Day 7

As I reflect back over this past week and all that was and all that will be I know more certainly than ever that God is love and that I am His child and therefore am loved by God my Father. I know that I can do nothing to deserve this love. I know that it is freely given to me. That knowledge and my simple childlike understanding of it gives me great comfort and peace. Kevin brought Catie and me home from St. Jude less than two months ago and now she is gone from us. If I dwell and focus on what I will miss and on what has occurred I could very well cry myself into a depression. If I focus on why? I will be disappointed for I can’t remember a single instance in the Bible where God explains why? in words other than those that proclaim His love for us. So I focus on God and my believe that He is in control. If I believe the Creed I profess than this is where I should turn in these days for comfort. My Creed begins I believe in God the Father Almighty the maker of heaven and earth…I stop there to reflect on God the creator.

I remember that Kevin and I wanted to love one another for the rest of our lives and that is why we were married. We promised on our wedding day to lovingly accept all children from God. We did that. After Maggie and Max and the loss of Gianna, I wanted to get pregnant and even if it would mean being sick I didn’t care. I wanted to be a part of God’s creation plan. I desired another child. Kevin told me one night that this desire of mine must include God and that we must accept that it is His will that we desire first and foremost. Everything stopped and we prayed and 8 months later we were blessed with Catie. Can we see the hand of God in this that after eight very sick and difficult months we were blessed to add Catie to our lives and we gave God thanks and praise? Now again after 8 very difficult and sick months we are again blessed to accept that Catie is added to heavens saints and angels and we again give thanks and praise to God. Are we looking for similarities to comfort us? Is God giving them to us? My God is very detail oriented and I believe that there are no coincidences in life but rather signal graces provided by God to let you know that you are either on the right path or not alone for He is with you.

God was with us again as we celebrated Catie’s life at the Memorial Mass for Catie at St. James Church in Basking Ridge. Again we were surrounded by family and friends. Many of the friends from our old neighborhoods were there. Many friends from high school were there. Many people that Kevin has worked with while in Basking Ridge were there. Thank you one and all for joining us to celebrate Catie’s life. Kevin again gave the eulogy. This time I wish I had had a video camera. Kevin calmly walks to the ambo and unfolds the eulogy while M.E. (2), Molly (4) and Mia (6) run to join him. Kevin picks up M.E. and holds her as he offers his touching words. Kevin is a man of many talents but very few of us could read a eulogy for our seven year old. Fewer still could read it with a 2 year old sticking her fingers in your ear or pulling the sponge covering on and off the microphone you are speaking into at the time. Mia and Molly did their best to receive their share of the attention. Despite all of the distractions Kevin did a great job. For many who heard Kevin’s eulogy the distractions of the girls provided laughter with your tears. Isn’t that a great way to celebrate life, even if it is the life of a seven year old? Many of the friends that we have gained through Catie’s Story were there. The women who were responsible for giving Catie the funds to provide the best Christmas ever for Kevin and the kids were there to hear firsthand how wonderful their gifts were and how much joy their gifts have provided our family. The 12 year old girls from St. James were there and I had a chance to hug them and thank them for following Catie’s Story. I told the girls that as they get older if they should they not understand a direction given to them by their mother they should pray to Catie. She cannot change your mothers but she can help them have a more understanding heart, The ladies of St. James, just like the ladies of St. Joe’s, provided a lovely reception. Thank you. Many wore purple, whether it was done on purpose or by accident doesn’t matter, thank you for to Kevin and I it was a sign of Catie.

After we had the opportunity to hug everyone we packed everyone back into the car for leg two of the day – the trip to Calvary Cemetery. Catie was buried next to my grandfather, GP and with my Grandmother, Mom-Mom and their son, Billy. Billy died at the age of 4 from leukemia. GP died two years ago on Valentine’s Day. Catie remembered going to the cemetery and not seeing a headstone. While she gave the OK to be buried there she wanted a stone. Thanks to our dear friend, Emily, slates were painted identifying who was there. Catie would be so happy! When you can read having something to read makes sense. The time at the cemetery was not easy for me. Father Keith faltered with his words as emotions took over. I kept my eyes on the green blanket surrounding the grave making sure that none of our children ended up falling into it – never say “what could happen” with little kids – for anything is possible. I listened and I prayed and then I quietly laid a rose on Catie’s casket and walked slowly down the hill. Several of the children saved a few of their flower petals to place in their Bibles to remember the day and Catie. As I looked up filled with sadness and disbelief I saw three people coming toward me up the hill. They were not walking with indifference as someone who doesn’t know you. They were walking toward me. They knew me. They were coming there to see me and to say good-bye to Catie. The Milanese family stood before me. Michael and his mother drove in from New Jersey. Kevin drove down from Canada! We hugged and hugged. We called Kevin’s children in Canada to say hello. How grateful and thankful I was. How amazing to know that your child had such an impact that people would come over the course of three days from as far away as Canada, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Tennessee, South Carolina and New Mexico. Catie touched lives. We left the cemetery and went over to the Villanova Conference Center to share one last meal in celebration of Catie’s life. What a beautiful place and what a wonderful time we had! Thank you for arranging everything Rich and Regina!

The final leg of the day was the trip home with the fab 5. There is a peace within our family. There is love with our family. As I type these words Kevin is outside with my sister KC and the fab five sledding. As they came back in they tell me how Catie saved Mia from disaster of crashing head first into a metal fence as they sled down a sheet of ice. Mia exhausted returned sad and crying. If I am to assume that all of her tears are due to Catie I would be wrong. As before Catie died I will simply comfort the crying and if it is because of Catie or not does it matter? To me it only matters that I am there to comfort them. Being in Memphis I was not able to be there for the fab 5 and now I am. I am grateful to God for bringing me home to Kevin and the fab 5. I trust that someday He will reunite Kevin and I and the sensational six. Gianna will be there too and Kevin and I will call our children the super seven. Seven is God’s perfect number and how perfect it will be that the very first time we will all be together as a family we will be together with God in Heaven.

I realize that we have sent you many updates in the past 24 hours. Much has happened. Many over the past three days have asked if we will continue to write. We will. It is our plan that we will continue to write at least through the publication of Catie’s Story. Please stay tuned and continue to write back to us.

Thank you for joining us on our journey.

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