Read personal stories from our founder and Jennifer's mommy, Libby, along with other Warrior Moms and news from our chapter Ambassadors.

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Sometimes its shocking how deep the pain is. I know that sounds ridiculous. All of this journey is wildly different than I thought it would be…

Yesterday we were struggling.. as a couple.. as parents… as people. Some friends must have just sensed it and taken our boys for a few hours. We needed that time together to just talk… and fight. .. and grieve together. Its hard to carve at that time as a couple and do the other things we need to get done.

Then I got some alone time.. to totally dissolve. Crying so hard my knees lost the strength to hold me up anymore and I collapsed…

… missing her with a physical forcefulness.

Another one of those surprising things is that almost as quickly as it seems to take over.. it leaves me. Like my body cannot physically withstand an onslaught longer than 6 minutes. much of this whole grief thing seems to be out of my control. When it hits. How it hits. What triggers it.

After all that I thought I was home free from the tears for the rest of the day. So we went to my nephews high school graduation party, I know it would have been ok if we didn’t go.  But we wanted to..other than the obvious that we love him and want to support him.. I thought we would be ok. He is a boy. And so much older than Jennifer…

older than she will ever be…

And right now it really is the mundane that’s crushing..  what I have found is driving places without her.. walking into a house with only 3 pairs of little feet in tow .. that’s what causes the pain… next year it might be different.. I will have scarred up enough over the day to day experiences we are forced to endure.. so there might actually be the space for the realization that she will never graduate anything beyond preschool.

DSC_0584 CSC_0600


but this year I figured I was in the clear.

My family is all big into making photo videos. I tried. I really did. I was fine. (new definition of fine right) until the part of him growing up started. All I saw was the first 3 pictures.. baby to toddler .


I grabbed Charlotte and headed for a escape. I almost made it.. but my boys saw me. Jonathan was having so much fun he barely noticed… til Nicholas pointed out that “Mommy is sad”.

As I walked out through the side gate I saw his face.. I can’t be sure what he was thinking.. but the slump in his shoulders and his expression is something that I can’t seem to get out of my head. .. I feel so much like I ruin his fun times by this new awakening of emotions.

I cried on my walk and called my bereaved friend.. just to talk. To hear I am not crazy .. that it was the same for her.. the deepening of emotions as time goes on versus lessening of them.

Its just so different than I expected.. how much more I hurt…how its like the tears are coming from a deeper part of me.. a thicker outpouring of emotion.

..its exhausting.. its hard to have motivation to do anything else other than survive. That’s another aspect that is so different than expected.. I would have thought I would be unable to function.. thought I would be curled in a ball on the floor of her room.. I’m not…but inside I am broken and defeated. The core of me is just being hollowed out.. and right now it feels like its happening a few times a day.

Its almost making me paranoid the hurt the ache the yearn .. . a constant feeling like I am on the verge…of.. well now I am learning just like there is no word for a parent that loses a child.. there is no word to correctly explain the emotion of it… wrecked.. misery.. destroyed.. sad.. nothing seems to truly capture it. .. an emotion beyond words or explanation.

Today is memorial day. We love our home in part because of its location.. easy walking distance for our towns events.. and parades. Tony and I woke up in bad moods. .. perhaps dreading the inevitable.. and our inability to deal with it like we could just a month ago. I just kept telling our boys that I was in a yucky mood .. that my patience was less than desirable .. somehow saying it aloud helped some.


We got ready and headed over.. kids excited.. adults not. I looked around and all I saw was one less.

.. one missing.IMG_0234

I imagined how different those moments would have been with her there.. How she would have been taking care of Charlotte the whole time.. bossing her around. And how many other kids would have been coming up to say hi.

I remembered the year she covered her ears with the loud motorcycles.. and the year she thought they were so cool. I grabbed my best friends hand.. the only person who breathes my grief.. and silently cried… and he squeezed his understanding into me..


Then friends talked with us.. and it was done..

til the girl scouts passed..

I remembered last year so clearly. Thinking it would be such a good fit for her.. talking with my friend who was a girl scout and learning about it.. since I had no clue.

..she made one meeting..

I forgot. She wouldn’t have been with us.. she would have been walking in the parade. It should have been her first experience in a parade.. she should have never been a grand marshal.

