rewind

Oh I miss her. Oh how do I miss her. All moments of her… DSC_0269

I miss her.

And I feel like I have so much to write but I dont know if I have enough clarity in me to get it out.

Today was the first “normal” day. And it was beyond hard. I snuggled with Jonathan on the couch..and thought ok maybe I can do this living thing.  Somehow I ended up looking at one of the poster boards from her service. One with lots of photos of her.

And the ache started to crack open.

Jonathan came in the room with me and we talked about the pictures. And the memories we had.

And the ache started to rip further…

I told Tony I needed to go shower…code for being alone.

…and the ache exploded.

……………..and exploded.

I did my best to stifle it to not upset my boys too much. And I made a decision, I need to see her again. So I called my sister and she took me. Jennifer looked better than feared. Very much like she was sleeping. I talked to her and cried for her. And willed her with all of my heart and soul to just  please..

open her eyes.

She didnt.

I am glad I went but part of the reason I went was to try and make this all real…not just painful..but real.

It didn’t.

50 more yrs?!!?

Rewind..to yesterday. Saturday. When we decided to make her services public we also decided to do a immediate family thing the day after. As a family we also decided the younger cousins wouldnt be us for the first part of the afternoon, but our 3 would be. I think it was the right choice. With all of the planning for her public services I did almost nothing to prepare for this day. Which I think also turned out to be a good thing.

The night before I sat and I wrote and wrote and wrote. But boiled it down to a few very simple ideas…

I..we…needed family to be with us to remember her again. That her big services on friday were the closing of a chapter and saturday would be putting the book down …to just absorb …before flipping the next page. We talked and cried and laughed. Then we met all of the younger cousins and we all wrote on and released balloons to her. It was good..a tradition we have started with our boys for sure. And we all watched those balloons stick together the way family should…and form a heart shape to float to her..I wish I could hear her voice.

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50 more yrs?!?!

 

 

We went back to my parents and ate together. And drank a little too. And then we laughed and laughed. Til our sides hurt we laughed. And made a family tree with handprints. A craft started with art therapy through hospice…we made one just for the our family of 6..then started another one for our family of 40 with my siblings and their families. We have a few more prints to add but we added many more hands to our extended family tree.

We came home. And my husband and I grieved into each other in our kitchen while our 3 living children slept.

Rewind

Friday morning. February 21st. We were woken by my lovely sister in law calling for us. She came to pick up our boys for us. We got our breakfast delivery from an amazing friend…and we took turns feeding the baby. She was so happy and smiley. It was almost unnerving. But also a good reminder of what a gift motherhood is.

I got dressed…

wait rewind..

The day before I took out what I planned to wear. And I didnt like it. I didnt feel good in it which is what really mattered to me. So I went shopping with my sister and friend and a screaming baby. We fairly quickly found 2 outfit options. Both I liked…both I felt good in.

Back to friday morning. I got dressed…and re-dressed back and forth. I couldnt decide what felt right to wear. I was certainly channeling Jennifer since it was the shoes that were really messing me up. And she was a shoe fanatic. So 30 minutes later than we wanted to leave we loaded up (with both outfits).

I ended up changing there one final time. I am glad I did. I am happy with what I wore!

Soon the whole service will be in a format I can share it. And I will. But I will say it was as perfect a day as I could have hoped for for a day I never wanted to happen. I am proud of what we created to share our daughter with everybody who has come to care about her…and us…A rough guesstimate of people in attendance to be over 1000.

Incredible. Shocking. Touching.

The room was full far beyond that though. I am not sure I can adequately explain what it felt like to me that day. I wish I could jar it up to share.

…and to have it again for myself.

Twice now I have felt something. Bigger, beyond. And it gives me hope. For the true joy she is having. And I think it also makes me hurt that much more when that feeling is gone.

The only way  I can think to explain it…I love my husband and my children. Its a feeling that comes from the inside out. I know they love me…even sometimes I feel it but it still emanates from the inside.

But what I felt that friday morning..was a pressing into me. And holding me upright. And I was in a almost euphoric haze. I cried but not the same tears I cried before and since. They were true…but not as pain filled. I try so hard to remember and capture that feeling. The one I had those last hours with her and to a lesser degree again that friday in the gym. I think I beleived in God before. But the steadying at her service and the fullness in her room …that is something beyond me…beyond this life. That much I am sure of.

I  just wish I could feel it again. Instead of just desperately trying to remind myself…not even of how it felt because I cannot do that…but just that I felt it.

