Day 49

Dear friends and Catie Story followers,

Hard to believe that 7 weeks have passed since heaven welcomed Catie home and freed her from the limitations of her mortal body. As her journey home ended that early Sunday morning, her Legacy is becoming the focus of our attention. Perhaps that was one of the gifts that Catie bestowed upon us as she completed her work on earth. In giving us a challenging yet attainable goal, she blessed us with deadlines, tasks, and a whole lot of brainstorming to accomplish in a relatively short period of time, thus limiting the time we might have otherwise spent wallowing in the sorrow of her life cut short. Tomorrow, Sunday March 15th, we will gather with a couple of hundred of you who have followed Catie’s journey and some who have yet to step into the radiant circle that was and is Catie’s life. At P.J. Whelihan’s in Blue Bell, PA, we will begin the active phase of making Catie’s Legacy the success we all believe it will be. Catie’s dream of raising the $1.4 million in daily operating expenses for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for her birthday April 23rd is a dream shared by all who hear it. Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to appear on radio stations in Philadelphia and Memphis telling Catie’s story and trying to encapsulate in words the beauty and uniqueness of this wonderful little 7 year old who danced in and out of my life. Thank you Rock 103 and Holy Spirit radio for the chance to spread Catie’s story, and thank you for the wonderful work you continue to do in your communities.

The kids and Christine continue to do very well. There are still times when each of us looks at the empty chair at the table or the empty seat in the car and well up with a tear, and that’s ok. There is a hole in our lives that used to be occupied by Catie’s physical presence, but holes have there uses. They give us opportunities to fill them up. Sometimes we fill holes with trees, flowers, swimming pools, foundations for buildings. Holes are necessary if things are to grow and build, and while we may not have asked for this particular hole, we do owe it to ourselves, Catie, and God to fill it with life. As I listen to Christine talk about her days, I realize that the loss we each feel has some similarities as well as some differences. We each lost our daughter and yet the relationship we had with Catie based on the time she was in treatment was significantly different. On one hand, Christine had 6 months of quality one on one time with Catie to build the memories that can offer her comfort now. I had phone calls and a few visits. On the other hand, because of the special bond that Catie and Christine formed, Catie’s physical absence in her life is so much more poignant. So we turn to each other and focus on what we have and the blessings that we have been given. We focus on the mission to continue to honor Catie’s life and death by sharing the journey we are all on to return home to a Father who desires only to love us. We focus on the fab-5 and on our marriage and on the opportunity we have been given to be ambassadors for Catie and for God. We focus on being thankful to all of you as we are still receiving daily blessings in cards, food, stroopwafles (Dutch cookies sent by a wonderful family in the Netherlands that have followed Catie’s story), and for each of these blessings, we are grateful and humbled. Your on-going generosity is one of the awesome parts of Catie’s journey and her lasting effects. And we focus on prayer. Prayer for Catie’s Legacy, prayer for all of you that receive this journal, and prayer for our family as we journey forward. We spent each evening this week in prayer at a parish mission in Carlisle at St. Patrick’s Church, and it filled us with grace, hope, and a resolve to carry on.

Last night, the seven of us went to a Harlem Globetrotters game, and the kids were enthralled with Special-K, Bear, Tiny, and Bam-Bam. I was looking for Meadowlark Lemon and Curly Neal, but the 2009 version was as entertaining and kid-friendly as it was when I was a kid. Thank you Andy for letting us know that the show was in town, the kids loved it. Tomorrow we head back to St. Columbkill in Boyertown for mass and then to the St. Patty’s Day event in Blue Bell. Thank you for all of you who will be making the journey with us from Mechanicsburg. We look forward to seeing you there.

Love and God bless,

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

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