Two looks at the same week

Good evening Catie followers,


When Christine and I wrote our presentations for Engaged Encounter (weekend retreat for engaged couples’ marriage preparation), we often looked at the same event and wrote about it from each of our perspectives. We offer this update in the same format. This past week offered more anniversaries of last year’s roller coaster including Catie and Christine’s departure for St. Jude. I can close my eyes and see Catie with her new haircut that she received the night before they flew down to Memphis and remember her tears as her ponytail was cut off. Perhaps the rubber band holding her hair hurt her, perhaps the thought that unlike her previous hair “donation” to Locks for Love, now she was the one with cancer, perhaps the idea that as cute as her new hairstyle was, it would soon give way to baldness as her treatments began; whatever the genesis, her tears stung my heart. Later that night, the tears had stopped and the 1000 kilowatt smile had returned and Catie’s aunt KC snapped a picture of her smiling and hugging me that causes me to smile and cry every time I see it. (if you go to and click on the photos tab, it is one of the first pictures on the site.) By the next morning, our family was separated. Through the overwhelming kindness and generosity of so many at home and in Memphis, we survived our time apart and are now back together minus one beautiful 7 year old, who God willing we all will be joining her one day.

What this week represented more than anything else for me is that the journey never ends. As much as it began a year ago, it really began when Catie was conceived, or when Christine thrilled me by saying “yes” when I asked her to marry me, or when God planted us together in 5th grade and I fell in love with her the first time. The end, like the beginning, also has no definitive point. Even Catie’s death, now 166 days ago was not an end, but a bend in the road. A road that leads home to God and a reunion with Catie and all those who have pre-ceded us. IF WE BELIEVE. The difficult part this week is that at times, the journey can be exhausting. The temptation to give up, to stop being a part of the battle to eradicate Pediatric cancer through prayer and research, to go through the motions of life without really living it is strong. Because there never seems to be an end, there is no acceptable time for relaxing or taking a breather. There is always another something to do. That is where faith must fill in the blanks. There really is an end, and it marks the true beginning of our eternal life. Given the eternal perspective, these small but painful bends in the road of our lives here on earth are in fact minor switchbacks on the road home.

And so, I offer a prayer, for myself and for you. Heavenly Father, guide us along the pathways of our life. Help us to realize that we are never alone and that with your help there is nothing that we will face on our journey that we cannot overcome if we but ask for your assistance. Infuse in our hearts the true belief in Your love for us that the plan You have for our lives is a plan to prosper us and bring us home to You forever.


This was a tough week. Looking at one piece at a time, it was not that bad and yet when I look back and reflect on all of the pieces I understand why I am once again emotionally exhausted. The week opened with us waiting to hear from a dear friend as to what the doctors has determined was the reason that her son could not walk – even though he had experienced no injury. I lived through that feeling of the other shoe is going to drop at any moment – had a lot of that last year and was really not that fond of it. When Kevin and I both heard that Cole was walking with difficulty and on some days not able to walk, our first question was, “Is Cole sleeping through the night?” Thankfully he was and yet what was wrong? Little Cole is doing better. He is not experiencing as many problems, though nothing specific has been diagnosed and fortunately many of the “worse case scenarios” have been ruled out.

That was the early part of the week. The end of the week also involved some doctor visits. Thursday was my visit to the Orthopedist, I have been having difficulty walking or bearing weight on my left heal for some time. Like Cole, I have no known injury, just pain. I, too, when not an emotional wreck, am sleeping through the night. It turns out that I have a heal spur and given two months and ice, everything may work itself out, otherwise there is a plan B. Friday, was M.E.’s three year old trip to the doctor. It should have been no problem but just prior to leaving for the doctor she walked straight into a wall causing a really profuse bloody nose. Off to the doctors we went with a child covered in blood.

Through the waiting rooms and blood the memories of last summer came back very intensely. Then the rest of the day Friday it was one Caring Bridge update after another from our dear friends at St. Jude that sent me into an emotional roller coaster. How do I just stop reading the updates? How do I just walk away from these people and their children? If God has placed me in their lives and placed cancer in our lives, in my life, isn’t there a reason? Aren’t I or we to do something? Are we doing what we are supposed to be doing through Catie’s Wish? I pray that we are.

Tonight Kevin and I went out on a date. We went to the movies. Can you guess what we saw? How well have you gotten to know us? We saw MY SISTER’s KEEPER. I have never before watched a movie and looked at the EXIT sign at the same time. The hospital scenes were hard for me. Even seeing the equipment was unsettling. Seeing the relationships unfold and getting to know the family members – understanding them and identifying with them was unnerving. Feeling their pain, their sadness, their anger, their fight, the impact of one life on so many others I found myself being grateful for what we had. Even though it was a short eight months it was ours and I will always cherish it and be grateful for all who shared it with us. Tears fell and yet I was not empty, somehow I was renewed. The movie ended with a question or a hope… someday I will see my sister again. For this I know is true with Catie, not just true for me but for all of us. I am so grateful for this truth – grateful to God, my Almighty Father. Amen.

May God bless you and the work of your hands,

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

PS – we just received news that Mary Coffey needs your prayers NOW. The doctors are out of options and only a miracle will save her. Please pray to Catie now to intercede with God for little Mary as soon as you receive this email. With all of us praying, Mary can be saved. Thank you.

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