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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Thursday, January 25, 2007

God Made Us Sisters, We Made Us Friends

Forever Sisters - Shayla & Christi Thomas

I hope any bloggers still out there enjoyed the poems and the pics of those four amazing young ladies! Although I was very hesitant to ask, a few days before Christi’s death, I emailed their mothers and asked if they’d ask their daughters to pick out a poem to read at the funeral – if they wanted to and if they thought they could do it. I am still amazed at how composed, sweet and beautiful they were reading the poems inside a packed church filled with hundreds. Kids are incredible! I thoroughly enjoyed reviewing all of our old “Christi pics” and searching for the best ones to share. Some days it seems all I want to do is to sit around and look at Christi’s pictures. I don’t know why that gives me so much comfort, but it really does. Many told us we'd be "numb" for months and then months 4-7 would be the worst hell to endure as you come to realize that your precious child really is gone. That is been true. It really hit us harder than ever before this past week.

Hopefully, my next “series” of blog entries will be announcing how some of the Christi Thomas Memorial Funds will be utilized. We’ve established a committee and have had to do a lot of “checking” with others to get the “big things” all lined up so, so I apologize for the delay in making the announcement, but we really hope to do that very, very soon. We think Christi will be very impressed and very pleased! It has given us something to be excited about!

Speaking of our new k-12 school set to open next year, one day last week Shayla said that they all signed a beam and that she wished Christi were alive to sign the beam too. I asked her if she’d like to sign Christi’s name if we got permission and she said, “Oh, mommy, yes!!” Then she poured out, “I know how to write Christi’s name and I almost wrote her name instead of mine, but my teacher said we couldn’t write in cursive and I only know how to write Christi’s name in cursive because I never saw her write her name any other way and then I knew if I did that I would get in trouble so I just printed my name instead.” Whoa! Talk about nearly knocking the old mom over! I knew in the morning, it would be the fourth month anniversary of Christi’s death and it would be an emotional one, but we’d be finding out if she could sign Christi’s name too. I learned that the answer was “CERTAINLY” and I also learned that this beam will be visible - most likely in a cafeteria setting. Shayla signed Christi’s first name and I wrote her last name. All three of our names are together.

Proud little sissy, Shayla, ready to write her big sissy's name(in cursive, no less). Go, Shayla!

In Action!
The finished product - all three Thomas girls together! Christi would love it!

Our new school was so very, very exciting to Christi. I’ll never forget the night the levy passed. I came home late, having been at the Board of Elections with two other teachers and then when I heard the final numbers later I actually woke Christi up to tell her. She soon ran down the hall to our bedroom and hopped on the bed with us. I said, “Oh, Christi, I know you’re more exciting than that. You can JUMP ON OUR BED!” She said, “Really? I’m not allowed to jump on the bed.” I said, “Christi, never in our life are we ever going to move out of three old school buildings into one brand new school building and all get to go to school together! JUMP ON OUR BED!” Oh, she giggled and giggled! Tremendous memories! I wonder if the fact that they’re six weeks ahead of schedule on the building project has anything to do with a special Angel overseeing the project?! Hee hee.

Shayla’s vision therapy continues to go very well. I won’t say she enjoys doing six days of eye exercises and training with me and one long afternoon/evening spent in Toledo, but she’s making incredible progress! In reading, she’s advanced three levels (Fontaus and Pinnell for any reading teachers out there.) and is now reading at grade level!! Additionally, her grade card came home on Friday and all of her grades went up one or two full letter grades. PRAISE THE LORD! I know the first nine weeks was a tough one with losing her only sibling and best playmate and having missed nearly three weeks of school, but this second nine week grade card only contained As and Bs and her teacher thinks she’s going to continue moving up. We have about three more (long) months of this intensive treatment for her eye function, but this at least motivates us to “keep on keeping on” because it appears to be working! I’ll forever be thankful for that quick trip we took to San Francisco. Little did we ever expect Shayla’s reading problem would be diagnosed while being babysat by the sweetest of Professors who teaches and is a presenter of gifted and talented education.
With the wonderful Dr. Z - Shayla's Vision Therapy Doctor
Working hard with a vision therapist - training those eyes to work together properly
With another of her vision therapists.
Without a doubt, she would still be struggling and falling behind in school if we would not have made that trip. All of the testing efforts that had been conducted on her last year were unfruitful in diagnosing the problem. I keep shaking my head saying, “I’m a reading teacher. Why don’t teachers know about this? I have the state’s reading endorsement and am six credit hours away from the Literacy Specialist Endorsement. My husband has paid for so many reading classes and I never heard about this before.” Shayla’s vision doctor keeps saying, “This is what you need to do your dissertation on,” and “I send stuff out to schools all the time.” I have been amazed at all I’m learning about it! (Seven out of ten juvenile delinquents have undetected eye problems. Amazing!) Regardless, thanks to Robin to telling us about Shayla’s situation! We praise Him!

