Fellow journeyers,

It is shocking to me how quickly the veil of sadness and loss can cover me and how completely it can cloud and obscure all that is good and wonderful in my life. I have yet to figure out if it falls because I stop actively holding it back, or if like many other aspects of life, it is beyond my control. If I focus on Catie, am I allowing her death to consume me to the exclusion of Christine and the kids? But if I focus on them and on the here and now, what do I do with the guilt that I feel when a day has passed and I have not thought about that beautiful sweet girl who used to light up my world and who is now gone.

Thursday, I moved my office. It is no big deal, maybe 20 feet. Others are moving across town as I did months ago. Change is part of life and usually not an issue for me. This move is not about change however. With each picture of Catie that I take down, I look at her growth through her 7+ years and then I look at the progression of her disease and treatment through last year and her ever present smile and I realize anew that I will never again hold a camera and capture a moment of her life. And so the veil drops again.

My wife is under the belief that I am fairly intelligent. Many who know me might doubt that as I am sure they could cite chapter and verse some of the really stupid things I have done over the years. Marrying Christine was the best example of a brilliant decision, but that one was made by my heart, not my mind. With my mind though I can block out the thoughts and reminders of Catie and smile happily through my day. That is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because it allows me to function effectively and to hold the veil of grief far away. A curse because when the veil falls I have very little left to try to pull it back again.

So where intellect fails, faith triumphs. There was a woman on the road to Calvary named Veronica, and she had a veil as well. Perhaps it was a veil of silk, but because she was there on that road weeping for Jesus, it was a veil of sadness as well. Faith urged her to offer her veil to Jesus, to put aside her own sadness and focus on someone else, and in that choice she released the miraculous love of Jesus. In choosing to offer rather than dwell on her veil of sadness, she allowed Jesus to leave an imprint upon her that transformed her sadness forever. In many ways, Catie was very much like Veronica. She willingly offered her suffering and sadness and put it aside and flashed her smile. I could learn from both of these wonderful women. Having a veil is not a bad thing, what you do with it makes all the difference.

So today, I accept and offer my veil. I acknowledge that today will not be the last time that sadness over Catie’s absence will cover me. But I ask God to help me to accept that sadness whenever it comes and to turn it around and offer it back to Him. Offer it as a small sacrifice to be joined with the greater sacrifice of Catie and Verionica, and with the ultimate sacrifice by Jesus Himself. Offer it as a prayer so that I can be a better husband and father, a better co-worker, friend, son, and brother.

May God bless you and the work of your hands,

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

PS – please continue to pray for the kids at St. Jude

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