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

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…but she is

August 2, 2014

I find myself back to a place where I have a longing for my nights to come and write. I don’t know if I am in a transitional period or if it is just a hard spot for me right now. I am brimming with emotions lately.. anger and sadness.. and a sharp desperate ache for my Jennifer.

I have prayed a lot lately. Constantly talking to God, just walking out to the garage to grab a  bottle of juice I speak to Him. I ask for help.. . Sometimes its unbelievable to me. .. how I can feel so mad at Him on one hand .. yet still closer to Him than I have ever been.

I know heaven is real. I know this isn’t the end.. but I just get so damned scared. And so I write … I release those fears through my fingers.. and then somehow am able to take on a new day. I know with every ounce of me that I will see her again.. but I still just get so scared that I am wrong…because I have never needed it to be true the way I do now. I envy those bereaved parents that seem to not have the same fears I do.

…because sometimes I doubt what I know. 

The kids and I will load up tomorrow and head out of town to for a trip for my parents 50th anniversary. I love Tony, with all of my heart.. but I can’t help but think about not wanting to make it to our 50th.. I plan to stay married to him for the rest of my years.. I just can’t help but hope my years don’t amount to enough to take us to our 50th.

I wonder if I will always feel that way?

Right now its just so hard to grasp that I could ever not feel this way. Especially right now. I don’t know why..I don’t know why I am hurting so damned much. I just know I am.

Tony with his daughters the only way he can have them both.

Tony with his daughters the only way he can have them both.

I feel so out of control with this trip. Like I don’t even know what I want.. how to remember her.. how to make it a good trip for us. . All I know is she isn’t coming with us. And that breaks me apart. Right now I feel like I am floating all alone in the middle of a vast ocean.. I can see land but cannot figure out how to get back there. I know I am pushing myself further out into the open waters right now but I don’t seem to have the capability to stop myself.

I called the funeral home today to see if I could pick-up the” keepsake”. What a stupid name! Its something you can keep in your home that can be the same as your loved ones urn with a little bit of their ash in it.I see so many people in my news feed bringing their child’s urn with them on vacations..

…my Facebook is full of pediatric cancer now..

… We will be burying hers once the headstone is ready.  I realized last night I could go get this.. and have a piece of her physical body with us.

He asked me to take a picture of him and sissy. He even put his arm around the sign.

He asked me to take a picture of him and sissy. He even put his arm around the sign.

Jonathan asked what we were getting. How am I supposed to explain it to him? I  said its a little remainder of sissy and that he could hold it at home if he wanted.. that and a hair cut seemed to hold him off from asking anymore about it. Ive been thinking about it all evening .. how to explain cremation to him. I guess I will just say since she doesn’t need her body any more we were able to turn it into ash.. and now we can do so much with it.  Have some in our home.. or on trips with us. .. Even make a diamond for mommy out of it. ..and we will bury some so we always have a place to visit.

I am assuming we will talk about it more on the drive tomorrow.

I don’t want to have these talks in the car with my 4yr old. I want to be talking about not copying everything his sister says because it drives her nuts.

I left it? .. her?… in the car while I took the boys to get hair cuts and ice cream. I kept worrying about her.. the keepsake…. (ok seriously thats like the worst name ever) .. getting hot since its metal. She’s burnt to ash.. but there you have it, the illogical thought process of a mom in month 5 of my “new normal”. I felt truly horrible about letting it get all heated up.

We got home and I opened up the blue crushed velvet box. I saw the words engraved.

Jennifer Lynn Kranz

Forever 6

The room started spinning .. I felt that now familiar sensation of anguish start to wash over me. So I quickly closed it and walked into the garage unable to fight the tears..telling the boys I was getting more juice. I couldn’t fall apart. I had force myself to a better state for my survivors.

…the past few days they have been survivors of my grief..

So I put those emotions in a box on a shelf.. much like we will do with our forever 6 yr old.. to visit at a later time. And I went outside and played in the water with the kids.

This is also truth in the life of a mom in month 5 of her new normal.

Now alone in a quiet house I take it out. I feel it cold in my hand.. its heavier than I imagined it would be. The engraving is deep and small. Its shiny.. I think she would like that. The back is sealed up with 2 screws. I imagined it would be a cork. I am glad I couldnt easily open it.

..and for some reason I shake it.

..she is in there. I hear her..

oh honey. i love you. i miss you. baby girl i am so sorry. oh honey.

I try not to think about it being dark in this little container..I try not to imagine it being my daughter in there.

but she is.

Jennifer Lynn Kranz

forever 6

down…until there is a cure…

  1. Kimberly (Colorado) says:

    I am sorry for you and your beautiful daughter Jennifer, and the rest of your family. Just so sorry. Thinking of you, and don’t know what to say.

