Fumbling but Trying

It’s hard to know how to start this entry – it’s hard to know how to do a lot of things these days. We’re home, we’re participating in parts of what was our “normal” routine, but everything – every.single.thing – is completely different. We have Kai’s little blankets that he always had at home and at the hospital (his owls, bees, and “rawrs” as he called them) laid between our pillows, it may seem silly but it’s comforting for us right now.

Looking back we now realize how sick little Kai was before we ended up admitted to the hospital. But even more so we’ve realized how stubborn and resilient this little guy was – he wasn’t going to let some cancer stop him from living life and loving people! He would try and play like almost normal and then would all of sudden just start crying and just collapse in our arms needing us to hold him. We had no idea what was going on at the time, but just knew he needed us.

We’re not really sure how to even to start again. It’s not getting “back” to normal, we have a new normal but I’m not sure what that looks like, I think that it will continue to change, but Kai will always be with us. I’ve been telling Maya when the sun comes out “sun’s out, Kai’s out!” and she smiles. I feel like somehow the littlest ones are able to connect with God on a level those of us who have seen more of the brokenness of this world cannot.

We hurt a lot. And Shawn and I have talked a lot about how easy it can be to just fall into the “we’ll never get to experience ____ with him” and “he’s not here” and “I should have ____” but we can’t stay in those places, right? Maybe it’s kind of like Kai, we’re sick with grief and not sure what’s going on, but when we collapse, God has been holding us: providing us support through your prayers, friends and family keeping us company, bringing us meals, hugs, laughter and so much more, through providing a friend who has connected us to start grief counseling, and through baby Maya who somehow has learned to do the fish face and also created her version of a stink face at 7.5 months old. silly kai

This may sound kind of dumb, but I’m not sure how to pray for Kai these days, but we do pray for Kai. My sister in law said to just tell God that and he’ll show us. So we are kind of fumbling and stumbling with prayers and with the little things every day, but we’re committed to trying and God, I just thank you for being so generous to us and pray you’ll continue to be with us and help us move forward and choose life and love even amidst tears or confusion.  Thank you again so much for Kai’s life and all of the good we’ve witnessed.

27 Comments on Fumbling but Trying

  1. Christy Moilanen
    March 26, 2014 at 9:35 pm (5 years ago)

    Lots of love and praying for comfort for you.

    Reply
  2. Sarah Herrington
    March 26, 2014 at 9:41 pm (5 years ago)

    I just love your words so much. I have a two year old son, and I cannot imagine your grief. I am so inspired by your faith in the Lord and your joy in remembering your son. He will always be with you, but right now, I believe he is way better off than any of the rest of us. Praise God for the strength He has given you. I am praying for you guys.

    Reply
  3. Amy Salinas
    March 26, 2014 at 9:42 pm (5 years ago)

    Aki – I cannot even begin to image what you and Shawn are experiencing. Each day must bring new challenges, new memories, more time to reflect on all that has happened. I don’t think there is anything you can do, but take it one moment, one day at a time. This grief is like no other – like you said Kai did, sometimes you have to take it on and keep moving and sometimes you have to stop, fall down and cry. You are in my constant thoughts. My heart is sad for you and your loss and I wish I could wrap my arms around you constantly, give you big hugs and make all of the pain go away. You are such a dear soul, such a dear person, such a dear friend, such an amazing woman mother, and such an amazing mother. Don’t forget – I am here when and if you need me.

    Reply
  4. Mik Ichiba
    March 26, 2014 at 9:42 pm (5 years ago)

    Saying a prayer for you, Shawn, baby Maya, and Kai. My heart aches for you guys. I ask God to help you be strong.

    Reply
  5. Carol Lisk
    March 26, 2014 at 9:52 pm (5 years ago)

    As a mother, I cannot imagine the grief and pain you are experiencing. I am amazed and awed by your faith and trust in His love and strength. As others have stated more profoundly than I am able, one day, even one moment at a time. Allow your pain, faith, joy and sadness, whichever emotion fits at that moment in time. They are all OK and normal, healthy responses. Feelings are neither right nor wrong, they are feelings. Every single individual handles grief in different ways. Know you and your entire family continue to remain in our prayers. Reach out for help wherever you can, and trust in Him to guide you throughout this exteremely difficult journey.

    Reply
  6. Kristin Hampsten
    March 26, 2014 at 9:56 pm (5 years ago)

    Our family prays for you every day and will continue. I’m sorry I didn’t get to meet you at the celebration. I am so blessed by your sharing your journey with us. Thank you so much for your witness. You have forever changed my life with your demonstration of God’s power in this, and I doubt I’m the only one who will say that. If God can carry you through this and be glorified, I have confidence that He can get us through anything. Bless you, bless you, bless you.

