Support For Christi Thomas

This blog is to help offer support to the Thomas Family and their daughter, Christi, in her battle against cancer. Please visit Christi's website at to learn more. There, you'll find journals, photos and a lots of other information about this amazing child and her family.

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Saturday, January 27, 2007

Back to PHL

Here is a picture of Baby Christi (about 9 months old) with the former NEA President Bob Chase, winter 1998. Although Christi didn't want to be a teacher, she delighted in being around them!

Shayla and I arrived at PHL and I was doing great.....until we walked off the plane and I saw we were exactly at the same gate where I sent Shayla off on 9/11 as an unaccompanied minor to head back home where she wanted to check on her bunny during what turned out to be Christi's final days. The night before she said her goodbyes to Christi and she was there was the Priest gave Christi her last rites, even though I do not believe either child really knew what was going on and why Shayne called for the priest. Just like the morning of 9/11 - four months ago, at that very same gate, tears poured down my cheeks over the emotions of it all! Shayla looked at me, puzzled and said, "What's wrong?" I explained.

After a restroom stop we continued walking through the airport as I walked past each and every restaurant, stand and store - I felt like I had a great "Christi Memory" at every one of them and it made me sad remember the french fries we split at the restaurant, the Nick magazine I bought for her and of course where all of the electrical outlets were since my computer didn't have a battery! We spent so much time in the PHL airport over the years - waiting for flights, being delayed, trying to get on an earlier flight, etc. Shayla said, "What's wrong now?" I explained that every time Christi and I flew to Philly we flew in with HOPE - hope that she'd be cured, hope that there would be a new treatment, hope that her life would be extended, hope that our lives would get better. Now the only hope I have is hoping that the way I live my life will get me to Heaven. She said, "I'll pull the suitcase for you mom." What a sweetheart!

Soon she asked, "How are you doing now?" I said, "I think ok, but I'm not certain how I'm going to react once I see Mr. Grant. He loved Christi like one of his own daughters and absolutely bent overbackwards to help us out whenever we were in Philly. I don't think he ever picked me up at the airport without Christi and I just wish she were here too and I wonder how hard it's going to be for Mr. Grant to see me and not to see Christi too." Poor Shayla! I'm certain she couldn't wait until Mr. Grant dropped me off in Wilmington and she could get away from her teary, crazy mom for the weekend!! (By the way she IS having a ball with the Grants!!!)

The conference has been great! Getting together with super teachers I don't see often enough is always energizing!! Last night I hugged and told the NEA President, Reg Weaver, "I've heard many of your speeches over the years, but I don't think you've ever delivered a better one." He's so inspiring and energizing! I also had to reflect upon how little Christi - our wonder girl, addressed the NEA Board of Directors in Washington DC at the age of 7 in 2004. (PHOTO: Christi with President of the 3.2 million member NEA Reg Weaver and the awesome Secretary Treasurer - Lilly, after she spoke to the hundreds of people!) After Christi's death, we received a very personal card from all 9 Officers of the NEA - so sweet!

Last night another Ohio teacher came up to me and said something like, "I always wanted to tell you that I knew exactly what you were going through, but I never wanted you to give up hope so I didn't tell you. Our son died of cancer thirteen years ago this week." I was shocked that I didn't know. Needless to say, we had a long conversation late last night.

Photo Funny: We haven't had enough snow to make a snowman so Shayne and Shayla told me they were heading out to make "snow mice". They did and then they ventured to make little snowmen to represent our family - they made three. Shayne took this photo in a way to try to make it look like they made a HUGE snowman, with our little dusting of snow. Shayla thought the picture was a riot!!


At 27/1/07 7:33 PM, Blogger HeatherB said...

Oh Angela- My tears are flowing tonight as I read your journal entry. I'm so sorry that you had to fly into PHL without Christi.

I'm glad you are enjoying your confernence and that you had a chance to talk with another Angel Mom who knows what you are going through. Please extend my sympathies to her on the passing of her son. (Have to look out for "my" Ohio teachers you know!)

Lots of love and loads of prayers,

At 27/1/07 8:09 PM, Blogger Tawny said...

Beautiful baby Christi! She always wore the cutest outfits as a baby. I'm so sorry to hear how hard that was for you. Shayla did a great job being such a strong girl in helping you through the tears. My heart aches at the fact that Christi should physically be there with you. FUNB! I'm glad to hear you and Shayla are both having a great time, you certainily deserve to. Stay Strong!

P.S-The picture of Christi after she spoke to hundreds of people reminds me of something I wanted to tell you about. A family friend of ours lost their father last week from a heart attack. Their 6 1/2 year old son spoke at the funeral infront of many, many people about how much his grandpa meant to him and said he'll always be in his heart. He also said that his grandpa was a great man and spoke of a few special memories he had with him that he'll never forget. Children are so amazing!

“Life gives us brief moments with another . . . but sometimes in those brief moments we get memories that last a life time...”
Author Unknown

At 27/1/07 9:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Each time I come here, which is quite often, I am inspired to do something more with the talents and gifts with which I have been blessed.

Through your words, you have the power to brighten this world.

My heart goes out to you for your loss, and I admire your willingness to share your thoughts, memories, and grief.

Prayers for peace!

At 27/1/07 9:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hope your enjoying the conference!! I was searching for some primary grade conferences to attend in my area - so far no such luck! I love the snowman picture - sooooo funny!!! I hope you are all having a terrific time despite all the memories. Always thinking of the Thomas team!!!

Love, Erin

At 27/1/07 11:37 PM, Blogger Caitlin said...

We're so glad the conference has been a success! It sounds great and I'm so glad you found someone to share experiences and relate with there, unfortunately under those circumstances. Shayla is such a sweet girl and I'm sure she is of great help getting through each day. We're keeping you close in our thoughts!

At 28/1/07 1:45 PM, Blogger Esther said...

Thank you for sharing the poems and your stories. Those little girls have done Christi proud!
Shayla - Keep pulling mum's suitcase (your doing very well x)

At 28/1/07 2:32 PM, Blogger Allie said...

Hah! That picture w/ of the snow mouse is tooooooo cute! Shayne did a great job giving it "forced perspective"!! it really does look big! Too cute :)!

At 28/1/07 7:54 PM, Blogger Danielle B said...

I LOVE that picture of Shayla's huge snowman! How funny and creative!

Sending love and warm wishes your way!

At 28/1/07 9:55 PM, Blogger MommyJaden said...

Angela, Shayne and Shaya ... just stopping in to let you all know I am thinking of you all and praying for your safe return from PHL. You amazing Christi is always on my mind ...

Love from my family to yours!

Rebekah Clark
Prior Lake, MN

At 29/1/07 8:02 PM, Blogger Brigid and Celie said...

We bet that your beautiful angel Christi is now Miss Heaven!

Hope you made it home safely!

Brigid and Celie

We love the snowman!!


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