  2. Anne Warren says:

    I have never heard a more perfect description of the hell a parent goes through-I can hear the anguish and depression in every word and wish I was able to be near you and hold you and let you just cry everything out and then come back and do it again whenever you need someone. I wish cancer only took over the lives of criminals and those cretins causing such much suffering all over the world on completely innocent babies, kids, adults an senior people to build a murderous world of hatred and take any and all beauty out of the world. I am so sorry that you have to explain cancer, cremation, death and all those terrible words that describe the torture the child or adult goes through even those who had not even reached a year and only knew pain, their looks in their parents eyes and when others played and went to school -they went to the hospital to endure so much pain at the loving hands of doctors and nurses who were crying inside themselves as they did procedures they knew hurt the child so much to try to keep them alive or at least pain free. They are brought there by parents who adore them and are forced to submit them to the painful procedures when all they wanted was to love and watch and see their child graduate from, grammar school, high school and college and maybe be married and have their own kids to love. I can feel your misery and wish I knew how to help you except by giving you my email and inviting you to write anytime you need to talk to someone. They should have provided you with a grief counselor at the very least and in most states their are special groups who have for the youngest kids, a play therapy session and camps and for older kids they provide more therapy and activities for them with other kids in the same situation to help them grief and realize they are not responsible for their sister or brother and did nothing wrong. Maybe if the urn is pretty (sorry that sounds so stupid ) but they won’t be afraid and maybe want to “talk” to their sister and if put where they can hold it-they will still feel a closeness to her and please , keep talking about her and looking at pictures of her and showing the kids and let them tell their favorite story about her (good or bad) so they can unload their own stresses and fears. They may want to talk to both of you but don’t want to upset you-their schools should also be providing a non judgemental counselor they can go to when they feel they need to cry or just talk. It will hopefully keep them from building up anxieties and also keep them from acting out in a way that gets them unfavorable attention. Tell them that their sister loves them still and always did-you may want to tell them that she is their personal angel who will be looking out for them and that all of you will see her again some day. Leave her possessions where they can go and hug or hold them when the feel the need and leave pictures on the walls blended in with the rest of the family pictures so it lets them know she is still family that by her passing on she is still a loved member of the family and always will be so they know that if they ever leave (for college, marriage etc) they will also remain a family member. There are grief counselors and/or a place where parents of kids who have passed all get together and tell their story with no judgment and with a lot of support and compassion. I lost a very special sister in 2011 to stage 4 ovarian cancer-I realize that your daughter is a child and my sister was 54 at diagnosis and was dead right after her 55th birthday. The pain and anguish is still there esp after we lost our dad in 1993, then our beloved Mother in 2007. My sister, Irene, was always the healthy active child (number 8 of 11) who had a 30 yr history of IBS and it was that diagnoses that was not correctly followed up-and eventually developed into cancer. She was in the Army at 18 and a parachute rigging instructor and won an Army Commendation Medal at 20. She earned 9 bacherlor’s and master’s degrees (last one a month before she knew she was terminal. She took me to Germany, Austria and Switzerland when I retired from DOD and we had been in the Army together along with a 3rd sister. She jumped out of planes thousands of times, parasailed, hangglided, parasailed among other dangerous activities any of which could have killed her but instead cancer tore her up and we all visited her and tried to find all sorts of hospitals and research facilities to help but most had requirements we could not meet-Loma Linda Hosp in Loma Linda, CA would not allow her to try the proton machine because she had “too many spots” several others said it was too late. She finally decided it was too much and too much pain and notified all of us that she was stopping treatment and would just try to enjoy the time she had left. They put her on morphine and other meds and BYU in UT gave her husband every day off they could including Family Leave and after diagnosis in Mar 2010 she finally died in April 19, 2011 at 55. We all tried to help in any way but she was in UT and we were in 6 other states and she wanted her beloved husband of 25 yrs to be the only one there during her last days,. We honored it but hated it-she was buried in a Mormon service and had a military burial in Rapid City, SD . They were very private and we had to honor it. This is not to bring attention to me it is just to try to hell you know that your feelings are honest and your being angry is perfectly justified-I have know many parents who were devoted parents like you and suffered like you and maybe another parent in your same sad situation will come forward to be your shoulder to cry on but please, don’t sit at home and grieve and cut yourself off from any help offered by anyone-it will hurt the kids and your husband needs to not have to worry about you being so upset while he is at work and let your kids be your other shoulder -they want to help and they will want to hug you and try to help you. Please let them and let yourself be open to all who want to help and ignore the detractors. You are a wonderful parent and you need to believe that to function. If you like, feel free to write back and I would love to talk to you. I am a soon to be 67 y/o grandmother and retired army and DOD person. I have 3 adult kids- and 14 grandkids but 10 of them have other grandmas so I spend most of my attention on the 4 that don’t. When you get a chance to breathe and if your would like, write to me at the email I gave you and I will try to be as much help as you need. Your daughter was beautiful and will always be and you were great parents. I hope I did not overwhelm you-by the way-you went on Facebook for solice-us that same site and put in child cancer and whatever phrase you want and in the top box there is a small box that says “make a comment” write your need to talk to other parents or support groups” -don’t give out your address or phone to avoid crackpots-I know for a fact that there are sites supporting parents of kids who have/had cancer, near drowners, and many other such important issues and they will welcome you. I signed into several because I know so many families from Facebook who are still dealing with treatments or have already lost her beloved child-you can look into their sites to see if you feel safe in telling them your story -you can always delete them and try another group. Good night-it is 1am here and feel free to write back if you like, try to enjoy your trip and yes-nag them all the way to behave -that’s what great parent’s do.

