Two years ago today our Kai Kai went home. The memories of March 2014 have been continuously swirling through my mind these few weeks more present and intense than other days.

As my heart processes these memories I seem to only see those moments I wish I could have been there more for him. There is one moment when we were transferring him from PICU up to the floor where he would pass away and he was trying to respond – we told him look Kai, the sun is out, and I remember he tried to look towards it. We saw him move and turn towards it, but he couldn’t open his eyes, he couldn’t wake up all the way. I wish I had thought in that moment to tell him I loved him. Maybe I did, but I don’t think I did. I was just trying to see if he could wake up, or understand what was happening to him. I know that I never, ever could have loved him perfectly and that I would always make mistakes, but it is hard knowing that I fell short so many times — I remember saying, I will make this up to him. But, I didn’t get that chance.

In my moments of disbelief I often turn to the pictures I have of Kai Kai and to the videos so I can hear his voice. I came across this series of pictures below. I saw it just as I was thinking to myself how do we keep running this race when it feels like each day our hearts truly can’t do another lap? We all have dreams and sometimes those dreams don’t turn out the way we had hoped. We wonder, what does this mean? What do I do now?

It isn’t the end. I believe we’re called and are given the strength to still live a life of true joy and purpose even if it is bittersweet. This life isn’t about getting everything we want, and I’m learning about what it means to accept and live with the impact of this loss while trying to learn how to keep a wounded heart still open to the possibilities of what this path may bring. I can’t change the past and rewrite this story, but I am praying and hoping that this suffering can be used for good.

As you’ll see below, in all of these pictures Maya is crying like crazy – Maya had that tendency a lot in her first few months. I think we all have that part of us inside that we wish we could just cry and scream like that every day so people would know that we hurt, we are angry, we are sad, and this isn’t what we want. And then you’ll see Kai, he starts out stink face and ends in joy and I think that pretty much sums up how maybe some of us feel when all we want to do is cry until we get what we want but we realize that this isn’t how this life works. We must work through this and accept it, and we will eventually get there – and we don’t have to do it alone. God truly gives rest to the weary and provides community for each of us to take turns lifting each other up and leaning on each other in times of need.

Kai Kai we miss you more than we can ever express and we love you more each day. The sun was so bright today and I hope you saw your little sis drawing her “game” for you with the many colors of chalk. Love you Kai monkey. Love you forever

The Stink Face. It’s ok, we all have one from time to time.
Sometimes you just have to laugh amidst the crazy.
Proud brother.
We all need a little love.

10 Comments on Living with ups and downs

  1. Very well said Aki! Love that you write these posts and share with the world what your heart feels. You say it in such a special way that it touches all of us! Just like Kai and all the Slockers family does! Thank you for sharing! I love all of you! Shawn, Aki, Kai, and Maya!! ☀️?

  2. Kai KNEW how he loved he was by the two of you. There wasn’t a second that went by that it wasn’t obvious to him and I know you told him that over and over in those last days. It’s so easy to believe the lies of “if we had said this” or “if we had done that” but just know what amazing parents you were and are.

    You handle your days with so much grace. Your attitude is inspiring. Your story, despite how difficult, is impacting others in more ways than you will ever know. I am so glad the sun was shining bright ALL day and every day. LOVE wins

  3. I always look forward to reading what you write Aki. You have always had a gift. As Spring brings new life, I hope it brings new peace for you and Shawn. Kai is in a wonderful place full of love.

  4. Beautifully expressed. I imagine Kai in heaven beaming down at you with a beautiful glow, standing with Jesus at his side. One day you may be called to comfort someone going through a similar experience. Having lived with such a profound loss, you will be able to respond in a way that others can try to understand but truly can’t. I’ve been thinking of you, knowing this is a difficult time. You have my tears & prayers.

  5. My heart has been aching with and for you all day. I’ve turned those tears to prayers. I pray you know God loves you even if he hasn’t said it lately, at least in your hearing. Just like you love Kai.

    I want to echo what Caroline said. Kai knew. But even more, you said it. And he heard it. While I was going through my heart attack, Dee Dee was with me. It was so strange how aware I was even though I was in pain and had my eyes closed. Dee Dee was very caught up in taking care of me and making sure everything was okay. I could feel her there always. She has told me she wished she would have done this or that, said, I love you. But there was so much going on and so many people bustling around. Still I felt as if she did say it. She may not have used words. But I heard it.

    So did Kai. God’s grace to you.

  6. You are such a special lady Aki. I so wish I had gotten to meet that beautiful little boy. I can tell he was so very special and full of life and love. I would love to see you and meet your husband and Little girl. I would love to hug your mom’s neck too! Love to all, Miss Tammy

  7. What a beautiful post, Aki-so true and inspiring as always. I absolutely feel like Kai knew that he was so loved-by you and Shawn most of all. Thinking of him with you all today and everyday. Praying for God’s love and warmth and strong arms around you as you walk.

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