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.

200 kilometers

austin head for the cure 2014
Team Kai at Central Texas Head for the Cure 2014

Earlier this month we had no idea that the Head for the Cure 5K would be in Austin. After Kai’s diagnosis, we became aware of the 5K, but assumed that we would be in treatment somewhere and would be unable to join. It pains me that things all happened so quickly and here we are, able to participate in the HFTC event this year, yet Kai’s physical presence was not with us.

There was a tremendous turnout this morning. Team Kai consisted of no less than 40 members, collectively putting in over 200 kilometers! While some of us trailed at the back, pushing little ones in strollers, Team Kai featured 3 of the top 11 runners! Chris G, Chris M, and Conor all posted blistering paces. (We now have a HFTC medal generously donated to Kai.) There was even a medal earned in the under 10 age group!

Chicago Altera group race
Amazing group of Altera employees and their families running their own race in honor of Kai!

In addition, these amazing people from work (in Chicago) organized their own 5K while we participated in the Head for the Cure 5K in Austin – we can add another 150 kilometers to Team Kai! While it certainly looks colder there, at least the sun was out. Sun’s out, Kai’s out!

This morning was tough without Kai being there. Still, I felt him with us. When the sun broke through to warm us from the chilly morning we made sure to tell Maya: “Sun’s out, Kai’s out!”. maya at atx head for the cure 2014I was excited to see so many people supporting brain cancer research and supporting both survivors and victims, yet at the same time it was saddening. Writing a message to Kai on a wall at the event brought tears to my eyes. Walking with Maya in the stroller brought tears to my eyes since Kai always had the stroller position while Maya snuggled in an Ergo up against mom. Seeing a distant colleague at the same event because he also has a connection to brain cancer brought tears to my eyes. I never realized that you don’t have to go far in the circle of people that you know before you find somebody with a personal connection to brain cancer (let alone cancer in general).

We all missed Kai dearly today but are glad that events like this are around to raise awareness and funds. It was a beautiful morning and taking the time to walk the course was calming. It was a rare opportunity to speak with friends old and new. Maya was able to sport her Kai’s Choo Choo Crew t-shirt and even made a new friend when she met Pierce. Maya isn’t a happy camper when she misses her nap and Pierce was able to get her to smile, which always turns out to be contagious.

I am thankful that I felt Kai today, even though I couldn’t physically hug him. Love you, buddy.


P.S. – How perfect is it that the 5K was held at Camp Mabry? Kai would always call out “airplane” or “helicopter” whenever we drove past Camp Mabry – there are some fighter planes and helicopters on display at the edge of the Camp such that traffic on the highway drives right past them. No doubt he would have loved running within feet of them today.

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.