  3. jennifer sufferin says:

    Oh how I ache for you. Much love to you all.

  4. Krista says:

    I heard something that struck me last night.I immediately thought of you and the need to tell you: Jennifer is with you. She will always be with you. I hope you know that.

  5. Andrea says:

    I am sad for you and your family. Your family will remain forever in my thoughts and prayers.

  6. Andrea says:

    I am sorrowful for your family. Your family will forever remain in my thoughts and prayers.

  7. Lyndee says:

    You’re amazing, Libby. I admire your strength and drive to keep fighting. Thank you for sharing your Jennifer with us. Prayers and love to all 6 of you!!

  8. deedee says:

    Of course you will doubt your faith and beliefs, that is why we are here to help remind you. I hope you didn’t take my comment as non-understanding directive, but rather a gentle reminder… a thread to hold on to…safety, when fear is gripping you.

  9. Krista L says:

    I wish for so much for you. Just know that Jennifer is always in my thoughts. Your words and her spirit is keeping me fight this unfair battle. Hugs to all 6 of you. xo

  10. Lyndee says:

    You’re so amazing, Libby. Your strength and drive inspire me daily! Thank you for sharing your sweet Jennifer with all of us. Sending continued prayers and love to all 6!

  11. Crystal says:

    Beautiful post. She is there with you spiritually and now a tiny bit physically. Also I wanted to let you know I got an email from unravel for this post.

  12. Esther McKee says:

    My heart just broke for you all over again This is so unfair. I am so sorry Libby. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of JLK. Keep talking to God Libby….I know it may not seem like it but prayer is powerful. I will continue to pray for you daily. So much love4jlk. xoxoxo

  13. Kerry says:

    I cannot see through my tears to say any more than I love you and am praying and thinking of you all day every day. xoxo

  14. Linda Blundo says:

    I am so sorry Libby. I thought about Jennifer so much last night and how I wished she was here with you. I hugged my daughter Eva just a little tighter and a little longer last nite. She too talks about Jennifer and aays how she misses her. We love you Libby. We love Jennifer so very much. LOVE4JLK♡ FOREVER 6

  15. yv says:

    I know Libby it’s hard to get used to knowing your baby in a little box, I know when we brought my brother home it was really hard at first especially for my dad since that’s where his remains are, but I know he has grown more comfortable with it because he’s able to talk to him and feel he’s still there with him, I also have some of his ashes in a necklace my parents made for me, so that I can always have him with me .I love your idea you said ,about Jennifers ashes…have some at home, and at a place you could visit and even make a diamond for you, it helps Libby….. I will pray for you and ask the archangels to surround you and help guide you. I hope you have a wonderful time on your vacation and I’m glad your taking Jennifer with you it will help. Whatever you need do to make yourself feel close to her do it, don’t worry about what people might say. Forever with you Libby and forever I’m my heart Jennifer Lynn Kranz, big hugs for all of you.

  16. Emily says:

    Her body in this state might be there, but what made her who she was is not. It is in Heaven, with you, with her siblings. I too sometimes find that hard to wrap my head around. I guess that is why it is called faith. My mommy’s heart aches for you. Until there is a cure, Jennifer will always be on my mind, and I will do what I can because of her, and because of you. ♡♡♡♡♡♡

  17. Rhonda says:

    To me the engraving “forever 6” has another meaning, your family is forever six members.

  18. Doris says:

    aw, man. Such a difficult moment for you. Between all the other difficult moments. Jennifer is such a beautiful girl, and your words continue to strike a chord for us all. hugs.

