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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5 minutes later

October 22, 2014

** I wrote this last week .. but never actually shared it.. I can’t remember why now! **


I need to write.. I want to write but something keeps stopping me. Like I am just scared to let all that is bubbling inside of me out.

This weekend was a lot.

A lot.

It started out with her party.. Saturday morning we finished up decorating the cupcakes and then it was time to go. To get in the car for a thank you to our community and all the people that cared about our family . . and a chance to celebrate with them and our friends this spectacular girl of ours.5mins5

But I was scared to go.. about how hard this might really be. Was it the right choice for me and Tony.. the right choice for our kids. I make none of the decisions lightly.. but that doesn’t mean I don’t have tons of self doubt. Right then I was having it.. Was this the right way to say thank you? Would she want this?

Opening her present on her birthday

Opening her present on her birthday

Before we left a toy went off. A microphone that Jennifer had bought for her sister before she died.. That I saved to give Charlotte on her first birthday. When I heard it I had to find it .. to figure out how it started. It was in my purse on a chair at the kitchen table. I was at the garage door. ..It started playing.. and I started crying. I held myself up on the wall and sang along.

“Here I go
burning like a spark
light up the dark again..
again.. again.. again and again and again”

So many things I can think she might have been trying to say to me looking back at the words in writing now.. But then .. in that moment I just said something like.. ok baby .. ok.. We can do this. I tapped the keepsake that carries just a bit of her ash in my pocket.. and we headed out.

The park was packed.. its soccer season. We grabbed a table and put a few things out.. I only brought one of her photo albums..I have a few and she would help decide which ones she wanted out for her birthday.. so I brought the one she always picked. Of her monthly pics from her first year of life.

That one year.. those first 12 months.. that was 1/6 of her life.

It was almost all friends that showed up .. it was surprising but just perfect I think. . We hired princesses. Ariel and Sleeping beauty to paint faces and make balloons. The kids seemed to really like it. I had her framed kindergarten picture on the table. Her smiling face watching over all these kids doing one of her favorite things. I did my best to avoid watching it from that angle.

Jonathan came up and asked for a walk.. just me and him. When I asked him questions and tried to engage him in conversation he told me he didn’t want to talk. So proud of my 5 yr old (I hate saying that.. I hate that he is 5.. her last good age) for knowing what he needed and asking for it.

She liked when I did "kid stuff"

She liked when I did “kid stuff”

We came back and greeting some more friends and he was ready to really start playing!

The princesses said they wanted to grab all the girls and do a sing along. I feel like I may have literally stumbled back a little physical reaction to the emotional punch in the gut. I gathered all the kids (all the girls and I think just one boy) that wanted to join in.. As I was getting the last of the kids they had already started.. So I joined from the front… watching this sea of princesses dress wearing girls singing along..

I saw her face. Frozen in her school uniform.. A year younger than she should be ..

because she wasn’t there.. she. wasn’t. there.

And I cried. I turned my back and tried to stifle it. I couldn’t so I just did my best to allow the tears to fall silently..  and pulled farther back.. And just stared at her.. longed for her.. missed her.

One of the only pictures I took that morning

One of the only pictures I took that morning

At some point I ended up closer.. Maybe I thought they were done? And I was feeding Charlotte a tube of yogurt.. and they started in with Let it Go from frozen.. And I broke open. Broke apart. On my knees yogurt in my hand I sobbed. Fully aware of all the people around me. Of charlottes mouth and messy hands on top of mine.. but also lost in myself and my own desperate heart ache.

Tony came to me. I need that. How much I just needed to be touched. He got down on the ground and held me while a friend seamlessly took over with Charlotte. He whispered c’mon lets go .. we can walk.. get away from here. But I didn’t move. When I am like that I am rooted to my spot. Like my emotions ground me solidly where I am.

I remember on her 6th birthday.. right after hearing the words that will forever echo in mind “there is no cure”.. I remember being grabbed and chairs being moved. . I remember hearing my name and people trying to get me to sit. I remember my feet staying planted and my body collapsing into my husband..

.. wow.. so eerily similar.. These 2 snapshots of time just shy of 1 year apart. ..

And both times when it was done it was done. 1 year ago I stopped. Looked at my sister in law and said I wanted a party for her. A perfect gluten free celebration.. This weekend I stood up and returned to being Libby. funny. loud. Libby.

I am glad it happened. I would truly love to hear people’s perspective that were there. That were witness to my truth.. and a moment of our lives. All aspects of it.

See that’s the thing with child loss. Likely all loss in general. You never ever know. If you got to the park 5 minutes after the sing a long you never would have known.. would have had no idea what a intimate moment.. between a husband and wife.. and a mother and her sorrow had just occurred.

I know people look at me and think I am so strong, that I am doing so much better than they ever could. Maybe even think its getting better.. that time heals all wounds. – uh ps- whoever penned that quote I’m guessing never lost a child. . My point is often times people see me.. talk with me moments after I have finished crying. .. or moments before I start again and have no idea.

I don’t share this to be treated differently or make people feel sorry for me. I write to share our story.. what its like for us.. for me, in the hopes I can help other people. To know you are not alone if you feel like me.. then hey thats two of us at least. .. And for those that know of somebody in my shoes.. greener or more seasoned than me.. Know that they are hurting.. unspeakable amounts and its likely just below the surface ..

Remember our children. Say their names. Because even if they hurt.. even if they cry.. They will pick themselves up and be grateful for their child being remembered ..  And a person that walks in the room 5 minutes later won’t even know it happened.

Its a constant burning..

an unquenchable thirst. ..