Every day we worry about Shayla and wonder how she’s really coping. We know she misses Christi dearly and is lonely much of the time. Our girls played non-stop together and to suddenly have that cut out of your life is a shocking change. On the night of the fourth anniversary of Christi’s death, we walked around the Tiffin Mall and had fun that night sampling lotions at Bath and Body and buying Shayla a ring at Claires. At home, she was a child we had not seen in months! She was trying out dance moves for me having me give her a number score with each series. She was making up commercials trying to sell us products with her jingles. It was like the old Shayla was back. Shayne and I just kept giving each other the look of “What is going on?” “What happened that she’s so happy?” Later, when I told her that we needed to settle down now because it was close to bed time she said to me, “I didn’t know I could have fun without Christi.” It took my breath away, but I somehow managed to say, “I’m glad because I know Christi would want you and everyone to have fun without her and who knows maybe she was floating around the room playing with us tonight too. I believe she’s always with us.” We haven't seen her that happy since then, but hopefully more good days will be in the near future! This week she was sent home from school with an eye infection. Now she's been in the great care of the wonderful Aunt V and Grandma Nee Nee. Tomorrow morning, Shayla and I will fly to Philadelphia where the wonderful Mr. Grant will be picking us up at the airport, driving me down to Wilmington for another teachers' meeting and taking Shayla to their home for the weekend. I'm going to be VERY hard to see Mr. Grant waiting for us at the airport.

PIC: June 2006 FUN AT CHOP with the GrantsI don't even want to think about the number of times he picked up Christi & I and drove us to the Ronald House or to CHOP. I do know however, Shayla will have a great time with his precious girls over the weekend. Those beautiful princesses provided Christi with more joy than they'll EVER know! Although I liked to tease them that they'd get the day off of school for silly reasons, it was very humbling to always accept their offer to come to CHOP to entertain Christi. There's nothing like "same age playmates" to bring joy to one stuck in the hospital! Christi would laugh and play with the girls for hours while I always delighted in catching up with their beautiful mother!

Christi & Shayla's first meeting (Shayla's birthday: Feb. 12, 1999) OK, Christi was more intersted in the book, but.....I guess that doesn't surprise anyone!
Disneyland (California - 2001)
Christi asked me to take a picture of her fruit chews, ugh - gross! (2001)
Planting Flowers on Mother's Day (2001) CT 4, Shayla 2

Backyard Artists!
An Old Time Favorite Picture: On the lawn of COSI, at the Arts Festival in Columbus, Shayla (1) shares her ice cream with Christi (3).

Christi & Shayla - 2000


At 25/1/07 4:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your beautiful family with all of us. I check on Christie's website each and every day. I came across her website from another caringbridge website. It is evident how special of a little girl she was, and I truly believe she is an angel in heaven watching over all of you.

At 25/1/07 5:05 PM, Blogger Anna said...

Hey you used my montage at the top :) Glad you like it. It helped me deal with those first hard days after Christi's passing.

So glad Shayla's vision is improving as well as her grades. I know you can use this experience to help with your teaching and pass it on to other teachers as well.

I hope and pray as the days go by that Shayla's sparkle comes back more and more. She's such a precious thing and doesn't deserve all that the world has thrown at her. My prayers that you and Shayne can cope through this awful time.


At 25/1/07 5:33 PM, Blogger mary s-s said...