  19. Beth E. says:

    Thinking of you, Libby. I was out walking the kids yesterday up a dirt road in the mountains, and there were dragonflies EVERYWHERE. Webb was so amazed. I couldn’t help thinking that Jennifer was there – wherever there is beauty, so is she.

  20. Lorraine says:

    You continue to consume my attention with your blogging. I, too, was surprised at how heavy human ashes are. It reminds me of the weight we must bear missing our loved ones so much. Jennifer is with you in so many ways. I’m really glad you talk to God, cuz He IS listening to your pain and suffering. Why? We wish we would get the answer we want. But, Libby, you are keeping Jennifer alive in our minds and hearts with you heartfelt blogging. We are looking forward to receiving the “wings to spread.”
    May the fluttering begin and continue. Continued prayers for you and your family!
    Hugs…until there is a cure

  21. Lorraine says:

    BTW….incredibly beautiful tats! First your ring and now I see Tony’s image of Jennifer! Wow!

  22. catherine says:

    omg !!!! im sooo angry
    this is so unfair
    she is so beautiful
    so innocent
    so glitzy
    so glittery
    lots of xxxx and love from far away
    Thank you 4 share your JLK

  23. Lyndee says:

    Prayers and love to all 6 of you, Libby!! Constantly praying for your comfort and peace. Big hugs to all.

  24. Heather says:

    I was at Cedar Point yesterday with my 4 kids, and we were sitting down to lunch. I looked to my left and gasped, I was startled. My son looked at me and said “what, Mommy?” I swear the little girl sitting at the next table was Jennifer ‘s twin! I told him I saw someone who reminded me of someone. He looked over and said, “that looks like Jennifer Mommy!” I teared up and said, “yes it does little man. I thought so too.” My son is a sweet boy who was a 28 week preemie and has cerebral palsy, using a wheelchair to get around. He is smart, funny, and says the most remarkable things. He seems to know things instinctively that I never tell him. If he saw her there too, maybe she was enjoying a day at the amusement park! I think of you all often, and will be fluttering along with you once I get my materials. GOD BLESS! Heather in Ohio

  25. Kirstin says:

    My heart is beating fast and just clenching with anguish – imagining this being me, being my child. Oh, Libby. We, as parents, should not be expected to survive something like this.
    I hope that our love, and our arms, can help hold you up until you start looking forward to waking up every morning.


  26. Macy Neely says:

    I find myself growing very concerned for you but also for your living children and your husband. They need you and so do all your loved ones. I have noticed in a lot of your blogs you hint on wanting to die or end your life, or not wanting to live…you have seen and are experiencing what it is like to live in the wake of such sadness, think of that sadness that would transpire if you were to leave, if you were to leave behind your living children who still need a mother, your husband who still needs a wife, and all your family and friends who cherish you. If you are not getting help already I hope you do. Jennifer would want you to live in the best way you knew how, but also to love and to keep loving your living kids and all of this life you still have before you.

    • Unravel Pediatric Cancer says:

      I hope you delve a little further into my blog. I am seeking help. I would never ever do anything to hurt myself or my children..but i miss with all of my being my daughter and wish I could be with her. This blog is a place to release my darkest desires and eventually slowly.. slowly ..slowly.. come out the other side.

  27. Rachel says:

    Always thinking of you. Your family and you are always in my heart. Lots of hugs being sent your way!
    Oh and a pink glow stick, you could put a pink glow stick in with her ashes. A little pink night light.
    Praying for you daily Libby.

  28. These are events and landmarks no one should have to ever endure. “Keepsake”–terrible word. I’m so sorry Jennifer has flown and you are left with something incomprehensible to hold. How I wish from a place of gut-wrenching sorrow that this had had a different outcome.

  29. Denise says:

    big huge hugs Libby <3

  30. Kristen says:

    Sending our love and support. Nightly prayers to you and your family of 6. I wish we didn’t know you, I wish you had your Jennifer. Heart broken and angry…..can’t find the words xoxoxooxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

  31. Kristy says:

    I think everyone who has read your blog for any length of time knows you aren’t going to hurt yourself or your children. It upsets me to see you had to explain yourself. This blog struck me as the most heart wrenching post you’ve written yet. I’m still sick for you and we pray for your family every day. I don’t know if this is OK to say but I look forward to meeting your daughter in heaven one day.

  32. Kristen Tredrea says:

    I echo everything Kristy said. I have been reading your blog for many months now and I know you would never hurt yourself. You are broken and missing your girl. I hate that she is not with you and that you have to endure such pain. I pray for comfort and peace. I admire you for holding on to God and your faith and knowing that Jennifer is with Him. You will see her again. And like Kristy (and I hope this isn’t a terrible thing to say) I look forward to meeting Jennifer Lynn, your amazing girl, myself. Much love xxx

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