Day 75

In some ways, 75 days is a short period of time, and in other ways, it is much longer. Over the course of the average lifetime, it is a drop in the bucket. If it represents the time since a loved one departed it can indeed seem like the eternity it has become for them in heaven. Catie has been in heaven for 75 days now, and there are admittedly minutes, hours, even whole days when her death is far from my mind. Being present in the lives and loves of the people here allows and affords me the opportunity to not dwell on what Catie went through or that she is no longer physically present with us. Others may not be to that point in their grieving. Why? I believe that because of three reasons, I have, with God’s assistance and blessing, achieved a level of acceptance with all that is happened. First, all that Catie endured and the impact it had upon every aspect of our lives as a family was a constant in every day for the 8 months that she was sick, and therefore the impact of her absence was also a constant in the 75 days since God welcomed her home. That concentration was something that even the most involved of our family and supporters did not experience. Only we as a family shared that, and frankly, Christine had an even more concentrated dose of Catie’s life that did the rest of us. That concentration, while it did allow for some difficult times also allowed for quicker healing and acceptance. The second reason for my acceptance is my true and honest belief that not only is Catie better off, but that we are being touched and blessed daily and that the comfort we feel is a gift from a loving Father who is being bugged by a precocious and persistent 7-year old with a heavenly smile. The third reason is that Catie has left us with her Legacy Wishes, and in her heavenly wisdom knew that her desire to fund St. Jude and become a Saint would keep us really busy and keep our focus on the positive aspects of her life and death.

So that is where I am, and the fab 5 seem to be in a similarly good place of acceptance while still maintaining a relationship with their sister that overcomes the physical barriers between heaven and earth. Which brings me to Christine. I believe that she had it harder than anyone, not only in Catie’s sickness, but also in her death. Christine was Catie’s only companion through much of the journey, and likewise, Catie was Christine’s only companion. When Catie went home to heaven, the hole in Christine’s life was larger than it was for anyone else. All that being said, I am convinced that Christine is in a good place of acceptance as well, and I have empirical evidence to prove it, not just my own gut instincts. One of the first things Christine did after we checked in to Hershey Medical Center way back in June after we determined that Catie had something in her spinal column was to go to Justin to get her hair cut. Justin commented at the time that her hair was “stressed”. Each subsequent hair cut has produced the same comment. Makes sense right, there was a whole lot to be stressed about. Well Christine visited Justin last night, and he announced to her that her hair was back and that it was stress free! What better indicator could there be? Thank you Justin. While I am sure that there will be moments of stress to come, the blessings of our Father continues to compel us to give our worries to Him and believe that He will take care of us.

So where are you? Each of you that made the commitment to join with us has been impacted, if not by Catie’s life, then certainly by her death, or even her Legacy. We pray and hope for all of you that if you are still struggling with Catie’s story that you can find peace with what has and will occur. If it takes you longer, know that we are here for you, just reach out. We truly believe that the prayers and support from each of you have been one of the biggest reasons for our ability to get to where we are now, and we want you to join us here as well, please let us know how we can help. Tonight we are honored to be on the altar as a family for the washing of the feet at the Holy Thursday Mass at St. Josephs, and leave bright and early tomorrow morning for South Carolina to visit with Grammy, Poppy, Aunt Lynn, Uncle John, Austin, Douglas, and Anna. It will be our first visit with them since Catie died, and it had been a refuge for us when she was sick. If you remember, we went there just after surgery as we were deciding on a course of therapy, and again for Catie’s First Holy Communion on Christmas after the tumor came back. It continues to be a home away from home for us as a family, and we are grateful.

May the peace of the Risen Lord be with you this week. May your travels be safe ones and your reunions fruitful, and May God bless you and the work of your hands,

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

PS – the Catie DressDown days program is gaining impetus. Dress down days were a very successful fundraiser for us, and we believe that as we expand the number of schools involved, future April 23rd Catie Legacy days will become a reality and that we can continue to support St. Jude and the work they do. Please pray for the success of the program and its founders.

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