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.

6 Comments on Tender

  1. Aki there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of you, Shawn and Maya and your families and your daily challenge in defining the “new” normal. Your strength and courage in sharing and articulating your journey is so inspirational, and so humbling, to witness. You are in our prayers always and we celebrate you and Kai for reminding us what is truly and everlastingly important.

  2. We love you and think of you daily, and always will. So proud, though not at all surprised, that at a time it would be easy to fold inward, you are reaching outward and choosing life, hope, and love. THAT is a good lesson we are all learning from you.

  3. Yes, get out in the sunshine and be good to yourselves. Thanks for keeping us up to date on how you are all doing. You stay in our prayers.

  4. You are amazing. Amazing!!!! Such a sweet and beautiful post, even though I’m sure it wasn’t easy to write. I think it’s so special you are writing down memories of Kai, how beautiful to reflect on the amazing life he had. I LOVE what you said at the end – we can use those hurts to reach out to others. I think that is a huge part of why we go through struggles. He turns our mess into messages and tests into testimonies so that we can share, encourage, and give hope to others who are struggling. How beautiful that you now have Kai’s story to share with others – one that in just a short month has impacted so many people already and I know that over the next months and years will continue to change more and more lives. Thanks for sharing what is on your heart. I know I’m not the only one who looks forward to reading updates. Praying that God heals all the tenderness completely. xoxoxoxoxoxo

  5. You have a whole network of friends and family, both new and old, here to offer whatever form of support we can. Your sweet Kai helped make the most beautiful day today. Even though my kids never met Kai, they have learned “Suns out! Kai’s out!” and they know Kai’s journey.

  6. Aki, I want to reply but keep deleting everything that I start to write because nothing seems adequate. I just want to you know that I, along with so many others, am honored and humbled to simply read your words. I may not be able to do very much but I can bear witness to your experience. I am here. I see you. Your suffering, your strength, your hope and your pain. I am moved by your authenticity and openess. Thank you.

    “Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”
    ― Brené Brown

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