50 more yrs?!?!

One moment I really remember both in writing my eulogy and giving it was how hard it was to end it. To know that, as another mommy to angel said, I am done planning for her. 6 yrs I have spent planning for her. In that moment of writing and reading planning for my daughter was coming to an end.

We stayed til they started to take the tables in the reception area down. I knew it was coming. So I looked for Tony. He came into the room and I ran to him reaching for him…my best friend. So much so that he was worried something had happened. But it was just the ending…of that day…the closing of that chapter…

Right at the end of the service we did a butterfly release. All of the kids got to touch one and watch it go. I want to try to do it again with just my kids…

Her drs and social worker came. They didn’t have to. But it was so very important to me that they did.

We only knew them for 107 days. 3 months 15 days.

But I needed them there. I think she would have wanted them there. They were the first of 4 embraces that made the tears flow.

We went to my sisters house..all of our family again. After some car seat shuffling we came home.DSC_0365

In reverse thats our past 3 days. Full of so much. Love and sorrow… But more than anything I am left with a desire to just..

..rewind.

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48 Responses to “rewind”

  1. I have been and will continue to pray for you and your sweet family. I have been reading your blog from the beginnings and have so much in common with you. I live in Gilroy also and have a sign out our front yard for JLK. My children all know about her (I also have 4 and my oldest daughter is adopted) we pray for you and your family daily. We will be putting candles out for her this week and know many other families that plan to join us. JLK is a fighter and will Reilly be missed.

  2. Libby, the feelings of closeness with Jennifer will come when you least expect it. Don’t try to force it…she’s with you now and always. You’ll feel her presence in so many ways if you just let go and allow it to happen in its own time and in its own way.

    Grief never truly goes away, it just becomes bearable. There will be tears at the oddest moments and at expected moments. Never deny the tears…

    I listened to Trisha Yearwood’s song “I Would Have Loved You Anyway” just a few minutes ago. It’s about a different sort of love relationship, but the sentiment is the same…

    sending you strength and comfort…
    PS…I know of you through my daughter.

  3. Oh Libby….I have sat here the last 10 minutes trying to figure out what to write. Feeling compelled to write something, but what? There are no words. I think I checked your blog five times today … needing to hear you were somewhat okay. Now I lay in bed next to my five year old and again ache for the pain you are going through. From the day I read that Jennifer had passed I have slept in the bed with my daughter. I just cannot not. I have always felt extremely close to her, but you and Jennifer…well, you have made me NEED her…in a great way. In a way I can only thank you for Libby! I was at the service celebrating with you on Friday. It was an experience I will never forget. An experience I don’t want to ever forget…. Just know Libby, we are here for you…all of us!

  4. Libby, the day was so beautiful, and I have never felt and witnessed so much love and hope. Your family is amazing and the way you all hold each other up is inspiring. You and your sweet girls and wonderful boys are changing the world.

  5. Like Melissa mentioned above, I’m pretty sure I’ve checked your blog & the Facebook page every couple of hours for the last few days (ok, if we’re going to be honest, it was a lot more than that), just wanting to hear anything from you to make sure you were ok. (I realize “ok,” doesn’t fit well at all in that sentence, and I am so sorry, I have absolutely no appropriate words for the way and the things you are feeling). I can’t fit into one comment all of the things I want to share about Jennifer’s service, there were far too many extraordinary moments and I want to write about them in detail soon and then share them with you. When you wrote about your feeling of being “held upright,” on Friday I absolutely lost it, because over and over and over again, from the start of reading your blog until Friday’s incredible service, all I kept picturing was this vision of everyone holding you guys up, with your family on the inside and this ring of people just getting bigger and bigger as it circled you, so no matter how fast or hard you fell, you couldn’t fall too far because there were just so many of us holding tight and ready to catch you at any moment. I thought about this all day on Friday and to know that you felt it (from so many of us, I know), is amazing. You were amazing. You are amazing. Jennifer’s celebration of life was beautiful and absolutely everything I could imagine your girl wanting, from all that you’ve shared of her. Glitter, inside jokes, dancing, little girls all dazzled up in princess attire, adults in fantastic/funky clothes (myself included), and so, so much laughter. What an amazing family you have, I wanted to know each amd every one of them. Amd the pastor in the flip flops, it doesn’t get much better than that. 🙂 I’m getting carried away, as usual, and do want to share some special moments in detail soon, but I just had to write and say thank you from the bottom of my heart for allowing me to be a part of Friday. It was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced and I promise you I will carry the memory and that unimaginable love with me for the rest of my life. <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

    1. I too have been reading from the very beginning and feel somewhat strange because I do not know Libby and her family, yet being there on Friday, my whole body felt so much love and sorrow for an amazing group of people. Ashley, I couldn’t have said what you said any better!! I would just like to ditto every single word and send it straight to Libby. I will also never forget Jennifer, her family, her story, and how precious life is… My whole heart and soul are with the Kranz and extended family.

