a napkin

**** sometimes I write posts and don’t post them right away. This is one of those written in August****

Trying to prepare for Jonathan to start kindergarten. .It forces answers a lot of questions and fears I have been lucky enough to avoid. But it seems to help a new crop of them bloom.

We got out Jennifer’s uniform because its a unisex top and he wants to wear hers. It matters a lot to him. Once alone with these bright blue memories I held them to my face.. desperately trying to find a piece of her to breathe in.. I couldn’t. Tony did find a hair of hers.. We carefully wrapped around the button.

I miss the simple easy moments..
I miss the simple easy moments.. how the boys would want to do everything she did. 

I gave him 2 and explained the other 3 we would save for her other younger brother(s) and sister(s). **Bridgette not yet born I didn’t know if he would have 2 little sisters or little brothers. **  Today I bought his tote bag. The same kind she had. ..

Jonathan had actually wanted to use her lunch box for school but we told him no. It is completely girlie and has her name on it. And selfishly I was too scared something would happen to it. Luckily he never even asked to use her tote bag.. He only asked to have his look exactly like Jennifer’s.



My Jennifer knew my limitations. She wanted her name to look pretty so she had me ask our friend Mrs. Ridgway to write it .. Jonathan did the same!
My Jennifer knew my limitations. She wanted her name to look pretty so she had me ask our friend Mrs. Ridgway to write it .. Jonathan did the same!

Her tote bag.. Opening it up and finding her reading practice sheets. How she never learned to read. Remembering how very much she wanted to.. Wondering when the double vision actually started for her.. And hating that I know she must have struggled silently and I never knew.

I’m her mom…I should have known. I should have been able to do something. One of her glittery ladybug eyes patches was stuck to her water bottle. I ran my hands over it. Longing for the days when my biggest concern was her needing glasses and having to wear a eye patch to school.

This was her birthday.. just a few hours before we learned her tumor would kill her. Even at this time knowing she had cancer my biggest worry was that she would hate these pictures with her eye turning in and squinting... Terminal upon diagnosis hadn't entered my mind.
This was her birthday.. just a few hours before we learned the letters DIPG. Even at this time knowing she had a brain tumor my biggest worry was that she would hate these pictures with her eye turning in and squinting… Terminal upon diagnosis hadn’t entered my mind.


And then I found myself wondering what I should do with some of this stuff? Her bento box..

Do I throw it away? no.

Do I put it in storage? seems pointless.

Save for Charlotte? she might not want it.

It really is that way with all her things. What do we do with it? I want to hang hooks in the kitchen for her tote bag and Jonathan’s…


I know logically its not worth wondering ahead.. But how long do I leave hers up? Questions that torment me.. questions with no good answers.

I figured there was no reason I couldn’t use the same prep things.. the ‘first time school mom’ tools of the trade. Fun toothpicks, cutters to make fun shapes out of fruit or cheese.. etc..

And for the first time I opened the bag of her lunch prep stuff. . I smiled my way through most of it. Remembering how much effort I put into trying to make her lunch look cute. Hoping Jonathan would like it the same way she did. I dug down to the last container in the bag.



I forgot about these..

Why? Why? Fuck. Why?

I have no artistic talent.. but everyday I wanted to send her with a picture on her napkin. Instead of making one every night I had a bunch pre-made. A simple goofy thing that connected us in the middle of her day. .. I loved to imagine her smile.

She never got to see these.

Why? Why? Fuck. Why?

There is so much I wish I could change. Everyday I want to rewind to the last good times.. But as the 18 month mark looms I start to realize thats really not going to happen. I can’t believe how the grief seems to get more full bodied with time. it used to be just straight and to the point. Now I’m noticing there are so many little nuances to it.

i would give anything jennifer

to just hug you again.

watch you walk away

with a napkin to connect us.


..until there is a cure..


6 Responses to “a napkin”

  1. This post really hit home and had me in tears. Libby, if you can live it, the very least I can do, is read it. Hear it. I hear you. I am listening. Always listening. Love to you and the family.

  2. Still here Libby, praying for you and reading every word you write. So much love for JLK, So much love for the Kranz family xoxoxo

  3. Wow. Just “wow”. This post hits me straight in the gut, and heart. I also have “first time school mom” stuff for my daughter, who started kindergarten this year. Bento box, cutters and cute little toothpicks. I couldn’t even imagine what you must be feeling. I pray I never have to go through that, but I know my daughter could so easily be next. I will never stop fighting for the cure, Libby. I’m so heartbroken for you. I think of Jennifer all the time, and proudly show off my Unravel bracelet, hoping to spark conversation about it (sometimes it happens!). We will help JLK find that cure. That you for sharing your memories and intimate thoughts…they are the spark that is helping light the fire…the words inspiring action.

  4. I haven’t commented in a while and words are still horribly pale and in insufficent. But I want you to know that I’m still here, still reading, still praying. And still using my words and my voice to spread the word about childhood cancer in Jennifer’s honour

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