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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Rake to the Face

February 10, 2023

Can you imagine that? A rake to the face. Just walking along and you take a step and smack .. before you even know what happened you get hit with a rake to the face.

We’ve been busy lately.. homeschooling, sports, theatre, Unravel and just normal life. So I haven’t taken the time to hurt.

And guilt.

Because these 4 little loves I am lucky enough to share all my hours with. They notice so much .. and they pay attention. Much of their younger years they heard and felt my pain.. But that’s what they knew and thats how they also lived. Crying was part of their own daily communication.. now they are older. Now they hurt for me. Now they worry for me and about me. So I try harder to not give them the burden of my sorrow.

in the sunset .. near the water..

but i remember you.. please know you are never forgotten

This fine line.. this tightrope I balance on.. Them. My 4 living loves and the one who isn’t here.. It’s hard because she is still my little girl.. and I can’t help it. I worry for her too.. I worry for how she feels.. I know. Of course I know. .. I shared before the depths that I know, she is ok.. ..(Read this. Know what I know with me)

but she is still my little girl..

And I am terrified she feels forgotten. I failed her then. I worry if I am failing her now.

I know it doesn’t make sense. But I share. Because if someone else reads this and understands I hope it helps to know they aren’t alone.

So I make the choice to not feel it.. until I can’t. Until.. a rake to the face. A text .. telling me Bridgey got on the team she wanted for little league. I was so excited to tell her ..


I was brought back to the same moment. A message from a friend telling me Jennifer was on her team. The team we hoped for.

I stopped midstep.. Rake to the face. .. crying before my mind even caught up. I grabbed a shirt and held it to my mouth. . to try to stifle the sound coming out of me. Suddenly I was back .. I remembered the video we took to send to Daddy to tell him she got on the team she was hoping for. I remembered the bedroom..I was back. Just for a moment. One text hurtled me back.

But it was a happy moment.

I can’t even explain why I cried. .. it just hurt. I ached physically at the memory and the missing. A visceral yearn.

I haven’t been the same since. I’ve felt fragile. I’ve felt .. thin. Memories fighting to break through. .. of her the real her.

But I remember . she was so tiny.. so impossibly thin.. I remember the feel of her body against mine. .. Every bone visible . .. bangs that needed to be cut..

i miss you. i miss you. i miss you.

As these babies grow.. When i remember her like I did as my little leauger.. She seems so young. My oldest. Their big sister. Maybe that’s why it breaks me apart. Because if I allow her to be 6. For my younger 4 to all have outgrown her.. Well then I have to admit she is gone.

I cant.

How the fuck cant i?

So I am stuck. Im in a loop. In the memories of her suffering.. Dying. So grown. My Jennifer Lynn matured years beyond me through her illness.. This is the girl I talk to now.. that I ask for help. .. For support.

My beyond 6-year-old.. My ethereal baby girl..

She suffered so damn much. I hate thinking about her like that.. but I do it anyways.. The first anniversary I wrote about it. .. And nothing is changed… except perhaps I know why now.

Because if I remember her like I did finding out about her team. As my little healthy girl.. Then I have to remember too she is gone. It is impossible for me to accept it still.. maybe perhaps ever. So I am choosing this loop of her final days.. those 3 1/2 months of cancer as the girl I remember because she grew .. she changed so much over those days and nights. .. Matured in ways I honestly didnt even know were possible. .. But still my baby. Still my little girl. More than I lifetime lived in 107 days..

your lifetime

my precious girl

im so so sorry

…until there is a cure..

  1. Debbie Price says:

    She is not forgotten. I remember her everyday as I look at the little star stick residing on my nightstand I saved from a long ago Gala. She lives on in the work Unravel continues to do and one day, because of Jennifer and you, a cure WILL be found. Lastly, as you are kind to those traveling similar roads as you and Jennifer, remember to be kind to yourself.