    Reply
  7. Autumn Matus
    March 26, 2014 at 9:57 pm (5 years ago)

    Aki, this morning I watched the sweet video of Kai again from the celebration, it is just beautiful. I smiled and cried as I watched… again. Then I prayed that God would hold you and Shawn even tighter when the sadness seems more than you can bare and that He would guide you as you figure out your new “normal.” I also prayed that He would remind you often that sweet Kai is in the loving arms of Jesus now and give you comfort knowing that one day you will see him again in Heaven. We are continuing to pray for you all, EVERY DAY!!!

    Reply
  8. Robin Voss
    March 26, 2014 at 9:59 pm (5 years ago)

    Sending lots of love your way! Thank you for the update!

    Reply
  9. Mallivan Olinger
    March 26, 2014 at 10:02 pm (5 years ago)

    Praying for comfort and peace to you. Just wanted to share one of my favorite songs from church that I feel is very comforting in times like these. It has helped me in my life. It’s called “You are mine”. A Catholic song that I put a link to below, but here is a snipit (as if God is singing this to you): “I am hope for all who are hopeless
    I am eyes for all who long to see
    In the shadows of the night,
    I will be your light
    Come and rest in me”

    Here is a link:
    http://www.ap0s7le.com/list/song/404/David_Haas/You_Are_Mine/

    Continued prayers….

    Reply
  10. Liz Darling
    March 26, 2014 at 10:18 pm (5 years ago)

    Aki and Shawn, I know God is big enough and awesome enough to take whatever you guys throw at Him. He – more than any of us – understands the conflict in your soul – and honors your fierce inquiry into the whys and hows and what nows…you don’t have to be “strong” any more for Kai or for “us” or for “you” just be yourselves and give it up to God and He will renew your strength in time…
    Isaiah 40:31

    Reply
  11. Patricia Baker
    March 26, 2014 at 10:45 pm (5 years ago)

    Your words always inspire me. I am praying for you and your husband and the grandparents. I am also praying for Maya and all of your family. Though we have never met you feel like family to me and I pray for you daily. Please remember that there is no wrong way to grieve.

    Reply
  12. Caroline Harries
    March 26, 2014 at 10:57 pm (5 years ago)

    Beautiful sis!!! Remember, before a word is even on our tongue, God knows it completely! He knows every thought and action before it even happens. When you don’t know what or how to pray, you can just say Jesus and let the spirit fill in all the words for you!!! He knows your hearts desires and he wants to carry you when you feel weak! Love you!!!!

    In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. Romans 8:26

    You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. Psalm 139:1-4

    Reply
  13. Vidya Bala
    March 26, 2014 at 11:07 pm (5 years ago)

    I am so so sorry to hear about everything. We are praying for comfort for you guys. Lots of love to your family.

    Reply
  14. Kevin and Cheryl Smith
    March 26, 2014 at 11:17 pm (5 years ago)

    Praying for you every, single day….you come to my mind so often. Though we have never met, we care so deeply. When one member of Christ’s body suffers, the whole body suffers with it. It’s true. Though we have no words and do not know how to comfort you, we are so thankful God knows. He is the God of ALL comfort. Trusting Him to carry you.

    Reply
  15. Kellie Wostal
    March 26, 2014 at 11:29 pm (5 years ago)

    Our son is a year younger than Kai and also attends the CDC. We didn’t know Kai but have grown to love your son. What an amazing little boy and what amazing parents you are. You guys have a lot of love and prayers surrounding you and your sweet family is in our thoughts and prayers.

    Reply
  16. Brandi Speirs
    March 26, 2014 at 11:36 pm (5 years ago)

    Still sending our prayers for you all!

    Reply
  17. Cori Feldman
    March 26, 2014 at 11:44 pm (5 years ago)

    Kai WILL always be with you, and so will we, Aki and Shawn. We will continue to pray for you to stay strong, to let yourselves grieve, and to find moments of light and joy among the moments that are darkest.

    Reply
  18. Heather Burris
    March 27, 2014 at 12:05 am (5 years ago)

    Stumbling and fumbling is what I’m feeling just trying to write this post. For days, I’ve wondered what do I say?? And I know there is nothing I can say except I am praying for you, your family and Kai every day! You are an amazingly strong person! Hang in there sweet friend and know we all praying for y’all!

    Reply
  19. Maureen Voosen
    March 27, 2014 at 5:24 am (5 years ago)

    We think of you all often, and know there is hurt but also hopefully joy in the memories of Kai. What a beautiful picture you paint of Kai’s joyful smile coming out with the sun.