I'm still here reading your blog daily. I rarely post a comment, but I cherish your hearttwarming and personal entries. The pictures of Christi and Shayla are so precious it made me cry just to see them. I have two girls also and can't imagine if they had to be apart. They are 2 and 4. I can't imagine the heartache you're going through now. God bless.

At 25/1/07 5:37 PM, Blogger mary s-s said...

I'm still here reading your blog daily. I rarely post, but I cherish your touching, personal and heartwarming stories and pictures. I loved the "sister" pictures of the girls...priceless...and sad. They made me cry as I also have two girls that are two years apart. I can't even begin to imagine how hard this is for all of you.

God Bless. Mary S-S

At 25/1/07 6:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow Shayla! That DOES look like Christi's handwriting! I am so proud of your grades too! You go girl!! Awesome!!

All of these pictures of the girls are so precious. Sisters forever indeed. I am so happy to hear about Shayla's awesome evening. I know Christi was right there with her playing along.

Love you guys!!

At 25/1/07 6:45 PM, Blogger Cindy said...

Such sweet stories you always have to share, Angela, and we always enjoy reading them. I was wondering if sometime you would go into more information about the eye problem and therapy Shayla is doing. I'm so glad it's working for her. As a parent of 3 with "learning differences," I'm always looking for anything we might have overlooked that will help them - or perhaps pass the information along to other parents of children who are struggling with reading. If it's not too personal, could you share more information?

At 25/1/07 7:14 PM, Blogger Kait said...


I just want to thank you so much for continuing to blog and share your life with us! What beautiful pictures of such beautiful girls! I am so happy Shayla's reading has improved. I hope she knows that Christi will always be in her heart! I cannot wait to hear how ‘Christi’s Fund’ will be used. Was it my imagination or did you say something about having some Christi jewelry to sell for the foundation?

All my love

At 25/1/07 7:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the beam ...that is really amazing!!! I am also glad that the school let you all sign it...even Christi!!! Angela (and Shayla's vision therapists), Thank you for educating me about the vision and reading correlation as a Special Education teacher and a Literacy Graduate Student I will pass on this very important information to all that I come in contact. I love all the new photographs too. . so sweet!

Lots of Long Island Love,

At 25/1/07 7:52 PM, Blogger candytrees said...

I check in everyday to see how the Thomas team is doing. I really enjoy the pictures, Christi led a full, much too short life. It is so nice to see the happy times. I hope Shayla learns to have fun as much as possible, as I believe her sister is never too far away encouraging her. Shayla is very special, to have endured what she has. Shayla, keep dancing, as we know Christi is dancing in heaven.

At 25/1/07 9:32 PM, Blogger denise said...

Dearest Thomas Team, Your courage and strength continue to amaze me. Your daughters are beautiful. I am glad you have so many pictures to cherish and share with us. Thankyou. I am sure Christi will be proud of her memorial. As will the people who will be blessed by it. God Bless all of you. You continue in my prayers. Sincerely, Denise Brooks

At 25/1/07 10:14 PM, Blogger Brigid and Celie said...

What beautiful pictures!
Have a safe trip, Thomas Team!
We love you!

Brigid and Celie

At 25/1/07 10:19 PM, Blogger Tawny said...

You can tell by all the pictures of the amazing sisters together that Shayla has always admired Christi & that Christi has always looked out for her little sister. Their pictures together are so precious and beautiful! They certainly looked like not only close sisters but best friends. Shayla and your combined writing of Christi's name looks great! I love seeing all three of your names together. Congrats Shayla! I'm so glad to hear about your great improvements and your awesome grades! I'm so happy that her eye treatment is working so well.

I definitely enjoyed getting to read the amazing poems and see the sweet pictures. It brings smiles to my face and comforts my heart seeing all the pictures and reading about angel Christi's precious life. We're all forever thankful for you continuing to share more and more with us! I know you all need our words of support more now than ever as it becomes more "real" that she's not physically here. I pray that Christi will show many signs that she's always with you as you need the comfort from your amazing angel.

