Photographs and Memories and More

Good evening Catie followers,

Our hope and prayer is that this message finds you well, peaceful, and in the loving embrace of the Father.

Jim Croce wrote a song called Photographs and Memories.  In it, he sings about what is left behind after a person leaves us.

Photographs and memories
All that I have are these
To remember you

Memories that come at night
Take me to another time
Back to a happier day
When I called you mine

Summer skies and lullabies
Nights we couldn’t say good-bye
And of all of the things that we knew
Not a dream survived

Photographs and memories
All the love you gave to me
Somehow it just can’t be true
That’s all I’ve left of you

In many cases, what he says is true.  I read stories and listen to people who have lost a loved one and the biggest regret I hear from them is the lost opportunity to make and share a memory, or to capture that moment with a picture.  Even with the number of pictures that we took of Catie, there are ones that we did not take that we wish we had.  On Tuesday night, we all watched the video of Catie that we created from pictures and videos of her life and while it caused some tears and a flood of memories, we realized and focused on who Catie was and the fact that she is a big part of our life and how glad we were that we had the photos we did to help us to remember her.  That is not to say that I wouldn’t love to take her picture today hugging her brother or sisters or snap a candid shot of Christine’s face lighting up as Catie walked into the room, but I am thankful for what we do have.

The part of the song that I disagree with is that photographs and memories are all that we have and all that is left.  Catie left us more than that, much more.  Catie left us with a mission.  She left it for me, she left it for Christine, for her siblings, and she left behind a mission for everyone that hears and experiences her story.  It is a simple mission that begins and ends with hope and faith, and love.  Hope for those kids and families that are already in the fight of their lives against cancer.  Faith that with God all things are possible, and love for the people in your everyday. 

We watched a movie called the “Ultimate Gift” on Sunday night.  It was a good story about the relationship between a grandfather and his grandson and the gifts that the grandfather bestowed upon the grandson after the grandfather’s death.  The grandfather’s estate was massive, and as the grandson grew into the man the grandfather believed he could be, one of the choices the grandson made was to build a housing facility at a children’s hospital for families of children going through cancer treatments.  As I watched the movie, the $100 million and ultimately $2 billion that was dedicated to the battle against pediatric cancer, I knew in my heart that all of the money in the world could not have saved Catie’s life.  All of the funding for cancer research that gets reallocated away from pediatric cancer research because there is little return on investment; even if it was correctly funneled to help our kids, still would not eradicate pediatric cancer from the lives of our kids battling today.  Current fundraising will help future generation of kids, just as money raised in the past helps the kids battling today.  However, money alone will never win this fight.

This fight is about prayer.  It is about finding people who are willing to join you so that where two or more of you are gathered, there also will God be.  It is about making the decision to fast one day a week or spending time in front of the Blessed Sacrament.       It is about families setting aside ½ hour a week to sit together, thank God for one another, and ask God to help one of Catie’s kids get through another radiation treatment, chemotherapy regimen, transfusion, bone marrow aspirate, or surgery.  It is about hugging and praising and forgiving your children, your parents and your siblings because they are still with you.  I can’t hug Catie today.  I can either wallow in that, or I can hug M.E. and tell her how much I love her and let her smile take away the pain.  We all have the same choice.  Hug someone you love today for Catie!  Photographs and memories are not all we have, we have a mission and a clear way to honor who Catie was and is to each one of us.

One of the ways that we continue to honor Catie is by supporting St. Jude.  There are Give Thanks/Walks across the country happening on Saturday, November 21st.  This link will direct you to the Harrisburg Mall walk where we will be, or you can select another of the 60 locations that are convenient for you.  Register today for the 2nd Annual Central Pennsylvania Give thanks. Walk.

Other events that will financially benefit St. Jude include the annual Chili’s Give Back Night at Chili’s restaurants nationwide on Monday, September 27th.  Please spread the word and either go out for a great meal or take it to go!

The St. Joseph Council of Catholic Women will be sponsoring a fashion show on Wednesday, September 29th at 7pm at St. Joseph’s Hall in Mechanicsburg, PA.  Proceeds will benefit Catie’s Wish and St. Jude.  Tickets are available after Masses at St. Joseph’s or by contacting Terri Rosenstein at 761-6467.

We received a wonderful message on the website this past week.  A family had been visiting the Lourdes Grotto in Emmitsburg, MD and when they returned home, they looked at the website for the grotto and found a link to the Catie’s Wish website where they read about and learned about Catie for the first time.  As they looked at the website and noticed the butterflies on the border, they remembered a blue butterfly that they had seen at the grotto.  The butterfly landed on the statue of the Virgin Mary and rested there during their entire stay.  They sent a message asking if Catie had liked butterflies.  We of course explained that not only did she love butterflies but that every time we see one, it reminds us that Catie is still very much with us but in a new metamorphosized way.

May God bless you and keep you in the palm of His hands,

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

PS – Please remember in your prayers all of Catie’s kids, many who are still valiantly battling, some who have finished treatment and are showing no evidence of disease, and those that have relapsed or been put on hospice care.  We all can escape from the world of pediatric cancer, these families cannot and need our prayers to get them through another day.

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One Response to “Photographs and Memories and More”

  1. Meg Selby says:

    Christine, my mom used to love butterflies. She had a big butterfly key chain for years! I hadn’t remembered about that until I read this posting — I will think of Catie the next time a see a butterfly.