That I don’t think ever goes away..

you just get better at ignoring it..


…until there is a cure…

  1. Jessica says:

    Oh how my heart ached for you that day! I was close by when that moment happened and I felt so heartbroken for you and Tony. I remember looking away as tears rolled down my cheeks, your moment was so sacred. I wanted to give you privacy as well-as much as could be had in a park. Then Tony came to your side. You two are amazing. I know others noticed and cried alongside you. We all did…and then you seemed to gather your strength and you got up and you were back to business. I can imagine that happens a lot. It must be exhausting…I admire your strength and resolve to be there for your family amidst your grief and pain. Thank you for having the party, it meant a lot to me to be able to be there with you and your friends & family, and to honor Jennifer. lots of love.

  2. Krista Lund says:

    I will continue to do my best to spread the glitter and to say her name JENNIFER. I commend you for your efforts and continuing to share your story.

  3. Silvia says:

    I continue to say her name and think of all of you daily. Thank you again, for sharing your journey. Sending love.

  4. with love says:


    Still here, still thinking of you all.

  5. Lyndee says:

    Jennifer. Jennifer. Jennifer. ❤️


  6. Mariela says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. I feel the same exact way and nobody will ever understand the pain and how it takes our lives away. I felt such a relief when I found your site, I now know I’m not alone and it’s normal to feel what I feel. Just like you I still remember that day I was told my daughter had cancer, July 27th 2007. Oh what a day the worse day, then bad news after bad news but the worse part is how to explain to a 12 year old what was going on and then trying to answer so many times the “why me?” All I could do is hold her as tight as I could and tell her I would never leave you alone. 5 years of torture, of fears of not being able to live a normal life and still asking ” why mom, why me?”. And after 5 years I still could not answer that and then again all I could do is hold her tight and tighter. December 8th 2011 was the day my life was totally over, 15 days before her 17th birthday we get scan results we were told she had a big tumor in her lungs. The Doctor looked at her and said, with no remorse “eventually you will die from this tumor so go do everything you want to do” Diana looked at me grabbed my hand and said ” mom no I wanna live” and with tears in her eyes she once more said “why me mom?” I broke down I wanted it to all be a dream, but I knew it was not a dream. She was very popular here in Hollister, she changed so many lives, we were like celebrities, after her Dancing For Diana Videos she was the most popular girl in town. That day as we were coming home from Lucile Packard I got a call from a very good friend of ours and gave her the sad news, I could hear her voice breaking down and she said “we have to make her a big birthday party I you don’t worry a out a thing” she always wanted a big burthday party. December 23rd 2011 her wish came true the whole community got together and made her a beautiful party. When we got home that night she said to me ” that was the best day of my life” on christmas day she was sitting next to the christmas tree and she started to cry, I asked what was going on? And she said she was afraid that next christmas she would’nt be with us and then again the only tool I had was to hold her tight. I have videos if her on her last christmas that I still can’t watch and ever since then Holidays are too sad for me to celebrate they fill me with sadness and anger. On her last days she would apologize to me for making me go trough this, how hard can that be when your daughter says that to you. Sadly February 7th 2011 by beautiful Diana passed away in my arms. I still cry every day hold her urn I talk to her bring her flowers and take her everywhere I go. It’s been hard on her sister but we are holding on, almost 2 years ago God blessed us with another little girl, my baby Jaylah, but Diana will always be “4ever my Diana” . Thanks for sharing your story ans know you are not alone.❤️

    • Unravel Pediatric Cancer says:

      And thank you for sharing yours with me as well. I am so very sorry we are both surfing this nightmare.

  7. Kari says:

    Jennifer! <3

  8. Janis says:

    Happy 7th Birthday Jennifer! God Bless.

  9. jennifer says:

    LOVE4JLK always…the pics you have of your kids are adorable. Im sure Jennifer was shining down on all of you that day. Prayers

  10. Linda Blundo says:

    I will never ever for JENNIFER. I think of Jennifer and you all on a daily basis. I will always remember her and honor her. My daughter just turned 4 last month and every time we buy balloons she knows who they are for…JENNIFER. My daughter Eva says her name too.
    Until there is a cure. We love you all. ♡

  11. Kristen Tredrea says:

    Jennifer Lynn Kranz’s name will always be spoken and remembered in my house.

  12. Debbie says:

    Jennifer such a beautiful name for such a beautiful girl. I look at her pictures and those of your family and I can’t help but come to hate DIPG even more, each and every day. It has robbed so many people of their children and it isn’t fair. I am so sorry for your loss and your pain, both yours and that of your family. I pray that someday pediatric cancer will be stomped out! Not soon enough for parents like you, and that seems so empty, but necessary. I will never forget Jennifer and I will continue to pray for peace and comfort for your family <3

  13. Melissa Patrice Anderson says:

    I read your blog every time you write. I think of Jennifer every day. My daughter has the same pink Hello Kitty pajamas that Jennifer had last Christmas time. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to get rid of them because of Jennifer. The image of you on your knees with your husband made tears roll down my cheeks. I cannot imagine. I don’t know how you go on. But you are. You are going on and you are living for your family and memorializing Jennifer every day. No one will ever forget her.

  14. JK says:

    You are right, people would never know 5 minutes later. You state something so obvious about time, it’s ours to do with while we have it. Thank you for saying what all of us have felt at one time or another, something unless you are in it don’t see and sometimes take for granted.

    Through time and space, light and dark, happy and sad, you and yours are loved. Remember.

  15. Leah says:

    I think of you and your family, of Jennifer, Jennifer, Jennifer, Jennifer, all the time. Sending love.

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