Day 54

Hello to all those who love, pray for and support us,

This week began with a bang.� First there were the preparations for going to Catie’s Event and then there was the event.� It all went great in the end.� Given enough time I am most certain that that could be said about anything.

I found myself in unfamiliar waters this week.� I was upset, not sad by things that I read.� I read a comment that stated the St. Jude was the most amazing hospital ever because they never give up and they always find answers.� While intellectually I do believe that it is an amazing hospital, (and I know that I will spend a great deal of my time and efforts over the rest of my life raising money for Catie’s Legacy and ultimately St. Jude) this simple comment sent me reeling with emotion.� There was no answer and no more trying for Catie.� There was only preparing and letting go.� I eventually found peace after this comment.�

The next day began with another comment from another mother from St. Jude.� This mother spoke not of the hospital or its people but rather of her faith and of God’s choice to heal her daughter due to her (the mother’s) increase in faith as a sign to bring more of the faithful to God.� Now wait one minute.� This is exactly what I believed and yet it did not happen.� I spend my days trying to put my life and the lives of my family back together.� I see Catie’s friends and I comfort them.� I comfort the friends that come to me.� I comfort Kevin who returns from an environment that has all but forgotten that Catie lived or died � why?� Because death is not something that people feel comfortable talking about and yet it is our reality.

I have taken a poll of the children.� I am very direct.� How are you feeling today and in general with the fact that Catie has died?� Max’s first answer was �fine�.� I give him the look and he says that he is OK but that he feels better when he doesn’t think about it.� Why?� �When people are talking about Catie my eyes feel wet�, I turn to him, wrap my arms around him and say mine do too.� I just let the tears fall.� Maggie feels that same way.� I ask the two of them what they want to do about this.� What can we do?� We can remember Catie with smiles and laughter.� We can go on living and attempt to show people that death is not the end of life but rather the fulfillment of God’s promise to all His faithful.

I hug the children so tightly these days.� Molly has accused me of breathing her hair.� I am searching for comfort.� I do not know the Bible chapter and verse nor do I understand all that the words or meanings contained within the Bible.� I certainly don’t want to become upset reading the Bible as I search for comfort.� I know some of the Psalms and I silently pray them throughout the day.� I think of Our Lady, Mary and the apostles and understand why they remained hidden in the upper room.� (The poor man who owned the upper room;� talk about guests who don’t know when they have worn out their welcome.)� I laugh a little and this comforts me.� I smile and this is like sunshine for me.� I listen to music and I feel Catie with me.� It is a very strong feeling of comfort for me to listen to music.� It is funny as in odd, especially to those of you who know me that I would turn to music. In the past I couldn’t do anything when music was playing. �I couldn’t concentrate.� I couldn’t focus.� I can know.� It is as if the music notes are Catie’s sweet little voice in the background, whispering to me that she is great and that I will be fine IF I allow myself the time to feel what I feel and let it go.

I look at the situation.� The facts are clear.� Our daughter has died.� It is our belief that she is in Heaven with God, Our Father and an amazing cast of characters � the Saints and all those who have gone before Catie.� We are sad.� We miss her.� Things remind us of Catie.� Sweet innocent things like the tulip bulbs I planted last summer in preparation for Catie’s First Holy Communion this Spring, the Easter dress bought for each of the five girls last year (on sale), a song on the I-pod that she gave me and the kite that is stuck up in the tree from last year.� (Catie loved to fly kites and learned last year.� Our front yard is a great place to fly a kite, as long as you stay away from the trees.)� Many wonderful people attempt to comfort us.�

God Bless all of you who try.� We are blessed to still be receiving letters each day.� When someone makes a comment to us they are trying to reach out to us.� They have been touched by Catie’s life, possibly Catie’s Story and possibly because they have dealt with death in their life.� Being human often means that we don’t know what to do that first time we try something.� Being human also means for many of us that we are not very patient and loving while we ourselves are hurting.� As a human being when we are hurting we tend to shut down and turn away from others to protect ourselves � yet what we truly need is comfort.� However the hurt that we feel is so intense that to think about asking for anything is a huge RISK.� A risk that many who are hurting are not willing to take.

That is the lesson for all us Christians and humans out there.� We are to try to love like Christ loved.� Are we going to get it right every time? NO, but don’t stop trying.� Learn from your mistakes and failures (remember that builds character � and heaven is filled with characters) and try again.� Last night Kevin came home from being away.� He had had a tough trip, not that he complained � he never would.� He was tired.� He was sad.� He played the I-pod Catie gave him in an airport waiting for a flight and ended up crying alone.� He then took the I-pod and put it in his bag and never listened to it again.� Music, for Kevin, is everything all rolled into one � it tells a good story, it makes you feel good.Music allows you to get involved � tapping or singing or letting the music take you away.� Catie’s death and Kevin’s loss of his little girl is so real for him.� Kevin’s grief is his.�

Each of us feel many of the same things when we witness something.� We laugh together with others at the movies.� We cried together when Catie’s tumor returned and again when she died.� Many still cry because the feeling is so strong, just watch her video.� Feelings tend to change � quickly for some people and more slowly for others.� Grief is not just a feeling and no two people grieve that same way.� Grief, by definition, is intense sorrow caused by the loss of a loved one.� The only way to handle my grief is through my memories of Catie and how much she loved life and how she prepared for her eternal life through prayer. That is why I continue to pray because prayer connects me to Catie and will prepare me for joining her in my eternal life.� Today, my prayer is for Kevin.� I pray that Kevin feels my love for him and finds some comfort in that love.� Kevin has to find his own way but he is not alone.� I know he knows that so many of you are with him, I am there for him and Catie is there too.

God Bless.

Christine, Kevin, Maggie, Mac, Mia, Molly, and M.E.

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