There are so many raw emotions coursing through me as I sit to write this but it feels nearly impossible to convey what is in my heart. I could tell you all about the memories of this day…a year ago that you were diagnosed. When I think back on those first hours, days and weeks, it would be easy to recall the crushing sadness we felt and the all-consuming fear. Honestly, I’m just coming around to where those feelings don’t haunt me every day. But the real truth is, the overwhelming emotion that comes to mind from the last year…is love. Love from every corner of our world. So, Kate, on this first anniversary of your diagnosis, I will write you a story like one of your favorite books, What is Love Biscuit?
What is love, Kate? Love is the dozens of families who took time away from theirs to feed ours in those first days in the hospital (and long, long after.) The first two families to arrive were girlfriends from high school I hadn’t seen in nearly 20 years. One made guacamole that made your Grandma smile for the first time in days. (Thank you, Meredith!) One made cookies..for the nurses!!! (Thank you, Megan!) And one always, always brought a bone or treat for our beloved woofer. (Thank you, Michelle!) I will never, ever forget what it felt like to be cared for so warmly by something so simple as meal.
What is love, Kate? Love is the group of friends and family who overwhelmed us with kindnesses; all for the love of a little girl and her heartbroken parents. They started coming this very night a year ago and they haven’t stopped since. Entertainment, comfort items, blankets, hats & hair bows, cards, gifts, drawings, messages, prayer groups…you name it. One family sent the reusable sticker pad that kick-started your love of dinosaurs. (Thank you, Tylers!) One sent an elephant Minky blanket that you love to snuggle under when you don’t feel well even now. (Thank you, Neimans!) The mom’s group I’m a part of sent toys, gifts and handmade cards from the babies to decorate the hospital room along with an iPad (Thank you, mommas…you know who you are!) Your Aunt Jamie’s neighbor designed, printed and donated ALL of the Kate’s Krew t-shirts so we could sell them as a fundraiser. (Thank you Julie!) Co-workers and friends formed fundraisers, joined walk teams and reached out within the pediatric cancer community…all in your name. Love like this is a force to be reckoned with and has left the impression on my heart that dulls the the pain of the last 12 months.
What is love, Kate? Love is the host of strangers who learned who we were from the common thread that connected us…a child with cancer. These people became our lifeline, our beacons of hope and our friends. They are the family of nurses, doctors and other patients we got to know at the clinic who we formed a bond with that no other can quite compare. Long after treatment ends we will be connected…Maeve, Ava, Mark, Trevor, Vincent, Ben, Tyler, Caleb, Tara…the list goes on and on and on.
What is love, Kate? Love is your family. Your Aunt Jamie who dropped everything to be by your side and was willing to do the hard jobs I couldn’t. Your Grandparents, who spent as much time with you in the hospital as we did and who have not stopped doing, fetching or helping since. Your extended family, who spent countless hours worrying, researching, caring and loving. Your mommy & daddy whose love for you and for each other has grown beyond measure.
What is love, Kate? Love…my darling girl…is you. I am so proud of you and I love you beyond the moon, beyond the stars and beyond the heavens.
Today, I celebrate the beautiful girl I call my daughter with this look back at the last year of her life. A year she taught us all the meaning of what it truly is to be brave. (The music is “Us Against the World” by Coldplay from Mylo Xyloto.)
My cup runneth over,