    Reply
  20. Barbara Birdwell
    March 27, 2014 at 5:48 am (5 years ago)

    Aki, I think of y’all every day & pray for you to have peace & God’s comforting arms around you. My great-grandson is 2 & I cannot imagine the grief you have to endure. So many things you write about little Kai are so much like my Rylie Jace.. He calls dinosaurs “rawrs”, too. Kai is blessed to have y’all for parents.. You are so very strong. I haven’t seen you since you were very young, but I have always loved your Mom for being such a sweet friend to me & Melissa back at TKD..and you have always been very special to Melissa.. Just know that we all are lifting y’all up in prayer everyday!

    Reply
  21. Erin Brackney
    March 27, 2014 at 8:57 am (5 years ago)

    Aki-thank you and Shawn for sharing your hearts on this unimaginable journey. I pray for Kai and for you all often. With so much love comes a hole in your heart and your life that can’t be replaced. I feel like God’s comfort, peace, joy and presence flow in and around those holes like healing water or a soothing balm to repair, to take away the stinging and aching pain as He holds us and walks with us. My mom shared a verse with me the other day and I have kept seeing it multiple times since then-Psalm 147:3-He heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds. Praying that you would feel God’s presence in and around you as you walk through these new days-that is His promise-Psalm 139:1-18. Thinking of you and Shawn, friend. Peace to you.

    Reply
  22. Susan Phillips
    March 27, 2014 at 9:46 am (5 years ago)

    “Oh Father in Heaven, I beg You to envelope Shawn and Aki in Your great and mighty arms of comfort and love, and to become Peace to them in the moments when grief is too hard to bear. You truly understand their pain, God, because Your heart must surely have suffered the same grief when You watched Your only Son die. You know the depths of heartache that Shawn and Aki feel now. I ask that You continue to keep all of Your precious promises to them and help them to “choose life and love” each day as they did when Kai was still here. And I pray this to You “with thanksgiving in my heart” and in Jesus’ Name.

    Reply
  23. Eugene Scott
    March 27, 2014 at 10:35 am (5 years ago)

    Shawn and Aki: Thank you for the beautiful picture of Kai during his celebration of life. Both Dee Dee and I were moved and touched by God during our time with you. We will never forget him, though we never had the honor of meeting him. We continue to pray for you three. Maya is a darling. Her encounter with the vacuum was priceless.

    I think you both are on the right road, even if it is called “Fumbling but Trying.” There is an account of Jesus helping some friends of his while they were grieving. It’s called The Road to Emmaus in Luke 24:13-35. The incredible thing is that he comforts them in their sorrow over his own death. He walks beside them and they don’t recognize him. He listens to their pain. He shares truth with them to comfort them. Then when he breaks bread, they finally see who he was. The picture I have is the three of you (plus a few others) walking this road of “Fumbling and Trying” and Jesus is there beside you, even if you do not always recognize him. And he cares and he is healing.

    There is an old Celtic bless that goes something like this: May Jesus go before you as guide, beside you as friend, and behind you as protector.

    I also wanted to say that praying for Kai is a wonderful way to talk to God about him, to stay close, so to speak. But you probably know Kai now needs nothing. He is healed, happy, and knowing the greatest comfort any of us can ever hope for: Jesus. Kai’s peels of laughter, his songs of joy, his many questions for God (as only a child can ask) are ringing throughout heaven.

    Reply
  24. Connie Smith
    March 27, 2014 at 12:44 pm (5 years ago)

    You don’t know us but we have been following your journal and have been praying for you. When we lost our granddaughter at 15 months of age we and our daughter and son-in-law read many books but we all found for us the most helpful book was “A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows through Loss” by Jerry L Sittser. Thought in time you might also find it helpful. We will continue to pray for you and your family. If you ever want to talk with someone who walked the walk thirteen years ago, my daughter said she would be glad to talk with you. Her phone number is 260-471-8257. You faith and hers have been an inspiration to us.

    Reply
  25. Caroline Lederman
    March 27, 2014 at 1:07 pm (5 years ago)

    You both are amazing. I just keep telling people about how much grace and dignity you have shown through all of this. There is no right way to grieve; there is only your way. Kai was a blessed little boy to have you both as parents.

    Reply
  26. Eric Lindh
    March 28, 2014 at 9:55 am (5 years ago)

    Aki – know that you and your family are in my prayers and in the prayers of the Project Transformation family as well. May you feel God’s presence, comfort and love surrounding you and your family, and may He provide you with what you need for each day.

    Reply
  27. La'Tisha Robinson
    March 28, 2014 at 10:52 am (5 years ago)

    I just found out what happened and I’m truly sorry for your loss! I pray for strength and understanding during this time as you try to find your new normal.

    Reply

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