  2. Zuzana says:

    Your Jennifer is not forgotten. You shared your deepest feelings on the journey of her illness and the years after, and created such an awareness of the lack of cure and research for DIPG that noone else ever did. Jennifer is a big part of that and is remembered by all who knew her and also the ones who didn’t, like me. You have a beautiful family and are a good mom to all your 5 children. She knows that too.

  3. Elizabeth says:

    Your beautiful girl. I have read everything everything and walk away from it it all with compassion for my own family. No into yes. Time together. Little things that don’t matter. Jennifer has made such a difference because you shared her with the world.

    I pray in your hours of need you find comfort in your knowing of her now – pain free ins place we all long to go to. Your Jennifer didn’t deserve this – but her life had real true meaning and she has left a legacy that most people will never ever have.

    Take care Libby. Years ago just after she died – you used to say you’d worry people would forget. I didn’t. I never will and I’m active and hope to be more active with donations in the future.

    Because of you and your sweet Jennifer.

    Take such good care

    Bless you and your beautiful family.

  4. Alex says:

    Know that I always think of her. like me many have not forgotten. She touched so many life’s in more ways than one. Thinking of you and her.

  5. Crystal Carey says:

    You are never forgotten. Jennifer is and always will be an inspiration. She’s the reason that I put unravel into the mix for corporate donations where I work now. We didn’t win this year. Maybe next year. But it’s always for Jennifer, although we know it’s too late, it’s because she is a beautiful soul that lived and her siblings should be proud of what she has done. What she WILL do. Because her soul and light are too beautiful to just go out. She knows you need to take care of her baby siblings. I’m sure she is watching and loving her family.

  6. Pushpa Autry says:

    Hi Libby,
    Even after so long my breath catches in my chest when I read your blog. It has been a while, I have kept away and I am sorry.
    Big warm meaningful hug to you from another mama who is missing her son.
    My name is Pushpa and I used to attend Mamas Night Out with all the fanfare and beauty of celebrating life and death.
    I live in TACOMA Washington now and I would like to get the Fluttering Dragonflies. I don’t know many people here, been here a few months. If anyone shows interest I will get them a kit too. But for now can I just get one?
    I will honor Jennifer and my son Colin.
    I feel like I live on another dimension, a parallel universe where things are just a little different from the other(my life with both children alive) life.
    I admire you and feel the gut wrenching pain of the dilemma of whether to face the pain or not. Hurts either way.
    I am having a birthday anniversary whiplash, hence the writing.
    I am here if you want to talk anytime.
    Much love,
    Pushpa Autry

  7. Sara Tapparo says:

    Hi Libby,
    I too am an Angel warrior Mama. I understand every word you write. Ashley passed 6/6/22. She was 18 1/2 and a brave warrior just like your sweet Jennifer❤️ These warriors are incredible and inspire me everyday. Their smile lights up the world. I promised Ashley I would live like she did, brave, kind and caring for others. I’m excited to Flutter this year. Ash loved nature and I knew this would be the perfect way to honor her, other warriors and fight for a cure. Thank you for fighting! Thank you for sharing ❤️ I’m here if you ever need me.
    Love , Sara Tapparo

  8. John Smith says:

    I just read the heartfelt post titled “Rake to the Face” on the Unravel Pediatric Cancer blog. It’s both touching and powerful, shedding light on the resilience and strength of families facing unimaginable challenges. The way the author shares their personal experience creates a deep connection, reminding us of the importance of empathy and support in the face of adversity. Sending love and strength to all those affected by pediatric cancer.

  9. Janice Walter says:

    Your Jennifer and her journey with you and your family is etched in my heart. When I think about her I pray for you all. She is not forgotten and I believe she is happy well and strong again.

  10. Crystal says:

    She is never forgotten. I used to check your blog everyday. Not so much anymore, but we still all check in. You let us grieve with you and part of our hearts belong to your family. Jennifer was a mom, she would be thrilled you are concentrating on her baby siblings! Last year when our company was looking for a charity I nominated unravel. Jennifer, and the Kranz family are never forgotten.

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