Shayla feeding Christi her icecream is so precious! I can see why it's an old time favorite. I love seeing all the really young pictures of the two of them together. They were too cute for words! *Stay Strong!*

P.S-I wanted to share with you a cute little story from work today. I work with 2 1/2 to 3 year olds in the afternoon. This happened during their lunch today. Last week one of the little boys broke his leg (poor little guy!) and today he came to visit so the other children could see how he's doing. One of the other little boys went up to him and his mom and said "His leg's not broken, it's still there!" The joy of 2-3 year olds!

At 25/1/07 10:45 PM, Blogger Allie said...

Thankyou for sharing all those poems the girls read at the funeral! I looked forward to each one as they came!! Thankyou Angela too for the constant updates! It's good to hear how you and your family are all doing! I still check this site daily ;)!

At 25/1/07 11:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you have two truly precious daughters, and I am very sorry for your loss of Christi, I feel very flattered as well tho that you put up one of the collage's I made of Christi and Shayla in this blog entry =), I hope things continue to go better for Shayla with her vision therapy and her school grades, you are all im my thoughts and prayers.

~ Tannerz

At 26/1/07 12:12 AM, Blogger Chrissy B said...


About the poems, I loved every single one of them. They were absolutely amazing and I can't believe the 3 girls read those in front of a church full of people. I can't wait to hear the plans for the memorial fund I can't wait to hear the plans I know in my heat they will be great no matter what it is. Christi would love anything you did with it. I also wanted to let you know that I love coming to Christi's page to read your blog's, when you write things it makes me feel like I am right there with you and I am apart of your entire family. Please know I still think of Christi every day and say to myself I wonder what shes doing today????

I glad to see that your eye exercises are paying off. I know thye can sometimes be boring but keep up the good work. And yes you can have that much fun even without your best friend being here on earth. I agree with your Mom when she said that jsut becasue she is not here on earth does not maen she is not playing with you in spirit.

Lots of Love,

At 26/1/07 6:16 AM, Blogger Spring said...

Precious pics! Love you and praying.


At 26/1/07 7:33 AM, Blogger Kim said...

The pictures of your two beautiful daughters together are just so precious! I'm glad that Shayla is doing so well with her therapy and congrats on the great report card!! Woohoo! And I'm glad that she knows that she CAN feel happy and have fun without Christi being physically present.

There is a speical angel watching over you all indeed!

With love and prayers -


At 26/1/07 7:36 AM, Blogger Cammie said...

Im so glad you were able to have some fun happy moments Shayla...I wish you many more to come in the upcoming years! Thank you again Thomas's for continuing to allow us into your beautiful family.

At 26/1/07 9:12 AM, Blogger HeatherB said...

What precious pictures of precious sisters.

I'm so glad that sweet Shayla had an enjoyable evening, and I'm praying for many, many more good days to follow.

Shayla- You did a great job signing the beam and I know Christi is proud of you! And WAY TO GO on your grades and working hard at vision therapy, that has to be hard work.

Angela- What a great Mom to allow Christi to jump on your bed in excitement. You are the best Mom Christi and Shayla could ever wish for.

May God continue to hold you all in His loving arms.

Lots of love and tons of prayers,

At 26/1/07 11:55 AM, Blogger shirley said...

That's a beautiful collage of sister pics. I couldn't help but smile at seeing your beatiful girls enjoying so many happy moments together. May all your precious memories give you comfort while knowing nothing can ever really take away the pain.

It's so great to hear the leaps in progress Shayla is making. I pray for her strength and comfort on a daily basis. She's been through so much, you all have, and I'm sure it's a daily struggle. It is impossibly hard...

I know you've put a lot of work into Christi's memorial fund. That is an amazing and beautiful thing you are doing by helping others. I know that it will also help Shayla in understanding that Christi's spirit does live on in all the lives that have been touched by the Thomas team. There is beauty amid the heartbreak.

At 26/1/07 12:40 PM, Blogger CHASANDCARL said...

You and your family continue to amaze me with your stregnth. I hope that in the following months you find comfort in knowing that Christi is always with you. Thank you for sharing the beautiful pictures with us, I am positive it is comforting to look back and see that face you miss so much.

I am so happy to hear that Shayla is doing so well in school. Way to Go Shayla!

I hope you have a wonderful trip and that Shayla has many more happy days!

The Schmidt Family


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