Today is a day to celebrate many things but also is a day that brings so many unhappy memories and change my life forever. Today my daughter Kenzi is 6. Today is another year that she is not here to celebrate with us. She cannot tell me where she wants her birthday party, she cannot tell me what kind of cake she wants, she cannot tell me what balloons she wants and I cannot sing her Happy Birthday and watch her blow out the candles and make her wish.
The last 6 years of my life have challenged me in every aspect of who I am, what I believe, how I feel and what I do. I can recall at any given time the moment I knew I had lost Kenzi but did not want to believe it. My Mom was driving me to see Dr. Sabin at Littleton Hospital on January 22, 2007 and Kenzi hadn’t been moving. I had done all I could to get her to move but she would not. As we drove, tears streamed down my face behind my sunglasses because I knew exactly what I would hear when I arrived at the doctor’s office. No amount of praying, no amount of wishing was going to change that. My heart began to break, the light in my eyes began to diminish and a part of me began to die. However it was not until I was laying on the ultrasound table, my belly exposed with gel and the ultrasound wand on it did I begin to realize that what I knew was true. I can still feel the pain of that moment, a moment when I was told my daughter was dead. The scream that came from the depths of my soul said “Nooooooooooooooo!” and I looked at the screen and saw my daughter, not moving with no heartbeat.
I have learned over the last 6 years that nothing can prepare a mother for the loss of their child. Nothing can prepare you to have your heart broken and I mean truly broken. I did not believe that a heart could truly break until that day. As I waited for Kenzi to come and Kyle to arrive at the hospital I was devastated. I knew that I had to make some decision but what I really wanted to do was die. I had no idea how I would recover from this pain, this darkness. I had no idea how I would or could leave the hospital room, the one and only place I would ever see, touch and hold my daughter.
As devastating as my loss has been on my life, I am thankful that Kenzi inspired me to give back in her memory. After months and months of heartache and pain, I knew that I had to live again. And my living did not mean forgetting about Kenzi, a mother never forgets a child – living or dead. I have been so blessed to find my true dream job where I am able to make a difference in the lives of children each and every year and see the smiles on their faces since I am unable to see Kenzi’s smile.
In the last 6 years I have met some amazing women who have experienced the loss of their own child. These women have helped me heal, helped me find my way. So today as I celebrate Kenzi’s 6th birthday I would like to thank these women who have walked with me in some way along my journey and have been a part of my life some way and some how in the last six years. Without all of you, I am not sure where I would be today! Much love – Brandi, Maura, Robin, SuzAnne, Corinne, Jill, Stephanie, Jen, Tiffany and Michelle. Thank you to the countless other women who have supported me and my family during this loss from my family to my friends to complete strangers. I will never heal from my loss, I can only continue to hope and grow and find the strength and courage to honor Kenzi in the best way I know how.
As much as today brings me to my knees in pain and grief, I know there are three little people in my life who feel their own pain since their sister is not here. My beautiful daughter Bailey who someday will understand the joy of motherhood but I pray will never know the pain of loss. Bailey still remembers me telling her that her sister was not coming home and that she has died. I know how deeply Bailey longs to have a sister here that she can play with and share secrets with.
Kamden who will be 5 on Valentine’s Day also talks about his big sister. He is so thoughtful and caring that he recently asked me what Kenzi’s favorite color was because he wanted to send her a balloon that color. It was so hard to choke back the tears as he spoke from his heart. He too misses his sister and often talks about how he wishes she was here to play with.
Karson at the tender age of 3 knows that Kenzi is in heaven and he too wishes she was here. He has yet to experience the toy shop and see the difference his big sister is helping make but I can only imagine how he will talk about her when he is older. He tells us he misses her and has a tear in his eye as he does.
Each year our family dedicates Mass at our church to Kenzi. This year all of us will attend Mass, we will send Kenzi balloons with messages and we will celebrate her. Last year as a way to celebrate her 5th birthday I created the Give 5! Campaign. This was designed to inspire people to give $5 during the week of Kenzi’s birthday and to realize that their donation will make a difference in the live of a child. Last year my goal was to raise $500 we did more than that and raised $2,225. What an amazing way to celebrate Kenzi’s birthday.
So this year I have decided to continue with the Give 5! Campaign. Please consider making a $5 donation to Dolls for Daughters® and Kenzi’s Kidz. It would be wonderful to be able to match the $2,225 we raised last year. The money raised will help fund our annual toy shop in December where we will provide holiday assistance to 3200 children. You can donate online: https://kenziscauses.org/donate/donate-money or you can mail a check to: Dolls for Daughters® 4500 Cherry Creek South Drive
Denver, CO 80246
Make a difference and impact the life of a child. If we were to raise $3,200 we would be able to ensure that each child has at least one stocking stuffer at our annual toy shop.
Happy Birthday Kenzi! I hope you know the difference you have made in my life and how very much I love and miss you.