Happy Birthday Catie

During the past eleven months we have cried, laughed, prayed, shared and written with all of you. Many people have questioned and still question why we have not cried more, why we have not gotten angrier, why we have not had more pity parties for ourselves and why we have not asked WHY? The entire time we have had Catie and the Fab 5 as our focus. It has always been more important to us that Catie was prepared for each day – living it and yet aware that here was not her ultimate goal – and live it to its fullest. It also became important to us that as we shared our story how it affected all reading the story. We (Kevin and I) rarely focused on our own loss of Catie. Catie is a great kid and we shared her and her life and her story and now we have so much support to share her legacy.

This morning I went to Brayden’s site (he is a friend and fellow St. Jude patient) and read every entry. Tears streaming down my face as I read mentions of Catie. Just as things were going very badly for Catie, Brayden’s mom wrote that she was struggling for understanding. After I read Brayden’s journal I wrote Brenda the following thoughts and felt they were appropriate for everyone following Catie’s story.
There is a reason – yes it is beyond our understanding but it is real – why any of us are still here living or fighting for the life of another and waiting and getting itchy to be doing something else. I used to tell Catie that I didn’t know why God did what God did. There are plenty of awful things that people do to each other everyday. Why would we need a God that allowed awful things, like cancer, to happen too? I didn’t know why then and I still don’t. Catie has offered me no heavenly insights. I do know this and believe it with all of my heart – we each were created to do at least one amazing thing for God while we live here on this earth. We all need to ask our God what that thing is and DO IT. Then be brave enough to ask the question of God again, “ANYTHING ELSE LORD?”
Eight years ago Catie was the answer to a prayer. We had just lost Gianna and were so devastated – I remember holding that sweet girl and breathing in the scent of Johnson’s Baby shampoo from her bald head and thinking that life doesn’t get any better. I remember 3 months ago holding her body after she died and placing my nose next to her again bald head – knowing that it contained an awful tumor – I felt so honored to have shared my life and my faith with that sweet girl. I had no regrets. I will never know why this is the path that God placed before our family. I trust God had His reasons and out of those reasons someday I will feel an intense love and no sadness. That day is approaching slowly and the sadness is diminishing – especially if I think about what Catie would say if she saw me sitting around feel sorry for myself. She would give me a look letting me know that’she is not down there was no reason for me to be down.
Catie is watching us, perhaps through her wish to have a legacy she is even leading us. I for one am going to follow her; hopefully all the way to a cure. Did we ever tell you that Catie told one of her doctors that she was going to raise enough money to close the doors of St. Jude and put him out of work. He told her to go ahead he would go back into orthopedics because healthy kids break their bones and he could work on them.
I love that girl!
That little girl helps me to dream bigger – who would have thought that one little girl could raise so much money in such a short time? That little girl helps me to love more intensely – Catie used to say to her Dad “Daddy, I love you and that is never going to change.” That little girl helps me to quiet myself and pray (leaving things to be done and yet feeling no stress by the fact that they aren’t done) – in the quiet I can hear her little voice singing and praising God. That little girl helps me to feel strong – she smiled everyday even though the muscles wouldn’t allow you to see her smile anymore. That little girl helps me to open myself and share who I am – I am Catie’s mom and so very proud to have brought her into this world for all of you to know. That little girl helps me to live today the best I can – all the while focusing on Heaven!
Today we celebrate Catie. We wear purple. We remember Catie and are grateful that so many of you have joined us on her journey. To date she has raised $1.96 million!! Thank you Catie, for coming into our life and for continuing to be such a big part ! We love you. Happy Birthday !
May God continue to bless you and the work of your hands,
Christine, Kevin, Maggie, Max, Mia, Molly, M.E. and the Birthday Girl

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