  6. Thank you Libby, Kranz Family and especially Jennifer. Since the day you and your story came into my life I am a changed person. I ache for you. I pray for you. I think of you. I will continue to remember. I will fight with you. It was a beautiful day and I am so sorry.

  7. Libby

    Yes, the Services were an amazing tribute to Jennifer.
    Jennifer definately was there, you could feel the warmth
    And fullness in the room.

    Lots of hugs

  8. Libby- still thinking of you, of your family, of Jennifer. Still praying for you. I also tell anyone I can about Jennifer and then I go on to say that pediatric cancer gets such low funding. I would never know that and have such a desire to change that if it wasn’t for Jennifer. My heart is bursting with prayers, love and well wishes, but my heart breaks for you- for your family. I am glad her day was a good day. They will come eventually more. It’s just too fresh now. Was sorry we couldn’t make it but I’m in Sacramento and couldn’t get the day off. You guys were on my mind all day though!

  9. Libby,
    I to have been checking and waiting thinking maybe the email got screwed up and I missed the update. It didn’t but I was excited to hear from you, to hear Jennifer held you up while you said good bye to her earthly body. I am glad you saw her one more time. Can I tell you what I miss the most? The hope, the hope we all had that Jennifer would be the first to survive this awful disease. The updates of how Jennifer is doing, and feeling. Not the last ones, when death was imminent, but the ones before that when she could move and love. The Christmas one for example. She was happy, and not in pain. We lost our hope for Jennifer’s survival, but we have gained hope that you will be OK, that Jennifer’s death will mean the hope for another child will be fulfilled. That we can somehow support your family, especially you and Tony in your time of grief (which is your life), and we can help you to hold Jonathan together while he somehow moves on without his best friend. We love your blog, we love hearing from you, we hope you share forever so we can support you forever.

  10. Writing to you from Washington State. I didn’t know your daughter, but I want you to know she has touched my life through all you have shared. My words seem empty and don’t mean much, but know I will pray for you and your family.

  11. Holding you in my heart, Libby, as you continue on this journey that neither of us ever asked for. We are now both members of a horrible club that no one wants to belong to. I am glad you have had some feelings of hope, in between the searing pain. I too have experienced feelings of something bigger, and of knowing that my boy is ok…wherever he is. The ache you speak of will be there forever,I wish I could say different. What I can say is that it will get easier…well,maybe not easier, but more manageable? I don’t really know how to put it, because it doesn’t get easier or less painful. It changes in it’s quality, perhaps. Becomes less searing and acute. I could go on and on about it, but I won’t do that here. I know every single one of the feelings you describe. I know them so well. Call me or text me or email me if you need me. You know I’m here for you. LOVE.

  12. I was there on Friday, Libby – and to say the Holy Spirit was moving is an understatement. You nailed it, girl – the ‘joy’ Jennifer is having – I LOVE that God is revealing that to you. That euphoria you’re feeling is just that, His calm. You are a WARRIOR. I sat there with my 11-year old daughter and I said – that mom is a warrior-mom, she’s got a lot of great things to do in this life — and Jennifer’s urging her on.

    We drove home and listened to her ‘Brave’ song, and talked about the service, and the songs, and story-time… and what an impact that contagious laugh of hers had. We cried for you, and her Daddy. We prayed for her brothers and sister. THANK YOU for sharing her with all of us — she has given all of us immeasurable perspective. xxoo

  13. Thankyou Libby. Thankyou Jennifer. Im so sorry. I think about Jennifer every single day. I think about you and your family every single day. Jennifer will be forever in my heart. Jennifer and You have forever changed my life. I was there at her beautiful service on friday with my daughter and my mother in law. I saw you at the reception but didnt get a chance to say hello. I hope someday soon i can do that. I know you dont kow me but if you need anything at all dont hesitate to ask. I am here for you and your family. My love to all of you..Linda Blundo ♡♡

  14. Thank you for letting us share Friday with you to honor Jennifer. I know you may not know or feel it but you are a strong woman who I look up to. xoxo

