On one of Katie’s final days I had had a horrible nightmare. I came running out of my room crying, and searching for her. I ran into the dining room and I was able to see her in the living room, on the couch, still alive, and I just broke down. I was crying and sobbing, and could not contain myself. I ran to the bathroom and cried harder, and louder. I didn’t want her to hear or see me, but at some point I even forgot that she was able to. I was so beyond consoling. I could hear her though, she immediately yelled for her dad. I could hear her slurred words, as she was trying her hardest to work her struggling mouth muscles and say, “What’s wrong? Why is mom crying? Daddy? Why?” She asked him to take her to me, at some point… He carried her to the bathroom where I was a bit more calm, and he held her up to me to see that I was ok. I told her I was ok now, I had a bad dream. She was not buying it. She seemed a little relieved, but she wasn’t sure. She started to hug me, with both arms, and in her best possible effort, even though she could hardly move her arms and hands, she patted my shoulders. Little taps, with what little ability she had. Just constant little taps, up and down. Her finger tips, slowly calming me, and pushing new fresh energy into me. The sobs and sadness dissipated. She just patted and patted and whispered in a slurred speech, “It’s ok mommy. It’s going to be ok…” I cried harder, but it was less sobbing, more tears, as I calmed down. I hugged her so tight. I knew, at that very moment, that sadly this was going to be the very last time she would do this for anyone. I told David, we both agreed that this wonderful child, who loved to console others, was still able to, even in her final days, make us feel better. However, we didn’t know how we were going to survive without that feeling from her any more. And we were right… It was her last time.
In this picture Katie is consoling a classmate. She had just had a huge fight with her sister. We joked that Katherine had her fair share of sisterly struggles. I didn’t believe Katherine was going to ever leave me when this picture was taken. I had no idea as to what was coming in the future. I didn’t put stock into her ability to make others feel better, and naturally it came to her at this time. Even though I had accepted that she was diagnosed with an incurable brain cancer, I didn’t fully accept it, so things didn’t soak in to our psyches as we wished they would. How could a parent process that fully. She was in her element in this picture, and the more she was normal, and doing the things she did best, the harder it was to imagine a world without her. To imagine that a tumor, millimeters in size, could destroy such an amazing soul. I will never understand that reality. Ever…
Our child was kind, and gentle, and lived for the simple joy of those around her. She did not like to see others unhappy, or upset about anything. If she did, she wanted to heal whatever saddened you as quick as possible. She would stop what she was doing immediately, stare and evaluate the situation, then move forward with whatever she could do to ease the stress, or angst. As a child, that often meant a kind word, a piece of whatever she was enjoying, food or a toy, a hug, a pat, a suggestion of you joining her in whatever it was that she was enjoying at the time. She was like many kids out there. I wish for you all that feeling to be able to be in the moment with your littles ones. I wish for you all to be able to reflect on the little ones around you now, and recall similar traits. We forget these things, and we don’t appreciate them as we should. I’m hoping that you will, in honor of Katie.
I miss you Katherine. I’ll be seeing you. Loves and kisses.