Category: General

Tender

Someone once commented me to that Kai had such a tender heart and could be so kind to others. I admit, through the mom bias, I too thought he was such a kind soul, but also (through the other mom bias) knew his temper tantrum kicking and screaming side :-). But, the truth is, as Shawn and I are recalling our memories of Kai and trying to write them down I am struck by the many memories I have where Kai showed such tenderness to others – his baby sister, his friends, to Shawn and I. How amazing a spirit is that. What a great teacher in such a small little boy.

When I remembered that comment about a tender heart, I also feel like that word describes what my heart feels like right now, but in a different way than what was said about Kai. The veil of shock is starting to remove itself and our new reality is becoming clear – Kai went Home and we will miss him every single day of our time here on earth. The sharpness of this reality feels almost like a sting and at times I  wince because it’s like it somehow truly physically hurts – it hurts my tender heart. I wish he was just taking a nap right now (or having “quiet time” which meant jumping on his bed while singing songs in a whisper so that he was being “quiet”), I wish I could go to the grocery store with him (the Buddy Bucks store he called it… HEB shoppers you know what I mean :-), give him a bath, read books, fix him a snack, so so many things. And we’ve talked about how we grieve that he won’t be able to experience so many things here even though we know his experiences now are so much greater than anything here on earth. In these moments when the memories, the “I just wish…”, and the sadness seem almost suffocating, we’ve tried to get outside. Yesterday we sat out in the sun, and the absolutely amazing day God created, and God and Kai felt so close – they were close, I know it. And Maya, Shawn and I smiled together.kai and maya hands

And yes, it’s not the same – our hearts will always ache in pain as long as we draw breath in, but maybe our lesson right now is that while our hearts may be tender to us, we can transform that pain and that definition of “tender” to be more like our little guy –  to be kind and tender hearted to others. I think the other thing I’ve realized through this is just how.much.suffering. there is in this broken world. I would get overwhelmed with this in the past, but it is even more real to me now. But, then I feel a little crazy because I can see light now because I know love and community and hope can help overcome each of those situations. I think of each one of you who stepped in to walk with us and while it couldn’t take away the pain and suffering, it for darn sure showed that Love won this fight, hands down, no question.

I know each of us have parts of our heart that have been hurt through our experiences in life, and sometimes it’s easier to harden those parts or hide them or let them become too raw – but maybe it’s those parts that help us more easily reach out to each other, bringing more good than hurt to the world. I don’t quite know how to do this myself yet, but I’m keeping these memories of the unconditional kindness I’ve seen in Kai, in friends, in strangers and I’m hoping that I will turn towards that direction when the pain stings and I thank all of you who have been teachers to us in how to keep moving forward day by day as we navigate our new normal. Thank you so much for your kindness and tender hearts.

The Brave Little Soul Story

A number of you have been asking about the story that was read by Kai’s teachers at his celebration and I’m so sorry I’ve been meaning to post it on here sooner than now! I was sent this story by a friend from primary school and it definitely struck a chord with us. I’m not sure the background on it or anything, but I think it’s a pretty beautiful story.

The Brave Little Soul by John Alessi
Not too long ago in Heaven there was a little soul who took wonder in observing the world. He especially enjoyed the love he saw there and often expressed this joy with God. One day however the little soul was sad, for on this day he saw suffering in the world. He approached God and sadly asked, “Why do bad things happen; why is there suffering in the world?”
God paused for a moment and replied, “Little soul, do not be sad, for the suffering you see, unlocks the love in people’s hearts.” The little soul was confused. “What do you mean,” he asked. God replied, “Have you not noticed the goodness and love that is the offspring of that suffering? Look at how people come together, drop their differences and show their love and compassion for those who suffer. All their other motivations disappear and they become motivated by love alone.”
The little soul began to understand and listened attentively as God continued, “The suffering soul unlocks the love in people’s hearts much like the sun and the rain unlock the flower within the seed. I created everyone with endless love in their heart, but unfortunately most people keep it locked up and hardly share it with anyone. They are afraid to let their love shine freely, because they are afraid of being hurt. But a suffering soul unlocks that love. I tell you this – it is the greatest miracle of all. Many souls have bravely chosen to go into the world and suffer – to unlock this love – to create this miracle – for the good of all humanity.”
Just then the little soul got a wonderful idea and could hardly contain himself. With his wings fluttering, bouncing up and down, the little soul excitedly replied, “I am brave; let me go! I would like to go into the world and suffer so that I can unlock the goodness and love in people’s hearts! I want to create that miracle!”
God smiled and said, “You are a brave soul I know, and thus I will grant your request. But even though you are very brave you will not be able to do this alone. I have known since the beginning of time that you would ask for this and so I have carefully selected many souls to care for you on your journey. Those souls will help you create your miracle; however they will also share in your suffering. Two of these souls are most special and will care for you, help you and suffer along with you, far beyond the others. They have already chosen a name for you.”
God and the brave little soul shared a smile, and then embraced. In parting, God said, “Do not forget little soul that I will be with you always. Although you have agreed to bear the pain, you will do so through my strength. And if the time should come when you feel that you have suffered enough, just say the word, think the thought, and you will be healed.”
Thus at that moment the brave little soul was born into the world, and through his suffering and God’s strength, he unlocked the goodness and love in people’s hearts. For so many people dropped their differences and came together to show their love. Priorities became properly aligned. People gave from their hearts. Those that were always too busy found time. Many began new spiritual journeys – some regained lost faith – many came back to God. Parents hugged their children tighter. Friends and family grew closer. Old friends got together and new friendships were made. Distant family reunited, and every family spent more time together. Everyone prayed. Peace and love reigned. Lives changed forever. It was good. The world was a better place. The miracle had happened. God was pleased.

