Friday, January 19, 2007

Catie Marie


Catie Marie
September 26, 2002 - January 18, 2007

My heart is just sick at the loss this wonderful family has suffered. So many people, thousands and thousands of people, have been logging on to Catie’s site last night and today to leave words of encouragement, support, and condolence for her family. I feel luckier than most … we knew Catie personally. We consider her and her family to be our friends.

I have often wished that Jenny and I lived closer to one another because I think we could be really *good* friends. (Maybe Jenny hasn’t wished it, but I have!) Although younger than me, and not a mother as long, she is definitely the kind of mother I aspire to be. In the two and a half years we’ve known them, I have never, not once, seen her lose her patience with Catie or the terrible situation they found themselves in. Never raise her voice, never get frustrated. Never voice an unkind or ungracious thought. Catie was her universe, and anyone who watched them together for even a moment knew that. Those of you who have followed their journey via Caringbridge knew that. Jenny and Tre’ were so blessed to have Catie as their daughter. Catie was so blessed to have them as parents. And Heaven is truly blessed to have welcomed such a sweet angel through its gates late last night.

I wish I lived closer to Atlanta as Catie’s final hours drew near last night. So many of my cancer-mom friends were able to go to the hospital and be with Jenny and Tre’ and the rest of their family; to say good-bye to Catie, give one final kiss, to support them, and support one another at the end. I should have driven up yesterday afternoon, but to be honest, my heart still believed that Catie would pull through, as she’s fought back so many times. I wasn’t ready. I’m sure Jenny and Tre’ and the rest of Catie’s family weren't ready, either. … anywhere near ready.

As a Christian, I am comforted by the belief that Catie is standing tall and straight in Heaven today, running and skipping and jumping and playing as she was never able to here on Earth. I think she has hair long enough for bows, and lots of friends to play with. I hope Jenny is right, and lots of puppies, too.

I went back through Kendrie’s cancer scrapbook, looking for photos of Catie. In every photo I have, she and Kendrie are right next to one another. They got along so well, and I’m sorry that we weren’t able to get them together more often. Looking at these photos today brought back many happy memories for me, which is good, since smiling through tears is sometimes the only bearable way to cry.

The song that is playing now, I played on the site the first night Kendrie went off-treatment and went to bed without chemo. It’s called “A Final Dream” and is about a little girl and new beginnings. I think it’s perfect for Catie, as she began again today. It’s not the new beginning I wanted for her. Selfishly, I wanted Catie to have her transplant and then begin her new cancer-free life here on Earth, surrounded by her family and friends who love her so very much. Instead, it was time for her new beginning in Heaven, also surrounded by people who love her. But her family and friends left behind are hurting; please remember everyone in your thoughts and prayers.



This was July 2004, the first time we met Catie's family in person after communicating online. It was a Lighthouse family retreat in Florida, and our families were assigned to stay in the same condo. Kendrie and Catie hooked up fast and adored one another. They weren't really that close in age, Catie was almost two and Kendrie was almost five. But they really enjoyed one another. In this picture, they're laying on the floor watching tv together.




This was a month later, when the girls both had chemo appointments on the same day. We met up at the clinic and then went out for lunch afterwards. I think *I* enjoyed it as much as the little ones did. :)




A few months later, and there's even some hair growth for Kendrie at this point! Our families were having dinner after the Lighthouse Christmas party in Atlanta. (Catie was apparently having something with marinara sauce!) :)




Again, chemo appointments on the same day.




Jenny and Catie had been staying in the Ronald McDonald house in Atlanta while Catie finished up her treatment ... or at least what we all hoped would be the end. We had a clinic day, so we bought lunch and took it to the RM House to hang out.

In hindsight, that's what a lot of our time together seemed to be about ... just hanging out and making the most of a difficult time for both families. Chemo in Atlanta is much more endurable if you know you're having lunch or dinner with friends afterwards! But it's so much more than that, as the parents in this cancer world can attest .... it's getting to know these families and these beautiful children and coming to care about them so very much.

