Day 6

The counting starting over at Day 1 may seem odd. There is always a reason – even if it only makes sense to me. Time passes and only we humans deal in such specific measurements. I for one don’t want to waste any time but more importantly I don’t want to take time for granted. Time is a gift and I know this and want to be both grateful and a good steward.

We last updated you on Day 3. Days 1-3 for me were days of mourning. We stayed together as a family and had very few visitors. We needed the time to talk, hug, cry and mourn for our Catie. We planned the next three days to be very packed and we wanted to be there for all of you who mourned with us for your Catie. On Tuesday night we had a private viewing for the fab 5. There were mixed feelings about whether or not the casket should be opened or closed. It was determined that Catie’s desire would have been to close the casket. Along with Catie’s trademark smile were her vibrantly red lips – when you die you lose your coloring and no artist can paint a color even close to God’s original. ‘since she did not look like herself, we decided to close the casket. Molly, ever 4 and ever wise, wondered why if we didn’t like how Catie’s face looked we didn’t open the casket from the other end and show everyone Catie’s feet because they still looked the same. God thank you for putting children in my life. M.E. climbed up practically into the casket to kiss Catie. The private viewing while it was tough was peaceful and I think helpful for the kids. Once it was decided to close the casket we then needed to decide what to put on top of it. It was decided that we would put flowers, Catie’s crocs – all covered with the jibbitz that Catie earned as she finished surgery and began her recovery (we gave Catie a jibbitz each time she did something for the first time again like stand, walk, climb stairs etc.). In addition were Catie’s cell phone in its Croc holder and Catie’s Bible. Catie read her Bible constantly. She read it cover to cover while she still could see and then she had us read it to her. She was preparing for heaven even while we were still praying for a miracle. She was ready.

Thank you all who came to the viewing on Wednesday night. Many of you came and sat and watched Catie’s video. It is a treasure. Thank you Nick for all the help. People came from far and wide to be there. Kevin’s parents and brother’s family drove in from South Carolina. The Rhea’s drove in from Memphis, TN. Their daughter, Katie, after hearing the news asked her parents why they were not going.- Jason and Jessica listened to their child and packed the car and 14 hours later arrived. Katie Rhea is Catie’s friend from Memphis (you can see them on the website). We spent the day and night hugging people and thanking them for coming. Molly, again with her wisdom, asked where the basket was for the money. I asked her what money she was referring too and she replied “the money from people who are paying their respects”. God provides laughter amidst the tears. What a gift!

Thursday morning began with a private family viewing and considering the size of our family it was large. On both sides there are 7 kids and 6 of the 7 were there including their spouses and children. We headed to the church. I was not ready. I had just begun to feel comfortable with the viewing and now that was over. I wasn’t sure how I would feel about the funeral. I knew how I wanted to feel. I wanted to be happy for Catie. I wanted to feel joyful and to celebrate her life. All I really wanted was Catie back in the house completely cured. Once we arrived at the church there was the organizing the troops and then I heard the music. Catie loved music and the music and the songs lead me into the church. As I walked down the aisle I noticed friends and family members that I had not seen. Some were crying. Others looked concerned. I noticed but didn’t focus on them as I was busy singing as I knew Catie would want. The Mass was a celebration. The homily was so perfect that we have asked Father Snyder for a copy to add to Catie’s website. At the presentation of the gifts we had Catie’s best friend, Franchetta Groves and her mother, Catie’s cousin Helen and her mother, Aunt Pilar, and Catie’s teacher, Mrs. Rosti carry 61 white roses. These roses signified the 61 days that God gave Catie to prepare to come home to Him. It would have been nice if we had asked Mrs. Rosti beforehand but in last minute preparation some details are missed. Thank you Mrs. Rosti for saying yes with no notice. The mass ended with Kevin giving a heart tugging eulogy to Catie that brought many tears – though none from Kevin. I stood by for moral support and in case he needed me to stand in – but by the grace of God Kevin handled this with great poise. As Mass ended we were whisked away – no saying hi to many who came to the funeral but didn’t join us for the following reception. Thank you all who were there to support us. The reception was amazing. As we were asked to not name names, please know that we are eternally grateful for all you did and please know that I was able to rest, enjoy and spend time with others all due to your efforts. Great job!! I have four daughters who will be getting married; how much time do you need for a wedding reception? That is actually the point. Minus the photographer that is what yesterday was – Catie’s wedding. Thank you all who witnessed and supported us as we sent Catie off to heaven to be with the bridegroom – Jesus. My mother always says “You’ll be better before you”re married.” Mom, you are right Catie joined Jesus in eternity completely healed and ready.

As we have just experienced today, another mass for Catie and her burial, I wanted some time to reflect on all that occurred before we wrote about it. So there will be another update. We are tired but filled with peace and love for one another and thankful that we are not alone on our journey. We couldn’t do so much, so well without all of your prayers and support.

Peace be with you,

Christine, Kevin, Maggie, Max, Catie, Mia, Molly, and M.E.

PS Many of you have asked about Gianna. I have never signed her name and yet I refer to her. I may always sign Catie – time will tell. During Catie’s story Gianna’s name came up a lot as we talked about heaven and death with Catie. Talking about it comforted Catie. Many of you may not know that Catie’s favorite story is about Catie and Gianna. After Max and before Catie, was G. I was so sick with both Maggie and Max that I prayed that I could be both pregnant and healthy. And so I was. I prayed to then Blessed Gianna Beretta Molla. At 26 weeks we lost Gianna and I cried every day until I held Catie. I would tell that story to Catie because it made her so happy. I called Catie my little lifesaver because she saved me from a terrible depression. As the baby never lived outside of my womb we always referred to her as “G”, but as Catie became ill “G” became Gianna in out attempt to comfort and prepare Catie for heaven. We named the baby Gianna after the now Saint Gianna to whom we prayed.

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