..her troop sent her a vest. She never wore it.

she never will.

Its like a piece of me breaks apart.. like when you see film of a iceberg breaking off and floating away. That’s how I feel right now.. like a piece of me.. of my hope.. my strength .. my heart.. it simply floats deeper into me until its lost .. absorbed by darkness.

Then came Relay for Life.  I heard the words honoring survivors.. and I wanted to scream. And rage. American cancer society does great things. They have played a major part in saving adults with cancer. Not kids though. And my bitter Gilroy Family Photographer | JLK Glitter Shoot-100jealousy comes out.. Why not kids? Why so little for our kids.


My child.

One cent of every dollar??


The person she could have been. What she could have brought to this community.. my Jennifer had so much potential. So much she could have done with her life.


Adults get cancer too.. I get it. Cures and treatment for them is also so important.

But today watching and knowing the kind of money that Relay for Life brings in.. watching the sign pass by me soon after the girls that my daughter should have been walking with.. I got mad.

A penny??    of every dollar??


We came home and I looked at pictures of her from last year and I just cried and cried. My new cry. 3 tears at a time.. they don’t even feel the same.. its like they are coming from so deep inside they are thicker than old tears.


I know I shouldn’t ask it..


I can’t help but wonder ..



  1. Sarah smith says:

    I wish I could send hope your way. My family is close to two years bereaved as they call it, and it’s still gut wrenching and crippling at times. Mostly for my mom, actually, both my parents. Things will just trigger that harnessed emotion and bam!
    So no, you are not crazy. And yes, it does get tolerable over time. But no, the pain never goes away and those triggers will always remain, lurking around every corner…
    With all my heart I pray for your heart to heal. One day at a time..

  2. Melissa says:

    Your words always make me want to do more. So much more. Jennifer is amazingly beautiful. Perfectly perfect. A perfect part of who you are. Who you will always be.

  3. Krista says:

    I saw you walking at the parade today before it started. I imagined Jennifer there beside you maybe on a scooter or in the wagon with one of her brothers on her lap. I wanted to say something…. hi…or just give youa hug but didn’t really know how to approach you so instead I prayed for you all.

  4. Andrea says:


    I will continue to pray for your family.
    Tight, tight hugs.

  5. Gabriela A. says:

    I felt the same way when I saw the relay for life. Couldn’t help it. My heart and thoughts are always with you.

  6. Tami says:

    Libby, I continue to read and be with you on your journey. I thought about you and your family all day yesterday. I hope today is a bit easier for you.

  7. Belinda H says:

    The first year is the worst. Its the year of firsts and it’s hard. I lost my son 7 years ago. Someone once told me they didn’t know how I how i survived. I survived because i had 3 other children that needed me but I always think every day that passes brings me one day closer to wrapping my arms around my boy again. Im so sorry you have to experience this pain. No parent should.

  8. Silvia says:

    Sending heartfelt love and strength.

  9. Liz says:

    Sending nonstop prayers up for you and your beautiful family. I am always here watching, reading, praying, and sending love. <3 <3 <3

  10. Kristina says:

    I don’t have any words of wisdom on healing or pain. There is nothing I can do to fill the void in your heart and life. I do however send you and your family all the love and healing thoughts I can muster on a daily basis. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about your beautiful little family. I’ve never met you but I am from your little garlic town. Born and raised; although it’s been many years since I have left. But knowing you guys are in so much pain, literally blocks away from those that I love makes me wish I were there if to just walk to your door and offer you a hug. To just hold your hand and let you know that so many people care about you and your family; many whom you have never met. We are out here and we are rooting for you guys. We are hoping that in time you find some peace, although I know that’s a long shot.

    I find myself looking at the photos my family posts online of the parade to see if you guys are in the background. I find myself wondering if we have mutual friends and if my thoughts and prayers are getting to you through them.

    I know music is important to your family, and I ran across a song this weekend that made me think of your family. When A Heart Breaks by Ben Rector. Libby, I know many other woman have said it here before, and I know it will offer no relief but thank you. Thank you to you and Jennifer for making me a better mom. Thank you for making me a YES mom, and not a no mom. Thank you for showing us that life and love should be valued every single day. I know you don’t see it, but your strength is inspiring.