And at its most basic, the most simple part, is something every decent human being understands. Its recognizing a beautiful little girl and her wonderful family, and counting yourself lucky to consider them friends.

We will miss you, Catie.

41 comments:

Rachel Gore said...

Well said. I just have this lump in my throat that won't go away. I had been following Catie's journey for alomst two years...(along with yours). Julie Metz is a good friend of mine and that is how I heard of Kendrie and Catie. I feel so blessed today to have 3 healthy boys. Thank you for putting up those pictures. She is beautiful.

Amy Finkler said...

Thanks for doing such a wonderful tribute! I was following Catie's site even before I heard about Kendrie. I hate it when terrible things happen to such a wonderful family. I know you wish you could have been there, but like you, I think we all thought Catie would come out ok. It happened so fast,it is still almost unreal to me at this point. The pictures you posted are precious. You are so lucky to have been able to spend time with Catie and her family.

Kathryn Campbell said...

You have just written the most eloquent, poignant eulogy for a little girl who was obviously much loved. Thank you again for sharing your heart, and offering us a glimpse of your soul. May God's Peace surround you all.

Tobi said...

Beautiful, Kristie. Just beautiful.

Robin said...

Oh Kristie,
Jenny's, Tre's and your messages today have both broken and helped to begin mending my heart.
In the midst of such sadness and loss the three of you have found the ability to put into words the precious life that was Catie and the angelic spirit that is now Catie.
Your tribute has served to celebrate Catie and to comfort those of us who have followed your children's and families' journeys.
Thank you with deep and heartfelt appreciation.

Connie F-G said...

Thank you for sharing your precious memories and pictures with those of us who didn't know Catie.

You are an eloquent writer and shared such emotion. I'm sure her family will appreciate your beuatiful tribute.

I too was surpised when you shared that she was a sick as she was. Please don't beat yourself up about not going to Atlanta yesterday. You were thinking positive thoughts like so many of us.

Continued prayers and hugs to you, Kendrie and your whole family.

Cathy Morrisey said...

Wonderful words....said by a beautiful person....in tribute to a gorgeous, shining, blessed little girl.

Well done Kristie.

Fly Free Catie.

Natalie said...

My heart is breaking for them.

Sally Yost said...

That was perfect....your pictures are beautiful. I was just like you...I thought for sure she would be healed here on earth.

Deb and Jim 680 said...

Kristie, thank you for directing me to Catie's website and for leaving such a beautiful tribute to her today. I don't know them and I don't know you personally but I know what it is to be a mom of a child with cancer and my heart goes out to Catie's family, and to you, for your loss.

Jeri from Hawaii said...

Kristie, as always you seem to know just what to say. Your tribute to Catie and her family was wonderful and touching and the pictures made my heart smile.

Sarah said...

That was quite possibly the most beautitul tribute I have ever read.

I have been following Kendrie and Catie's journey since reading the journal of our friend Carter Martin. Thank you for letting us learn more about what your families have experienced.

Blessings to you.

Anonymous said...

A beautiful tribute to a beautiful family and a precious little girl. Thank you for sharing with us.

Amy from St. Pete said...

I've been visiting Caringbridge site for a few years and I've learned that you cancer mom's are a special breed. Each one of you has something special that's makes you shine.
Kristie you do such a beautiful job writing your blogs. Catie's tribute was touching and made me sad that I never met her. I look foward to the day I meet all these brave kids that have fought so hard and earned their angel wingds way too soon.
God Bless

kim said...

Oh Kristie, your family and Catie's family are so fortunate to have each other! I, too, am one that thought Catie would make it; I have followed her (silently) for so long and I just thought...well, maybe I just couldn't think of it any other way. I have always read Catie's Caringbridge page with such admiration for Jenny; I think the way you spoke of her comes through on Catie's site. And you? Even though we have not met and probably never will, I would be so happy if you allowed me to call you "friend" through your blog, and Kendrie's page before that. I have been so fortunate in that I have not had a child that had to battle this beast called cancer; I cannot imagine, as losing my husband to it was nightmare enough. But I can, and I do, empathize to all the kids, Moms and families out there. Thank you for giving us a place to come and say what is on our minds; sad, crying, mad, happy, laughing. Even sight unseen, this IS friendship, and I'm so glad that Catie's parents have yours!

