Finding Meaning in the Time You Had, Guest Writer: Kara Krittenbrink


“To have been loved deeply, even though the person who loved us is gone, will give us some protection forever.” – JK Rowling

How do you describe the most important person in your life? I don’t even know where to begin on describing my mother. I could write a novel explaining the incredible life she lived and how important she was to the people in it. A devoted mother of two who never missed a baseball game….a loving wife to her high school sweetheart, an aunt, a sister, a daughter, a friend… She was the person you went to for advice and the listening ear when you needed it. Most importantly she was my best friend.

In 2007, my mother was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. I can still remember that day quite vividly. I was in class at OU and got a phone call from her. My professor had stepped out for a moment so I answered the call. She said that she was at my house in Norman with my dad and brother. Immediately I knew something was wrong and I rushed to my house to see her. Anyone that has gotten news like this knows that saying you are shocked doesn’t quite do it justice, I was shaken to my core.

How could this active and healthy woman have a disease that was slowly breaking down her body? At 47, she had so much life left to live, this couldn’t be happening to her! Although my parents didn’t share it with me, her diagnosis was pretty bleak from the beginning. She fought as hard as anyone could and all the time stayed the incredible mother to my brother and I. Even when she lost her hair and felt weak she still came to my brother’s sporting events and my sorority functions. Only her last 6 months did I truly see her as someone that was sick. Soon after her 50th birthday, my mom lost her (nearly) three year battle.

That was over 5 years ago and each day I deal with grief. When I was first asked by Ceci to write a post for her blog I didn’t believe I was qualified. Who am I to write anything about healing? Because many days I still feel broken. I miss my mom every minute of every day and sometimes that feeling is overwhelming. But that’s when I realized, who better than someone that does feel broken to write about grief and coping with it.

Grief is a day by day process. It is something that you don’t get over but you learn to cope with. One of the key ingredients is finding hope! Sometimes that can feel like quite the challenge but you have to know that it is there. One of the most important things that someone ever said to me while I was grieving is that whatever you are feeling right now is valid. Grief can bring anger, sadness, confusion and 100 other feelings. Sometimes you live with one feeling for awhile and other times you can go back and forth thru them all very quickly. Just knowing that what I feel is ok and normal helped tremendously. There are many ways to grieve and everyone does it differently. Also know that it is ok to have happy days. In the beginning it takes awhile for them to come, but when they do you can’t feel guilty. Being happy or joyful doesn’t mean you miss that person any less or didn’t love them enough. The happy days are a gift!

My mom and I had a special relationship. In the 22 years I had her on Earth with me, we were always close. I told her everything and looked to her for advice all the time. I looked to her help with school, friends, faith and many other things. She was my favorite shopping partner and I can blame my lipstick obsession on her too! While I was in college, it was pretty common for us to talk 2 or 3 times a day. Having this relationship taken from me was devastating, I not only lost my mother but my mentor too. Now I’m able to take all the hopes and dreams she had for me and in return, they give me hope. I know she was excited for all the possibilities in my life and what I could do with it. In the last year, I’ve realized I can take this and use it to push me thru the dark times. I remember that I have this life that I want to live and fulfill in the way my mom would want. I still want to make her proud. I can’t let her death get me off track from all the great things that we talked about… all the wonderful possibilities.

I also know that I can still take her with me during every step of my life. I take the wisdom, love and advice she gave me. The love she had for me gives me confidence when I pursue new things and make changes in my life. The wisdom she bestowed on me helps me in life decisions. When I’m having a hard time with something, many times I will think about how she would have handled it.

Loss is one of the greatest challenges in my life. Finding hope thru everything my mom gave me while she was here gets me thru the dark days.


Everyday K Floral Headshot (2)

-My name is Kara Krittenbrink and I’m excited to be guest blogging today! I grew up in Okarche, OK and currently live in Edmond, OK. I work in Oil & Gas. I have a style blog at where you can find me, and on Instagram EverydayK_

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1 Comment

  • Joan Heiner 4 years ago Reply

    I’ve thought about you many times since you graduated,!

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