The Divide Between Then & Now

This day…and the excruciatingly sharp memories of it from four years ago is no longer the worst day of my life. But, it is the reason and the cause and the blame for what happened that would lead us down the path to what would come. Because of this day, I now KNOW pain. I now KNOW heartache. I now KNOW loss of a magnitude that cannot be understood unless experienced.

This day four years ago, cancer came calling. Cancer invaded our sweet, quiet, happy lives and would forever claim its divide between “then” and “now.” I will never (ever) understand why cancer invades our most precious and innocent of lives. Why our CHILDREN are diagnosed at an alarming rate. And why (oh, God, why) people turn their heads and call it rare. The second thing I will do when it’s my time in heaven, after a long and joyful reunion with my beautiful girl, will be to ask God himself. Why?

But through it all, the pain and the memories of this day and every day in the four years that followed, I want to say something out loud here and proper to my daughter that I don’t think I’ve ever said to her before.

Kate, I want to say thank you. For showing me the most pure, beautiful form of love imaginable. Thank you for showing me kindness of the most loving form. For letting me experience pure joy through your eyes – learning to delight in what appeared the smallest of things. Thank you for showing me bravery unmatched, courage and a heart of gold.

But above all, thank you for letting me be your mommy. For letting me be your comfort. For letting me be your “person” in the darkest, scariest times of your life. I want to say thank you for letting me be your refuge, your lap and your shoulder to calm the storm. You might never know how difficult it was to watch you struggle, though I imagine now you do. Amazingly enough, my darling girl, those hardest of days would become ones I will cherish the most because you trusted me. You needed me. You loved me.

And that, my sweet Kate, is my life’s greatest gift.

Promises

My heart has felt so heavy lately. It’s almost hard to differentiate anymore because it ALWAYS feels heavy. But lately, it’s this pulling and tugging from recent events and news and stories shared among the childhood cancer community that is coupled with my own difficulties wrapping my brain around the fact that our own story was rapidly unraveling this very moment 18 months ago…I just didn’t know it yet. 18 months ago this very day, I felt fairly confident that I would be walking back into the fight with my family – hand in hand into the fire. But if you asked me 18 months ago this very moment if I thought that Kate might die, I would’ve laughed at you. MY girl? No. 18 months ago I was about to be proven oh so very, very wrong. Continue reading “Promises”

The Courage to Remember Takes Practice

I’m two days and knee-deep in my newest must-read grief book, Bearing the Unbearable and I come to a chapter on the courage to remember. The author, a PhD who lost her daughter in 1994, says that “in early grief, people say that one of their greatest fears is that others will forget.” She also says that I will. Memories will fade. I will forget.

I must practice remembering her.

Maybe I share for a nod of understanding or for posterity, but today, I’m going to say that I share because I am practicing.

Continue reading “The Courage to Remember Takes Practice”

The Grief We Don’t See Coming…Missing Milestones with our KitKat

Kate only got one “first day of school” milestone under her belt. She went off to preschool in September of 2015 and posed for Mommy’s 286 pictures with such pride…sitting there in her sweet little sundress from cousin Lynn and her lime green hair bow. She was so ready for school and she just blossomed in the four months she spent there, molded and shaped and loved by three of the best teachers to grace the profession.

Continue reading “The Grief We Don’t See Coming…Missing Milestones with our KitKat”

Daddy

“You are so brave and quiet I forget you are suffering.” ~Ernest Hemingway

I have never met anyone who doesn’t fall head over heels for my husband. He is friends with everyone. Makes acquaintances effortlessly. Sure, he’ll have trouble remembering your name, but he’ll remember your face for dozens of years to follow. He has as many childhood friends as he did when he was 18, more bromances and man-crushes than Justin Timberlake and currently, I believe I count at least 2, possibly 4 work wives. You all see what I fell in love with 12 years ago – the jokes, the stories, the laughter, the fun. Mike is easily the funniest, most laid back, most interesting person I have ever met and the true blessing of getting to be his wife is not lost on me.  Continue reading “Daddy”

If You Give A Mommy a PanKATE…

…she’ll write a recap to go with it.

One of Kate’s favorite foods was, of course, pancakes. She was a purist – only butter and syrup for her; no sprinkles or chocolate chips and she really preferred the kind made at Amphora Restaurant. She called it the Pancake Place and we went there often. (Very often.) I knew I wanted to host an event around her birthday to officially launch the website, the cause and invite people to celebrate her life with us. With that, the idea of the PanKATE breakfast was born.

Continue reading “If You Give A Mommy a PanKATE…”

So…What Exactly IS Kate’s Cause Anyway?

A week ago yesterday, we were all in a panKATE & sausage stupor, sleeping off our efforts into the late afternoon. There were so many people who worked SO hard to make our PanKATE breakfast official launch party a tremendous success and I will dedicate an entire seprate post to them and to recaping the event itself.

I wanted to write this post to give you, Kate’s Cause followers, an idea of exactly WHAT Kate’s Cause is, anyway?? You’ve been so supportive of us and of our family, and I felt like this was a good way to tell everyone what we shared that day at the launch event.

Continue reading “So…What Exactly IS Kate’s Cause Anyway?”

Happy Birthday Kate Olivia

I have a six year old today. My eyes have never seen her and I don’t know what her voice sounds like. But my heart knows her perfectly.

She’s taller now (they still grow up in heaven) and her hair is longer, but still beautiful and soft. It’s amazing – her eyes are big and blue – but her glasses remain on her dresser here at home. She has no need for them where she is now. She sees colors more vivid than we can imagine and she watches over me from among the stars.

I have a six year old today. My arms ache to feel her weight and my body longs to sit aside hers. But my heart still knows her perfectly.

She’s wiser now (for she knows everything she’ll ever need to know in heaven.) She has no fears and she has no pain. Her legs are strong and she spends her days running and playing. She has no worry or sadness and all she can remember is love. She knows the truths that we all seek – why we are here, who we are meant to become and she knows her life’s purpose was fulilled. She loves me but does not miss me, because she is with me every day. For us, it feels like it has been an eternity; for her, she probably hasn’t even blinked once yet.

I have a six year old today. She doesn’t need a party in heaven, but she gets one nonetheless. I don’t know what she’d like today, but they say that in heaven they are the “best version of themselves” so to me, she is just as I know her. She still loves pancakes, cupcakes and sprinkles and she still delights in bubbles and kicking the ball around. Only now, it’s not in our back yard, but the wide open fields of heaven, under the bluest skies and sunshine and she plays with her angel friends and not us. Lily and Eliza play with her as she tries to keep up with the big kids like Mathias and Gavin. The littles run behind…Monroe and Sim are giggling.

I have a six year old today. At 4:04am today, Kate Olivia turned six years old here on Earth. Or, at least I wish she did. Because instead, her 6th birthday is now her 2nd in Heaven and she is forever four.

But today isn’t the day to let childhood cancer have a say. Today is a day I rejoice over the bliss of being allowed to be this child’s mother. Today is a day I celebrate the moment we met. A day I reflect back to the hope and pride I had as her mommy and all the things I wanted her life to become. I like to think I had a hand in what it did; she was mine and I hers. My soul mate. My very best friend.

Kate Olivia, my darling, most perfect girl. When you see me today, know that I cry because I miss you. But I would do this all over again in a second just to know you. Every ounce of this pain is worth the chance to be near you. Even if only for four years, seven months and seven days. You changed my life with yours and I am so grateful.

Happy birthday my beautiful Kate. Mommy loves you. I miss you. Best friends forever. I promise.