Alice Larkin said...

I too have followed Catie's story as well as Kendrie, Jake Owen, Jacob, Stanton, and Emma Grace. Too many sweet angels now! Thank you Kristi for sharing your heart with us. Those of us who have lost our children understand and this club isn't one we would wish on anyone.

michele(nurse in ny) said...

I am so sorry. I have been following Catie's site too. She was a beautiful lttle girl. Prayers to her family and friends...

Elizabeth Spehr said...

I think this is one of the most beautiful posts you have written. Like you I truly thought Miss Catie would pull through... I guess I'm just a perpetual optimist... Thank you for sharing your pictures - I thought of them today at Catie's site....

TripleDee said...

Kristie-
Well done! Please print this and make sure Jenny gets a copy. You have an amazing way of communicating how we ALL feel about this precious family. God has given you a wonderful gift with words. Thank you for sharing.... we love you guys, too!

Marci Connell said...

Kriste,Thanks for doing a sweet walk down memory lane on precious Catie! She means alot to me and I have followed her and even bought her cookbook. Seems like lately the harsh reality of the "C" word is harsh and heartbreaking for too many families. I wish I lived closer too and as I have always said ENJOY TODAY LIKE THERE IS NO OTHER, so take the time to love, make a call and connect, and email someone saying you are thinking of them. Never let a moment pass in life...I will be keeping Tre and Jenny in my prayers as they have a long painful journey to endure but praying this baby will bring them both some much needed happiness! Love, Marci

Kristin Hicks said...

A beautiful tribute to a wonderful little girl and her loving parents. I'm am so saddened today by the loss of sweet Catie. I'm sorry for Jenny and Tre's loss, I'm sorry for your family's loss of a sweet friend.

It's just a sad, sad day.

Fly free, sweet Catie, fly free

Rena' Tovey said...

Oh Kristie, What a beautiful tribute to sweet Catie and her loving family. I know that Jenny and Tre will be pleased. Those pictures are priceless.

Sarah & Sophie said...

Kristie... yes, Kendrie's CB page is what led me to Catie's two years ago... I actually stopped checking in on her as often because I thought things were going so well. Imagine my surprise when I heard they were expecting and that Catie was sick again. I am one of the many who thought and prayed that Catie would pull through again.

But, God had a bigger and better plan for Miss Catie, one we can only dream that we will share with Catie and the other angels we have lost someday.

Your story of Catie is beautiful and one that I know Jenny and Tre' will cherish along with the many beautiful memories of their beautiful precious baby girl. Jenny's post today was eloquent and a tribute to her daughter. She invited all of us that were praying beside her last night into their family with her post. What an amazing family. One that will soon experience the bittersweet arrival of another little blessing. Only, this new little blessing will be born with special angel kisses adorning his/her spirit.

God Bless Catie Marie!

Sarah and Sophie
www.caringbridge.org/ky/babyclaudia

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your Catie stories. I am so heartbroken too and I didn't ever have the pleasure of knowing Catie - not on this earth anyway. Praying for all of Catie's family and for all of you guys who did have the privilege. Thanks for your beautiful words.

Anna said...

Thanks for the wonderful words about Catie and Jenny - those of us who know them know just how true they are. I was actually led to Kendrie's site through Catie's a couple of years ago and have prayed for your family many times. It's nice to know families who have been through this horror can be there for each other.

Erin said...

The tears are most certainly flowing Kristie. Usually I am hysterically laughing at your posts. Though I do not know any of you personally my heart goes out to all of you as if I've known you forever. I love the Kendrie and Catie pictures- how gorgeous both the girls are. I often sign your guestbooks (here & CB) as well as Catie's. I too never believed that this day would come-heaven definitely has a new beautiful puppy pal angel. God bless all of you.

Love from Long Island,
Erin Austin
Babylon,NY
Lilfishie98@aol.com

PS.. On a brighter note- I thought of you as I sat scrapbooking with my Diet Dr Pepper in hand and although the styrofoam cups weren't too far off I drank it in a glass with lots of ice.

