50 long years

50 years.

That is how long I can potentially be on this Earth.  That is if I live to my 90’s like both of my grandmothers.

50 long years.

I don’t know how I am going to do it.

To fill up all those years.

I went from being a person with her life planned out to being a person who is merely existing.

I am obviously still here for a reason.

And I want to see my daughter grow up and meet my grandchildren and maybe even my great-grandchildren.

My daughter (age 3) told me that she is going to be a mother when she grows up and that she is going to have four children.

So I guess that means for every theatrical temper tantrum I have to deal with, she will get it back times four.

Karma can be a beautiful thing.

But it is all going to be delightful as long as my daughter gets an education first.

People used to ask me why I was bothering with a second degree because I was married to a lawyer.  I always said that if something should- God forbid- happen to Bryon, I need to be able to support myself and my family.

I used to say that but I never thought it would actually be my reality.

But here I am.  Surviving?  Existing? Keeping my head above water?  Waiting to live again?

Without direction.  Lost.  Anxious.

Bryon is not here to solve all my problems.  He is not here to tell me that everything is going to be okay.

No idea what the future holds.

I have lost my faith.  In God.  In the Universe.

The future feels bleak and empty.

Scared to be lonely.

Scared to let someone else in.

Scared that I will be unhappy.

Scared that I won’t be able enough for my daughter.

Scared that I will always be sad.

Scared that I won’t make the best of my remaining years.

This is my life now.

For the next 50 long years.

 

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First Annual Bryon C. McKim Memorial Derby Party

I have two words to describe Derby Day 2017.  

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The first word is Epic.

We all came ready to celebrate the two most exciting minutes in sports.

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There were old friends enjoying each others company.  There were new friendships formed.  Lots of laughter, celebration and happiness were in the air.

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There were lovely ladies in dresses, hats and fascinators.  

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There were dapper men in seersucker suits.  

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Delicious food was served- bourbon meatballs, pulled pork sliders, mini Kentucky hot browns, mint julep chicken skewers and chicken and waffle skewers.  Because we all know that food tastes better when it is served on a stick.

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Makers Mark Mint Juleps were consumed in special Bryon McKim souvenir cups.  So many Mint Juleps were consumed that the bar ran out of Makers Mark two hours into the party.  Bryon would be particularly proud of that.  

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There was a silent auction full of amazing items that were generously donated from members of our community.  The silent auction was accompanied by friendly competition to outbid each other.

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The second word is Bittersweet.  

We were having a great time but we all knew that this party would not be happening if Bryon was still alive.  If Bryon were still alive, we would have been having our annual Kentucky Derby party in our backyard.  The backyard party would have been at a smaller scale but just as fun.

Ultimately Bryon had to die to bring us all together to have a good time.

As much fun as I had on Derby Day, I would have given it all back if it meant Bryon would still be here.  But I think I am reaching the point in my grieving process where I am beginning to accept Bryon’s death as it is.  I have days where I still ask “why” but I know that even if I can figure out the “why,” it doesn’t change anything.  Bryon will still be dead.  And there is nothing that can change that.

We can’t change the fact that Bryon is gone but instead we chose to take a horrible situation and make the best of it.  Many people die without leaving their mark (pun not intended) on this world but Bryon made his mark (okay, pun was intended this time) and we made the choice to keep his memory alive.  Derby Day had the potential to be a very sad day but instead, we chose to celebrate Bryon’s favorite day of the year.  And we celebrated in true Bryon McKim fashion.  I am grateful that I had so many amazing people to celebrate Bryon’s life with.  We all remember what a difference he made in this world. He helped so many people when he was alive and we chose to continue his legacy and help others in his memory.

I want to thank the Bryon C. McKim Derby Party Planning Committee: Vince Casale, Lynn Krogh, Danielle Grasso, Joseph Hanson, Jennifer Muthig, Mike Utzig, Nick Wilock, Jennifer Armstrong, Mike and Natalie Kosar, Sara Stein and everyone else who assisted in the planning process.  I am awe of your talent and you ran this event like a well oiled machine.  You could run a small nation.  Bryon would be proud.

I want to thank our sponsors for supporting the event and all the business who generously donated items for our silent auction.  My daughter and I are very lucky to be part of such a supportive community who looks after their own.

I want to thank Wolff’s Biergarten for all your hospitality and help putting on this event.  You were great to work with and made our experience enjoyable.

And I want to thank everyone who came out to support our event to celebrate Bryon’s life and keep his memory alive.  One of the biggest fears that a grieving person has is that their loved one will be forgotten.  Thank you for reminding me that while Bryon may be dead, he did live.

I look forward to celebrating with you again in 2018.

Bryon C. McKim Memorial Derby Party

Derby Party 2013

Our first Derby Party was in the tiny townhouse apartment that we rented but that didn’t stop Bryon from wearing his seersucker suit.  We had some friends over and crowded into our little living room to watch the Derby on Bryon’s flat screen TV that was too large for our room.  We served bourbon meatballs, mini Kentucky hot browns and derby pie and Bryon made Makers Mark Mint Juleps.

Derby Party 2014 and 2015

The next year we had moved to our house and we were able to have a larger party.  We still made the bourbon meatballs, mini Kentucky hot browns and derby pie.  Bryon bought a little costume for our cat that had a jockey on the back.  Our cat hated that costume.  Bryon served Makers Mark Mint Juleps and bought an ice crusher that was from the 1980s.  I was always so worried he was going to lose a finger in that machine.

Derby Party 2016

Bryon was really excited.  He decided that he had had enough of that ice machine and was looking into renting a snow cone machine.  It would serve two purposes, make snow cones for the kids and he could use the crushed ice for his mint juleps.  He sent out his Facebook invites.

But the Derby Party of 2016 never happened.  Bryon was in the ICU.  I sat with him all day and watched the Derby coverage but by the time the Derby was on, Bryon was too tired to stay awake.  I was so sad that Bryon couldn’t enjoy his favorite day of the year but I told myself that it would be okay.  We’d be celebrating with our friends in 2017.

And now it’s 2017 and Bryon is not here.

But the party will go on.  Bryon wouldn’t have it any other way.

We will be dressed up.  There will be Maker’s Mark Mint Juleps.  There will be mini Kentucky Hot Browns and Bourbon meatballs.  There will even be chicken and waffle skewers.  There will be a silent auction for raise funds for the Bryon C. McKim Foundation and our daughter’s educational trust.

What is the Bryon C. McKim Foundation?

Our friends and I have been working hard to make sure that Bryon’s legacy will stay alive through the Bryon C. McKim Foundation. Bryon helped so many people when he was alive and he was never one to brag about it.  When he was in the hospital, people would visit and tell me stories of how he had helped him.  Even 8 months after his death, I am still hearing stories from people that he helped.

There is no reason that Bryon shouldn’t still be helping people even if he is no longer with us.   By helping people, Bryon’s spirit lives on when we help people.

Through the Bryon C. McKim Foundation, we will establishment scholarships to Siena College and Albany Law School.  Bryon was proud of his education and we hope to give that gift to others.

The Bryon C. McKim Foundation also plans to provide patient education to teach patients how to advocate for themselves.  However, some patients can’t advocate for themselves.  When Bryon went into the ICU, I had to advocate for him right away.  It was a scary place to be and I had to learn what to do quickly.  The Bryon C. McKim Foundation wants to give people the tools on how to advocate for their loved ones.

Tickets can be purchased at mckimderbyparty.com  You can also join the excitement on our Facebook event page.  We would appreciate your support in keeping Bryon’s legacy alive and ask that you purchase a ticket even if you are unable to attend.

We hope to see you on Saturday!

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