These days I often find myself asking questions like ….wait, what just happened?!?!…..Is this real? Is this my life?…. I had a son, a little boy named Kai, right? And he slept in this house and he ate in that chair, and he talked to me and laughed with me and threw tantrums and refused naps and giggled and played…. Right? I carried him in my belly and felt him kick and squirm in there, and he was born and rocked our worlds…….. right? And then, I start thinking about when he got sick….the first time he had a weird episode that we now know was the cancer…. Never in my mind would I have thought it was cancer. How could we know? Should we have known? I honestly don’t think there’s any way we could have known. He was so resilient and darn it kids are always sick so we thought it was just a stomach bug or that he was randomly throwing up because he just did seven forward rolls, a spin jump off the couch, had his dad swing him around in circles upside down…. all after eating like 3 servings of dinner. Anyone would throw up after that…. Wouldn’t they?

It all seems so unreal. A number of days I feel like I’m watching myself go through my day. I am not trying to be, nor do I think I’m being fake – I never, ever want to be fake about this.But, I feel kind of split in two. I think there’s part of me doing well and living the “new normal”, while at the same time, having a very real, very present grieving side is, but I admit it’s such a weird feeling – seeing myself do things and interact and it is all real and is good but then having this part of me inside that is just sobbing and grieving and still trying to comprehend the fact that…. he died.

Is this for real?

Please…. No…..Please.

Tell me this is an awful, terrible, horrible dream.

Is this for real?



There was a little boy named Kai and he did get sick with ATRT and he passed away.


There was a little boy named Kai, and in June of 2011 Shawn and I were given the utmost privilege to become his parents. And he did rock our worlds…. He still continues to do so. And he was real – his life, his joy, his ups and downs, the amazing-ness of it all, was and is real. Oh how I wish he was still here with us, I miss him with every ounce of my being and I want him to be real here on earth still. But he is – in my heart, in your hearts.

And God has blessed us with little Maya who is this amazing little person we’re starting to see emerge and has her own quirkiness and resilience…. And she reminds us, Kai Kai is real because when we love her we realize how in this crazy unknown way our hearts have grown so much through their two lives — with love of the same unconditional amount, but love for each of them in such different ways for the different people they are.

So I always do come back to the fact that yes, this is real – the pain, the longing, the events that unfolded. But this love for our son is real. And it was created by God and it is stronger and everlasting and will redeem this pain that is so real to us at this moment.

The picture I wanted to share today was a gift to me one day while I was really missing my little boy. I loved taking Kai on walks, we’ve always done that – as a newborn it’s the only way we could get him to sleep and as a toddler it was our time to go take a look outside (and for momma to get some exercise!). Now Maya is in that seat…. And, well it turns out that making yourself comfortable while riding in the stroller is something these two siblings share.  Maya and Kai stroller pic

11 Comments on Is this real?

  1. Amazing, beautiful Kai..,amazing and beautiful words from the heart Aki. You and Shawn and Maya are in our thoughts and prayers often.

  2. Oh man oh man oh man. All so good, so true. We miss and love kai every day. I was painting one of the rooms in our house the other day and for some reason, just thought of kai the whole time. For probably like 5 hours. And it was great. Love him. Love you guys.

  3. Aki, I’m so glad you keep sharing. We have Kai’s picture on our fridge and we think about all of you and him often. We love you guys.

  4. What precious pictures! I am still praying for you often and believing God to hold you through the transition of this new reality. You are so dear to His heart…and to the hearts of so many others. 🙂

  5. Aki – always know that you are never fake. What you are experiencing is what I imagine is “normal” for someone going through grief and trauma. Fake you will never be, but not being fully present and just going through the motions is something that is expected. You are amazing – keep doing what you are doing – cry, laugh, share, grieve, get angry – whatever it takes to make it through each day and into the next one. Always know that you are loved and cared for by so many people, including me.

  6. You were blessed with Kai, and he with all of you, for all his too short time on earth. I think all of us are forever changed in some good way, big or small, because of this, and his life was a gift to all of us.
    Thank you for sharing yourselves so freely. We love you!

  7. So thankful you guys came out to CM the other day and we had a (short as it was) chance to talk, and hear more about Kai. It does hurt, and that pain or your day-to-day is not fake. You both are amazing in choosing life, and sharing Kai with all of us.

  8. You are still in our prayers. Your words are inspiring. Thanks for sharing your life with us. We care. May Gods loving arms comfort you.

  9. those two pictures! maya will treasure that photo as you do. love you, sweet friend. thinking of you often and am daily uplifted by your strength, honesty, and trust in Christ.

  10. Oh how I wish it wasn’t real. There are no what if’s – so no you were not supposed to know – none of this is your fault or ‘what if we had done this differently’ – I know the enemy will continue to tell you otherwise because that is what he loves to do – feed subtle lie and lie. Praying for strength to dismiss those thoughts!

    You are the most real person I know – it’s ok to have a conversation with someone but only think about Kai or your heart hurting. It’s ok to cry on the inside and it’s ok to cry on the outside. There are no expectations on you at all!

    I love this picture. I have been asking the Lord to give you a blue sock moment and I believe this is one 🙂 Love you friend!! Trusting Jesus will carry you through the days and minutes and hours and years to come!!

  11. You shall cross the barren desert,
    but you shall not die of thrist.
    You shall wander far in safety,
    though you do not know the way.
    You shall speak the words of foreign land,
    and they will understand.
    You shall see the face of God and live.
    Be not afraid
    I’d go before you always.
    Come follow me
    And I will give you rest.

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