Lynne said...

Dear Kristie - So many times I come to your site to laugh with you and feel encouraged. Tonight, I wish I could hug you, Jenny, Kendrie and all other family members who are feeling the extreme loss of Caity. She is a beautiful young girl, who sadly for us, has spent her time in the Earthly World. She is now one amazing young angel. I know this is such a tough place for all of you. Sometimes, maybe, that's the price for getting to know and loving such a precious spirit and her family? May God's comfort surround each of you! Love, Lynne

simplykristi said...

What a beautiful tribute!

Lisa said...

I follow several caringbridge sites - and when a little one passes away I put their page in a file marked 'Angels from Caringbridge' - that file is just growing and growing. So much pain for the little ones. Love and prayers for Catie and her family.

I'm sure I'm asking what we're all thinking about...how is Blaine?

Lisa said...

I follow several caringbridge sites - and when a little one passes away I put their page in a file marked 'Angels from Caringbridge' - that file is just growing and growing. So much pain for the little ones. Love and prayers for Catie and her family.

I'm sure I'm asking what we're all thinking about...how is Blaine?

Sherri in NC said...

Kristie,

That is a beautiful tribute to a beautiful little girl. I'm so sad about her passing, and my heart hurts for her family and everyone else that loved that precious little girl. I started following Caringbridge sites when a friend of mine's son was diagnosed with stomach cancer and I witnessed first hand the struggles they go through. You pray and pull for these children, rejoice when things go well, worry when they don't, but always pray they will be one of the lucky ones that survive and live happy lives. A lot of them do, I know, but some like Catie, leave here much too soon.

Pam Doughty said...

I'm thinking that, with your scrapbooking skills and all the wonderful pictures and tributes written by all the cancer moms, you could create an incredible scrapbook for Jenny and Tre'. Catie's new brother or sister would have a lovely way of getting to know Catie through the eyes of so many who loved her. And so, so many DID love her....

Jeanette said...

What a wonderful tribute...it reminds us never to take for granted that there will be a tomorrow or a "next time", there are no guarantees, cancer or no cancer, so we should love our children and families, laugh with them more, hug them more, because really all we have is today. People may pass away, but our love for them never dies...it's eternal. Excuse me while I hug my babies.

Rita B said...

I agree with the others that was a beautiful tribute. Your words come from your heart and it is clear you were touched by this little girl.

Catie Marie looks like an angel in that picture of her on the stairs in her white dress. That is one of the most beautiful pictures I have ever seen. Now she is a real angel, and among the most beautiful in Heaven.

Fly free precious child. You left your imprint on the world and you won't be forgotten.

judi mitchell said...

what a lovely, lovely tribute to a beautiful angel.....I have also followed Catie's journey for so long (probably found her from you :) and felt so sad when I heard of her passing. I do believe, as you do, that she is running around heaven, free of pain and happy. It sure doesn't seem fair, however, for her family to have to say goodbye...

julie said...

A beautiful tribute to a beautiful little girl. Thank you, Kristie.

Melissa Kurry said...

Thanks for the pictures. I remember some of them (they're so cute, how could you forget them?!). And I must thank you for mentioning Catie in your postings on Caringbridge, otherwise, I would've never come across her page. Catie and Kendrie look so cute together in those pics, like two peas in a pod. Catie will be missed terribly by so many people, friends, family, and those who knew her online. Thanks again.

Diane Pursinger said...

Kristi:
What a beautiful tribute! Your way with words, once again, is perfect.

Pioneer Woman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pioneer Woman said...

Shedding a tear for Catie's family. Your tribute was wonderful, as I almost felt I knew Catie by the time it was over.

Praying for peace and understanding for Catie's parents...

Anonymous said...

A beautiful post Kristie - truly fitting for such a beautiful little girl. It doesn't seem real at all, and I think you weren't alone in hoping and praying that Catie would pull through once more. Here's to long hair, ribbons, puppies and a happy, healthy Catie...