  11. Kristen Tredrea says:

    Love. So much love to you

  12. Jennifer says:

    I feel such pain for you and your family as I read your blog each day. You are so admirable putting one foot in front of the other each day…prayers for angel hugs and kisses.

  13. Lorraine says:

    Libby, your words always help us to be better. I wish, pray and hope that someday all of ours will help you in some way. Praying for that day of peace for you and your family. Hugs…

  14. Krista L says:

    I am trying to do my part to spread the glitter and raise awareness. All because your sweet Jennifer has touched me so deeply. <3

  15. Mae says:

    I don’t know if you saw this, but a study of tears under a microscope reveals that tears differ depending on the emotion that produces them. So maybe your mind sometimes makes you feel like you are crazy, but your body knows better.

  16. Angie says:

    Just not fair. We are here supporting you and crying with you, Libby.

  17. Erin says:

    You all are always in my thoughts, heart, and prayers. Lots of hugs to you Lib! xoxoxo e

  18. Keri says:

    I feel that anger, too. For Jennifer. For all children who could have cells go wrong. It’s just wrong. Any why would not be good enough. My donations, however meager, no longer go for Relay for Life and the American Cancer Society. They go to your daughter’s cells and her doctors and your plight.

  19. Anna DePalma says:

    My heart breaks each any every time I read your posts. I wish there is something I could do to take your pain and suffering away. Its hard to read how much pain you are going through. I am so very sorry for you and your family. I want to do a fundraiser in Jennifer’s honor for pediatric cancer. I think I sent you a email not sure. It might be in your “other” folder. I want to do my part as much as I can to find a cure for this monster that robs parents of their children and children of their very short life. Please let me know if you are interested in letting me do this and let me feel I am doing something for your precious angel. I hate that I had to put this on here but I wanted you to know I am willing to help with a fundraiser and to give the money to Jennifer’s cause. I will continue to pray for you and your family Libby. I can only imagine your pain by what I read. I wish I lived closer so I could give you a hug and listen to you and try to comfort you. But because I am not close in distance I will do my part to pray for you and your family and to raise money to donate in Jennifer’s name. Love and Hugs coming your way to you and your precious family…….

    • Love4JLK says:

      We are in the process of setting up “rummage for a cure” a way to help people run their own fundraiser for Unravel Pediatric Cancer.

  20. Dd says:

    I’ll tell you the video montage for wedding a and graduations always are tear jerkers ! I can only imagine a percentage of how it grabs you. Take it easy on yourself Libby ! Hugs.

  21. Nichole says:

    Words. Feelings. I feel so much when I read your words. The word I think of when I read about your grief is agony. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of Jennifer and your family. Still reading and praying. Spring has arrived here in New York State, dragonflies are buzzing, never will I look at another with out thinking of Jennifer<3

  22. Linda Blundo says:

    All my love to all 6 of you Libby. You are an amat person. And Jennifer was and always will be. ♡♡♡♡♡♡

  23. Naila says:

    Relay for life makes me feel the same way, its so in my face at work because I work in the cancer center at valley med. I just don’t get why they don’t see it. I pray for you and your family everyday, so many hugs and good thoughts sent your way!

  24. Maria says:

    I just don’t know what to say today that can help you other than we are always here for you to listen… Always….. Jennifer will never be forgotten and always loved xx

  25. Gina says:

    Still here. Still supporting and praying from the opposite coast. I keep typing and erasing and typing and erasing. I know you don’t believe or feel it right now but you truly are amazing. And your little ones will absolutely know it. Lots of love from the east coast xo

  26. Kristen says:

    I am so sorry Libby, you have every right to question, to be mad, to vent. I am so angry about the 1 penny, it is unbelievable. I want to help make a change. Continue to hold your bestfriends hand in one hand and Jennifer will hold your other hand. Believe. You are stronger and braver than you know. xoxoxooxoxoxoxoxoxoxooxoxoxoxoxoxoxoox

