Category: burying a child

what she said

I am not alone in this. So much of what I feel other parents are also feeling. This is what my friend Kristine wrote on the McKenna Claire Foundations FB page yesterday “We are on a major organizational binge at our house. Our life has been chaos since the day McKenna was diagnosed, which will be 4 years in January. I was cleaning out bags of “stuff” that have been piled in corners of closets or dressers. What I found this morning is what you see pictured above. This was McKenna’s final Mother’s Day gift to me. It was not lost on me thatit was covered in butterflies and that the gift itself was a blue butterfly keychain. What undid me was what she wrote on the back. Reading her words, written in her shaky post-tumor writing, brought back every ounce of the hopelessness, guilt, and pain that I have[…]


  All these things I am being forced to walk through. Nothing feels real right now.  Its like my body.. my heart.. my soul cannot accept that she is gone.. that I have to do this. These holidays.   Something in me snapped on Friday. Broke apart. And I cried off and on all day. I hate it. That cancer stole my daughter.. but also my 3 youngest babies childhoods. This shouldn’t be their memories for this time of year. But I can’t always stop it. I try .. I do try. Because I know it impacts them. I know how they are my little men and want to protect me. .. do anything to keep their mommy from hurting. Friday morning it was a cluster of hits that took me down. . Jonathan worried it was the song on the radio he had said he liked.. so he told[…]

muscle memory

We saw Santa. It was anti climatic. Which was a good thing actually since so much.. so much has been so big lately. Only Jonathan even sat on his lap. It was easier .. not so vividly missing her since the photographs I took were missing most of my kids. But a friend and I talked. How we both knew.. if she was there they all would have followed her. They always did for things like that. Sissy made them feel safe.  Tony and I had counseling last night. Mostly it centered around raising kids through this loss. Trying to sort out what is best for them. My family is crazy. We take all things competition very seriously. Even Baggo, (I googled it for you). A few years ago a tournament was started. Round Robin. Team names. Costumes. We do it at one of the high schools one my brother[…]

golden tours

Last week we took members of the Unravel team to go tour some of the labs at Stanford. To learn about the work they are doing and who we may want to fund in the future. I planned on writing all about it. but as things do in this new life of mine.. I was taken away from just the science of everything to my heart.. my love and my pain… but now I am able to share. First thing I have to say. WOW what an incredible place. The collaboration that we saw is a force to be reckoned with for sure. But for me the two biggest take aways are that there is so much potential .. new ideas and thoughts and innovation that are ready to happen.. but they need the money to make it happen. And how much they care. About their work and the science, about[…]

the stars

Pre and post her death. Thats how time is for me now. So this is the first Thanksgiving… It knocked me over. I think I wasn’t prepared at all for it. The night before I just cried and cried. Tony came home from golfing to a heartbroken wife. Its such a hard balance for our marriage. He had a good time but walked in the door to such a dark and pain filled home. He opened his arms to me though and did his very best to try and absorb my sorrow. I was hurting so bad I honestly in that moment wished that was possible. That he could take on some of  it and give me some relief. Its impossible though.. but it did help .. to have somebody there to hold me up.. to bear witness to my destruction and be there to help me re-build. Thanksgiving was[…]

eye roll

Thanksgiving one year ago we invited the first media outlet in to film our family and our story. I barely even remember Jennifer looking like that. So big and round in her face. She hated that. Hated so much how the steroids changed the way she felt and looked. I hated it to. A constant reminder of the monster inside.. that we were powerless to stop. .. or as it turns out even slow down. I am quoted to say “I don’t know how you go on.. people do it.. but I can’t imagine it. .. I can’t.. We watched her today with her cousins.. I think about next year, will we be able to come? I .. I don’t know. “ How can I still say that. That I don’t know how people go on.. I don’t know how I am going on… But I am. I don’t know[…]

i did this

Everything is different for us. Its not just that we lost our daughter we lost ourselves too. All the old rules have been re-written. And underneath that new writing there is always a ache.. the pain that we didn’t want things to change. No, honestly, we were all really happy with how things were. But then our 6 year old got an oncologist. .. and then a headstone. Jennifer. This was never supposed to happen. Everything is different. My kids cry and yell or act up. .. and I question how to handle it.. If I should simply give them a consequence or is it their grief manifesting itself. They lost the mom I once was.. the mom I should have been.  Unintended consequence of our battle with infertility. I really appreciated being a mom. A wife too. I was a really good homemaker. .. and I loved it. So[…]


*** I debated sharing this. I wrote it last week. Its just a snapshot. A time in the midst of my desperate sorrow I was able to write *** my heart. sometimes i wonder if i can take this. i miss her so much so incredibly much more than i ever thought possible. i cry and my body contorts.. forcefully .. against my will. i have no control over it. i wail . i sob. noises i didn’t know i could make coming out of me. i fold from the inside i double over only to throw my body back again. forcefully. silence. pouring out of me. a silence so deep and so dark i am drenched .. soaking wet from my tears and sweat when i miss her like this.. its consuming my hands hurt.. from being clenched so tightly … grinding into my forehead pushing my head backwards[…]

8 months

I used to love the Fall.. love when the seasons started to change and the weather got a little crisper.. Loved it getting dark earlier.. I hate it. I hate all of it. Its just leading to horrible days.. ones that used to be so full of joy .. that I am terrified of having to go through. A birthday without her .. Halloween without her.. thanksgiving and christmas and new years.. all without her.. and as time marches and the weather gets colder.. we hit the anniversary .. is there seriously no other word for it?!?! of her death. no. no. no. I used to love halloween. She was due on halloween.. Its not just a reminder that she is not here. For me its more with halloween. Its all the decorations. Tombstones and skeletons.. ghosts and zombies … all things to say that death is scary. …but Jennifer[…]


Last week we went to the cemetery for our first picnic, just me and the kids. Jonathan’s request. He asked to skip preschool to go there and I promised right after we picked him up we could go. That seemed to assuage him and the picnic plan made him really happy. On the drive to school the boys asked questions.. I found myself explaining to my 5 and 3 yr olds that just like they have a bedroom in our home.. sissy has a grave in the cemetery.. The gravity of that sentence made my stomach lurch. . but the boys seemed to relate well to it. My daughter.. has a grave like they have a bedroom.. a room that was once hers.. There is another little girl buried near our Jennifer. She was almost 2. It was recently her birthday..Happy birthday Emily.15 years they have had to celebrate their baby[…]