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Grief and the Super Bowl

Grief comes in waves and unexpected places. It can be sneaky and bite you in the heart before you can brace yourself.

My son, Kelly, was a huge sports fan. He loved all sports, but he was particularly fond of football and his beloved Seattle Seahawks. On January 28, 1996, Kelly invited me to his new home to watch the Super Bowl. I was not a football fan, and had always volunteered to work that day so my fellow employees could enjoy the game. I told Kelly I was working, and why. He was terribly offended and angry with me. He told me he would never invite me to his home, again. And he didn't. Kelly died 5 months later. There was no second chance.

February 5th, will be the 2006 Super Bowl with the Seattle Seahawks and Pittsburgh Steelers. I am agonizing over whether or not to watch it in Kelly's memory or stay away from newspapers, television, and radio. I've been wondering if Kelly would want me to watch. Has he forgiven me? If I do watch will I be able to control my emotions? Or should I even try? I have that queasy feeling deep in the pit of my stomach and I'm beating myself up over the fact I didn't see my son's lovely home until after his death. I know this is grief! I also know that it's guilt weighing on my already fragile, broken heart. I am suffering from the "if only's and the "what if's." It hurts! It hurts so badly I want to run somewhere, but there is no place one can hide from the pain of losing a child and reliving the times we desperately wish we could live over again . . . differently.

Super Bowl Sunday! Who would ever think that a day of high energy and celebration could be so weighty on someone's life? I have made it through nine Christmases and, New Year's, without my son, nine birthdays, Mothers Days, Easters, Valentines Days, Thanksgivings, Fourth of Julys, and Halloweens and worst of all the Angel days, the anniversary dates of his death. So why is Super Bowl Sunday upsetting me so much? Is it the reminder of the day I didn't spend with Kelly? Is it guilt, or pain of not being able to touch him or hear his laughter? Is it because, his favorite team, the Seahawks are playing in the Super Bowl for the first time?

I can imagine Kelly feeling like all his holidays are rolled up into one huge day. He would be bouncing about, gathering every T-shirt, sweatshirt, bobblehead doll he could find to add to his collection. He would be one of the first to buy game day tickets and plane reservations to Detroit. It would be one of the biggest, happiest, exciting days of his life.

Especially if the Seahawks win.

I think I'll watch it.

For Kelly.


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