Time to Reflect

Greetings Catie followers,

It is our sincere hope and prayer that this finds you well and in the warm embrace of God. This past weekend, St. Jude sponsored 39 Give Thanks Walks across the country as a kick-off to their annual Thanks and Giving campaign. One of the events was in Harrisburg and the Catie’s Wish Foundation co-hosted the event. By all accounts it was a tremendous success. Over 250 people gathered to show their support not only for St. Jude, but also for Catie. Every event brings us that much closer to fulfilling the mission that Catie left for us, to eradicate pediatric cancer through prayer and research, and this event was no exception. We were blessed to see both long time Catie supporters from near and far as well as new faces that met us at the event and have offered their continuing support. It is still humbling to reflect on our blessings; thank you.

The walk also marked a year since the first Catie walk held in Mechanicsburg last year. What a difference a year makes. Last year’s event was kicked off by Catie as she had recorded a short video thanking the participants and then saying, “On your marks, get set, GO!!” Last year at the walk we were still so filled with hope as Catie had completed her radiation and 2 rounds of chemo. Last year, the fab 5 and I were preparing to fly down to Memphis to join Catie and Christine and 15 family members for Thanksgiving. November 23, 2008 changed all of that. Last year on this day, we learned that the tumor was back. Last year on this day, we first listened to doctors as they explained that nothing more could be done and then had to hold Catie in our arms and tell her that she was going to die. All of the hope disintegrated in the split second it took Catie to process the information and look into my tear-filled eyes and ask me, “why daddy?” It remains the most difficult moment I have ever had as a human being, and the most vulnerable moment that Catie ever allowed herself to have. Within an hour after receiving the news, that wonderful, beautiful, amazing little girl was holding M.E. on her lap in the wheelchair and was explaining that the tumor was back, but that she would always be M.E.’s big sister.

We spent the week doing our best to celebrate as a family and enjoy the time we all had together. Then the fab 5 and I went home for a week before Christine and Catie came home for good. We had wanted them home, but not this soon. Once they arrived home, Christine set to work making our home as festive as possible for Catie’s last Christmas. Next week, we will start to decorate and prepare for our first Christmas without Catie. That thought has caused a melancholy to descend upon Christine and myself. The first holiday season after losing a family member is always hard, and we will now see just how hard it will be without our sweet Catie. As the weather has turned colder, Christine and I have started to remember how fervently we tried to keep Catie warm and how difficult it was. Now the cold is exacerbated by Catie’s absence. Thankfully God and Catie arrange a beautiful sunset many nights to keep our hearts ablaze.

The fab 5 are doing very well; school is an adventure and they are thriving in the wonderful St. Joseph’s environment. Each of them smile infectiously every day and we are aware of the wonderful blessing of how well they are handling Catie’s absence. Christine reads to Mia, Molly, and M.E. most nights and the Little House on the Prairie books have filled our home as they filled Catie’s hospital room last year. I sit and listen and thank God for the blessings of being Christine’s husband and the kids’ father.

May God bless you and the work of your hands,

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

PS  Please pray a prayer of thanks for all those who organized, volunteered and walked for St. Jude’s “Give Thanks. Walk” this year! Also please pray for those who have asked for our prayers and the those in need of our prayers (Becky, Bill,Charlotte Rose, Dan, Darcy, Diana, Erik, Franco, Katherine, Loan’s family, Mikey, Nick, Phyllis, Renee, Robert, Sean, Susan and Tara) and for all of those who care for the sick and dying.

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