  15. I am sitting here after reading all your messages and only wish I could of been at the service. I live in Texas so of course it was not a easy option. I wish I could tell you how I am feeling but I dont even know. I know that I looked on line for your post and when I didnt see anything I thought maybe you were not going to post any more because not only living the loss of your sweet Jennifer but having to write about it everyday I thought the pay is just too much. I have no clue how you make it through each day. I find my self thinking of Jennifer everyday. Wondering about her last moments and was she alert, did she say anything, did she do anything or did she just lay there. I have been following your blog and each day I prayed for good news but there was none. I prayed for God to reveal Himself through Jennifer to show us that miracles are real but He didnt. I cried at times reading all the pain you were feeling and all the things you were thinking and wondered how strong a woman you really are. I know you have another 3 children to care for but I dont know that I could go on but I guess with Gods help you manage to go on and realize you have 3 more precious babies that need you. I could go on and on and write all the things in my heart but nothing will change. I want to thank you and Tony for sharing your precious Jennifer with us and by doing that we are all much more aware about childhood cancer and that it needs more funding. I promise that I will do my part in making people aware of that terrible disease and what an unselfish animal it is. How it steals children’s youth, and their lives and how it leaves families broken and helpless. What an example of a wonderful mom you are Libby and what an example of a strong woman you have been. I will keep praying for you and your family and for that sweet little boy that not only lost his sister but his best friend. God Bless your family and my He continue to give you strength and comfort to you and Tony and your precious children each and every day. <3 <3 <3

  16. Dear Kranz, Scharrenberg and Calcagno families,
    Thank you for letting me be a part of Jennifer’s Celebration of Life! Thank you for taking the time to let us know how you are doing. Thank you for bringing awareness to this horrific form of cancer. Meeting the family was awesome! Together you will get through this. Friday was amazing…her spirit rose above the fun, sorrow and memories. We love you and will keep all of you in our thoughts and prayers. Whenever I am feeling sorry for myself, I will rewind the “Glitter Shoot” to bring me back to the reality of how lucky I am. Thank you! May you and your family always be blessed with the courage to move forward.

  17. I wasn’t able to say hi to you on Friday, but thank you for the opportunity to honor your exceptional baby girl. I will continue to pray for you and your family during the trying days ahead.

  18. I know you must miss her terribly.Jennifer was taken away but you have beautiful memories that you can rewind to anytime you want,nobody can take those away.Like everybody else I have checked your blog many times waiting to see how her celebration went.I am glad it was everything you wanted it to be.I wish I could have been there.Thank you for sharing your thoughts I know you do it for you but you are helping others who are dealing with similar grief.Continued prayers

  19. I will forever hear the “Brave” song as Jennifer’s song!! I tell everyone I know about Jennifer’s story and the amazing strength of Libby and love for her whole family. I constantly search the blog and Facebook to make sure Libby is as okay as anyone could possibly be. We love you and ALL you do for your family. Lots of hugs!

  20. The celebration of life on Friday was exactly that. An amazing celebration of not only this incredible girl but of all the people who loved her and how she touched their lives. It was beautiful to see how tangibly she will live on through all of you and how vibrant her love still is. The moment at the end, a room full of people dancing for her, was one of the most profound experiences I have been a part of. And on top of that it was just plain fun. I hope that some of the energy from the celebration can help carry you through the darker times and those quieter moments when you are alone with your greif. We might not all be in that room with you, dancing, but we are all here, loving you all.

  21. Thank you for continuing to blog. Your open sharing is overwhelming, and I feel so privileged to be a part of it, though wish so truly the reason for your blog was running around today, blissful in princess dress and fab shoes. I think of you daily. While I know grief is personal. -and different for everyone, your blog helps me help other friends who are grieving. You are all in my thoughts.

  22. I am not sure I can even find the words… because your grief is so raw… so real… and I feel as though I knew Jennifer and you are doing such an amazing job remembering her for us! But you said you think you believed in God before… but … well, you weren’t sure how to articulate the feeling – people around the WORLD are praying for you – and without a DOUBT your daughter is dancing and laughing and singing and probably throwing glitter in heaven. There is not a DOUBT in my mind. Jesus wants EVERYONE to go to heaven… and we all have a choice – as we grow and are held accountable. But Jennifer was a child – and He LOVES little children – so she is there! Rest in that. Be at peace that she is free from pain and suffering. And even more? You CAN see her again!!!! When you feel up to it, find a non denominational pastor to speak to… or feel free to email me. There is hope of a future to see her again! Praying for you and your family.