Lifting Up

Thanks to the thoughtful and kind suggestion made on this site by a fellow mother who lost her son, we were connected to a grief support center called The Christi Center here in Austin. Tonight we went. As everyone told us, we’re still in the shock phase. I agree. Everything is surreal. It feels like a fog many times and I feel so bad that sometimes I’m not quite sure what I’m saying in conversation or I try to put the dishtowels in the fridge (but maybe that’s Maya’s fault because she started eating the cabinets while I was doing laundry).

The caring and kind people we met tonight welcomed us and were willing to share their journey and story so that we could see that yes, the pain will never leave you, but that doesn’t mean you live without hope. I didn’t know quite what to say, I don’t remember what I said. It was really really hard saying the words that Kai isn’t here, I realized I hadn’t had to say that out loud to anyone yet. I could barely whisper it.

But you know what, Love wins again. The way they have everyone introduce themselves is by saying, I’m Aki, and I’m here for the LOVE of my son, Kai. The LOVE. It hurts so much because we love them so much.  And I’m never, ever going to stop loving Kai. And to be honest I’m not sure what that’s going to look like — maybe it will be everchanging. But, it’s made me realize, or maybe hope, that it doesn’t have to be awkward or taboo to celebrate someone who is gone. I think I’ve never known what to say when someone’s experienced a loss – and the people we met tonight who could definitely understand what we felt also admitted that truly there are no words. But, we can love and care for each other – and when I think about it like that, it seems so simple. When we experience grief, anxiousness, suffering, joy, triumph, success and all of the other emotions we go through in a lifetime, we need/want love and care from others in whatever form that may take. This may be a crowd of friends or simply the ultimate, supernatural peace of God in a prayer when we don’t even know what to pray.

I hope that it’s ok to share Kai with others for the rest of my lifetime and keep him alive in my heart and maybe I just write all this to let you know that even if you may see tears in me or anyone else that is grieving, it’s just because I love him….and that’s a good thing, it’s bigger than the pain….. it means Love wins.K block 3.31.2014

I feel like God had Kai give us a little love today because He knew we were struggling…. Maya was playing with Kai’s alphabet blocks and I heard her knock a bunch to the ground. She then army crawled her way over to me and dropped one at my lap….it was the letter “K”. She smiled at me knowingly and I smiled back and I could feel Kai smiling too.

One Week

Sun’s out, Kai’s out! After a crazy day of a weather yesterday, we are enjoying a beautiful day here in Austin. It’s admittedly bittersweet because a day like this would mean a full day outside with Kai running, jumping, climbing, and laughing and we are missing that right now. I have talked about trying to be sure and choose life in these times but I will say – it can be so stinkin’ hard. In the mornings I just wish sometimes I could bury my head under the covers and let the grief take over. and yesterday, the day that marked one week from when sweet Kai went to Heaven, I really felt overcome by dark and choosing life seemed so hard.

But in a somewhat weird sounding twist, God helped/forced me to choose life – baby Maya needed us. With a shriek she woke me, which told me she wasn’t feeling well, so I had no choice but to choose life and see Maya and learned she had a fever. Baby Maya stayed curled up on me all morning just like her brother used to do when he was sick – it was a little hard hearing those cries that I couldn’t decipher to understand what was causing her pain because it made me think of all of those days I didn’t know why Kai was in such pain. But at the end of the day, Maya had a few smiles even through the fever and the sun came out and I told her “sun’s out, Kai’s out!” and she smiled so big.

I think a lot of things will continue or maybe always be bittersweet to us now, things that just make our hearts ache but also smile when we remember Kai. So I thought it was appropriate to post this video of Kai and Maya about a month after Maya was born – God is using both Kai and Maya to help us see/choose life – it feels like moving through mud but then I can see these smiles and that love and joy just miraculously brings a light to the dark.

And I realize this may sound cliché or repetitive or just not sufficient, but all of the cards, emails, texts, comments, messages, phone calls, prayers we’ve been receiving this week have been lifting us up so much. You all are amazing – you’re showing the good and life in all of this – thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you.