  27. Prayers for you and yours.

  28. Kassie says:

    Always thinking of you and your family Libby

  29. Lisa Jack says:

    There is no answer to that question…at least on this side. That 1 cent is a slap in the face. It is past time for a change. Looking forward to hearing more info on the rummage sales. I’d be glad to do my part here in nowhere Okla.
    love & prayers as always

  30. Crystal says:

    When my son was on hospice, I thought I was getting ahead by practicing grieving. I would go in another room, pretend like he was gone, cry a bit and then go back in the house to give him a hug. Wow, was I dumb. I had no idea. Once he was gone for real…..the pain, oh the pain is/was intense. I understand how people can die from broken hearts, I’m just surprised I haven’t yet……

  31. Vanessa says:

    My heart breaks for you every day. I wish she was still here and your family was complete. I wish there had been a miracle for all of you. Sending you prayers and love across the miles.

  32. K says:

    Hi Libby, You don’t know me, a friend of mine sent me a link to your blog on Facebook. I am sure that you are getting wise words, helpful tips, and ideas for coping from every angle. And I debated posting this. What can I say that will be of any help? What advice could I offer? My beautiful baby boy died 4 years ago, he was 7. When April 8 comes around, I find myself in a state of devastation that I used to feel bad about, but everything you do is just how you grieve, and it’s okay. It’s been 4 years, and let me tell you, it does get easier. The day to day… It’s the special moments that I find hardest. Birthdays, Holidays, MIlestones… Please don’t feel bad for missing her. Never feel bad about how your feeling. At some point, it will get easier, but it is different for everyone. When my son died, I cried. My daughter used to start her sentences with, “Mommy, don’t cry.” She was 5. Losing him was the hardest thing ever, and while the circumstances were different, and I didn’t get to prepare myself, I don’t think that would have made it any easier. There is no easier when you lose a child. It is the most helpless feeling. I read your blog, and I feel your pain. I know your suffering, it may be different, but deep down, it’s the same. I lost my little boy 4 years ago, and it does get easier. But I remember those first years. Those first months. Those first weeks. The first days. The first hours after I knew for sure that he had died. I couldn’t get out of bed in those first days. I didn’t hold myself together at all, and it seems that you are, and for that I commend you. My son died. Now, it’s birthdays, christmas, milestones that get me the most, the day to day has gotten easier. It was a physical pain that I felt when he died, and I know that my husband and my daughter felt it, but I know they didn’t feel the profound weight of it like I felt it. I always felt a special connection with him. He was my sweet baby boy. My first. My love. I never could have imagined a day without him. He was my salvation, and he was taken in such a devastating way. You see, my son was killed by a drunk driver, it was not peaceful, he died afraid and in pain, and there was absolutely nothing I could do. Nothing. Would it have been easier had I been able to prepare for the loss? I doubt it. Nothing could make it easier… But just know, for what it’s worth, the day to day does get easier. If that is all I can pass along, than I hope that at least that is a comfort. It will happen one day when you aren’t expecting it, you’ll find that discovering one of his socks in the laundry doesn’t rip you to pieces as it once did. You’ll find that watching his sister, who is oh so much like him do things he would have done with her doesn’t make you fall to your knees with grief. You’ll find that walking through the door, buying groceries, seeing his favorite juice, or a movie he would love won’t make you feel that deep, profound sadness. It will hurt, but the pain will not define you anymore. The loss of your child will get easier, as much as I hate to say that, it will. I hope that by sharing my story, you can find some solace. I hope that you can find that peace that will help you to move forward. I am sending love, prayers and wishes for the future your way, from one mother of loss, to another. I love that you have taken to writing your journey through grief. Just this message has been cathartic for me. I know that you will make it through this time, and Jennifer will never be far from your heart.

  33. Erika M says:

    Thinking of you always, and thinking of your family: those here, and sweet Jennifer.

  34. Jenn says:

    Still on this journey Libby. Always will be. We have so much love for the Kranz family. It really isn’t fair- and for you, I too, wonder why? Even in pictures she exudes life, heart, youth… I am sorry there is no cure for DIPG, but I hope with your voice and all of our support, we can obtain more than a measly 4%! Much love to your family from ours!

  35. Denise Pandya says:

    I am constantly asking “why?” each time I read your posts. Why would this happen to such a beautiful familly, such a wonderful and sweet little girl…

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