  23. I have been thinking of you all and, like others have written, have anxiously been checking the computer for your updates. I had a lovely dream about JLK the other night-she was running ahead of me with her brother and they were both laughing so hard,a big yellow dog at their side.
    I am hopeful that the service gave you and your family a bit of a boost.

    Just breathe Libby. One day at a time. xxxxxxxxxxxxx

  24. Thank you so much for sharing her service with us. Thank you for opening up your grief and your heart to allow us to grieve with you. The service was amazing. I continue to find myself at a loss for words (including that day) but we’re here for you. Always will be.

  25. Also, I could see, and feel your ‘energy’ that day… reading these words confirms it. You’re AMAZING, Libby. Absolutely amazing. After hearing your words, I’ve changed, for the better, forever as a Mother. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  26. Thank you for sharing your beautiful Jennifer with all of us. We will continue to pray for your family and support you through whatever the next steps are in the fight for funding for children’s cancer research. God bless you and your family.

  27. As a new mother of two reading your words just streamed tears to my eyes I do not know you or Jennifer but I will never forget this little girls beautiful face or the love I could feel her mother has for her. Thank you for having the strength to write this it was beautiful!

  28. Beautiful, perfect, lovely in every way. That is JLK. That will always be JLK. Beautiful, perfect and lovely was her celebration of life on Friday. Thank you Libby, Tony and children. Thank you for being the beautiful, perfect, lovely family for JLK. Just as all of you were blessed with this sweet, beautiful angel, she was soooo blessed to have two incredible, loving and amazing parents and three beautiful, perfect and lovely siblings. We love you Kranz Family. God bless all of you! ♥

  29. Libby, I was at the service and wondered how you did so well. No one would’ve expected you to speak, but you did so well & full of love & grace. You just explained how you did it & that is why I love your writing….you are truly the expression of God’s presence, angel’s presence, and the soul’s presence. Jennifer is not with you in physical form, but she will always be next to you for your lifetime & beyond….lots of love to you and your family.

  30. I too am one who has been checking the blog every few hours in the last couple of days. I am so glad to hear from you today. But more than that I am glad that both of Jennifer’s services were so beautiful. I pray that they continue to bring you comfort over the coming days. I pray also that you will keep leaning into the presence you felt, because I believe God is with you.

  31. Libby-

    I weep for you and your earthly loss of JLK. Your gift to all of us is HUGE in so many ways. I’d like to thank you for one in particular…regarding those “visits” you’ve felt…

    I’m so glad you wrote about this. I’ve had them and am often reluctant to speak about it in fear people would think I’m nuts. I’ve had the pressing from the outside…the sort of full-body pressure of a soul seemingly melding with mine…remarkable. I’ve had the light and support as I’ve given eulogies of departed loved ones…literally filling me up and keeping me solidly in place along with an otherworldly floating experience at the exact same time…remarkable. And, more recently, I was crying alone in a chapel saying goodbye to my grandmother, when I was stopped short due to the PARTY on the other side…lots of voices, lots of advice, lots of participants…and I almost fainted. Yep! I’m a scientist and a gal who would identify spiritually as a mixture (and wouldn’t identify as being religious). Who would believe this? Somehow, I think you know exactly what I’m talking about.

    Hugs and love to you, Tony, the kids, and your extended family. You are surrounded by so much love! We’re with you!

  32. God says He will give us a peace that passes all understanding and a joy that is unspeakable. I believe that is what you felt from him during her service day.
    It sounds beautiful.
    I wish you could rewind though.

  33. I have posted here before letting you know my family was dealing with my brothers diagnoses of 3 months, and how much reading your blog has helped me, he only made it 5 days. thank you for letting my heal through your words. Sending healing love and light.

  34. Dear Libby, I can not add to what already has been written. Friday was perfect for what it had to be. I was blessed to be there, and I am grateful you shared it with us – so many strangers.

    AND you rocked your dress, sweater and heels – I kept thinking – can I ask her where she got that dress? You were beautiful.
    Blessings to you and your family.

  35. What an incredible description of the forces steadying you, pressing on you from outside, at the service. Thank God for that feeling. I hope it will return to you periodically throughout the years.

  36. Still praying for your family! Wishing for peace and extra blessings of love and that they be able to be seen and felt by you and your family. Libby your such an inspiration to me hang in there.

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