Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Today marks the big day that changed our world...

You might think that since this blog is about Marina (mostly) that today's post would be about her...and in a way it ends up there. But today is March 8th. And three years ago at 5:16 in the afternoon, Caylyn left. I think if the calendar was out of my sight I would still be able to tell you that today is different. The scar tears open alot on this day, every year so far. Because it still hurts so deeply in my heart for me not to be able to hold that little hand and look into her golden flecked eyes that always danced when she caught me looking at her with I love you in my eyes. In no short order, Caylyn changed the world. Not just my world. But alot of worlds around us...This is my nephew's college application summary on why he wants to go to Wofford to study pre-med. I had no idea how much his world had been changed.

"I didn’t expect to get this call. Not so soon. Caylyn had been sick for a while now, but it didn’t seem like this could be happening. She was
barely old enough to be in the first grade, let alone to be in a hospital bed, fighting with a respirator for every breath she took. I was
fourteen at the time, carefree and innocent, and wasn’t completely sure I was actually witnessing what I was witnessing. I had been at a
sleepover with a few of my friends the previous night, but then I got the call. It was seven o’clock and I wasn’t fully awake until I heard the
words, “Caylyn” and “come now.” I rushed over, pants halfway on, shirt wadded in hand, and I could feel the tension in the car on the way
to the hospital. “Caylyn’s special, you know that,” Mom kept repeating to me and my younger brother. I didn’t really know what was so
different about her. I didn’t think she was that different. Sure, she may have slurred her words, she may not have been able to verbalize
what she was thinking, and she had Down’s syndrome, but I didn’t think that made her different from any of the rest of my cousins. I didn’t
see her as a child with a disability, I saw her as family, as someone I would look after and help in whatever way I could.
The leukemia had obviously begun to win its battle with Caylyn. She began to lose her hair with the chemotherapy, and she gained a lot of
weight and retained a lot of water. I spent every spare moment with her I could—playing the games we used to play, putting on my “happy
face” to make her giggle. I guess I just didn’t understand the severity of the situation, because on that day, on the way to the hospital, Mom
seemed to think it was Caylyn’s last. Standing in a room with about ten of my family members, everyone was praying and begging for
healing for this precious baby girl. Caylyn’s dad, Uncle Tully, seemed not to care that I saw him cry for the first time. This was his
princess, his first born.
We huddled around her bed, wondering which minute would be the minute, and then we watched her go. Peace in her eyes, love in our
hearts, we stood by and allowed the doctor to turn off the respirator. That was the hardest thing I ever had to do—I almost threw myself
onto the machine, taking it upon myself to plug it back in and bring my baby cousin back to life. But there wouldn’t be any more games.
There wouldn’t be any more birthdays, more Christmases, with the child I knew as my friend.
I could barely sit through her “Celebration of Life” service. Yes, I know she’s in a better place, but at the time I couldn’t think of any place
better than right beside me. I can’t wait to see her again—to hold her in my arms, to hear her little voice, to see her as a true princess,
crown and everything, in front of a glorious king. But until that day comes, I’ll wait, educate anyone who asks about her life, and search for
a cure for her cause of death."

My sister in law went back to school and graduated on a different path than her original direction as well. She is in research for similar discoveries of a cure.

My mother in law works as an aid to SN children in school and home, making sure the parents have resources to better the world for their own children.

I have gotten so many emails over the years that we have had the privilege of being Caylyn's front line parents...that Cay made a difference to someone or some decision that someone was facing. I am pretty sure my mom has not gotten that many letters about me (that were positive about my impact on the world). Cay was and is a remarkable child...
she loved like Jesus, never cared about her hair, and skipped across the waters of heaven, leaving death with its mouth open. It may have taken her from me, but it released her into a freedom that she will never be burdened with this life again. You can't beat that for a long term sense of the way life should be. She is so close to the original Eden now I just know it. But I miss her very much. Today is hard. Because she loved like Jesus...and that is why Marina lives here. Because you can't watch someone love like Jesus, and not be affected in a life changing way. But I know in my heart that she is only a breath away, just a thin veil hangs between me and her, and it was made possible because Jesus is real and did exactly what He set out to do...not to condemn us but to bring us life abundant and set us free. Our life on earth is a battle ground, but life in heaven, well that is an entirely different playing field. And I know that I know that I know, it is real. Not out of a sense of desperation, but a sense of knowing that can't be disputed. And that has changed my life both here, and there. I am thankful God thought so highly of us to place her in our care. I Love you always, my first born. Mom


  1. Absolutely Beautiful!!!! GOD BLESS YOU!!!!!

  2. Oh, Cathy.....

    I have few words, but lots of tears after reading this beautiful message. Such a blessing as Caylyn was - and continues to be - is such a rarity in this world, yet the blessing that is Marina continues...Caylyn's blessing; Marina's blessing: they are inextricably linked, sisters in every way, yet individuals, each demonstrating the width and variation of God's love for all of His children...and conveying that love through their presence and memory...

    love and hugs to all of you...

    Susan in Ky

  3. I thank God everyday for making our paths meet. I loved our chats and hearing your stories of your sweet Caylyn. Because of Caylyn you have Marina, and because of Caylyn and Marina, I have you as my friend. I can't wait to meet her someday. I love you and am praying special prayers for you today.

  4. Beautiful post my friend. The tears are flowing. Lots of love to you :)

  5. What a beautiful post about your daughter! So glad to have met your family and sending love and hugs to you all!!

  6. Beautiful, Cathy. I love the picture. So sweet! I know how hard this day and those surrounding it are. The raw pain does ago away over time, but there will always be the heartache times. I know how you miss her. I like to think she is "up there" making new friends and just maybe through our friendship our dear little girls have found each other. Special hugs to you and your family from one bereaved parent to another.

  7. We love you, Cass. Cay continues to be an inspiration to those of us who were fortunate enough to know her and the people who we share her story with.

  8. What a beautiful post. Caylen sounds like a great daughter. She is so gorgeous in that photo.

    Sad you had to go through such a lose but happy that the outcome saved Marina.