don’t like it, but I get it. Like so much in the realm of grief, I hope the passage of time makes the dagger dates softer. The date itself is not only hard but sometimes even more so are the weeks and days leading up. I call them “crazy making.” I get a little nuts before

New Year’s
his birthday
St. Patrick’s Day (he loved Shamrock Shakes)
the coming of Spring (like now!)
Mother’s Day
my birthday
Father’s Day
his angel-versary
the Fourth of July
back-to-school time
Asher’s birthday
the coming of winter
the Dreaded Extended Christmas Madness Season
(why does it have to be so flashy and last so long?)

I can best describe the time leading up to dagger dates as PMS on steroids with gripping pain in my heart. Can I get a  Grief Midol?

Back to Kade’s birthday. I took care of myself by taking time to journal the night before, which I think helped release the pressure valve to my crazy. My parents in MI were going to be here for the birthday festivities but had to postpone because my mom was sick. It was nice that they wanted to be here for the day. It felt good to volunteer in Kade’s name, doing something good in our own neighborhood where Kade grew up, sporting our Kade buttons.

And Kade’s friends showed for his party, again. I wish I would have gotten more pictures. Their love for their buddy warms my heart. I got to look into the faces Kade knew so well… and loved so much.


Kade’s best friend, Beau, and his girlfriend


Torri and Drew


Tyler, Asher, and Shay


Draven, Nick, and Kenzie


Shay, Chrissie, and Chrissie’s friend

2015-03-22 22.34.28

Happy 22nd, Kade