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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Sunday, September 30, 2007

First Angel Birthday

Happy 1st Angel Birthday, Christi

Written Sunday: Events of recent days have distracted me greatly - as has a middle of the night emergency room trip we took with Shayla Saturday night (Sept. 29th) after we saw a lump in her abdomin and she was screaming in pain. Thankfully, hours later, it turned out to be a gas bubble and they found just a urinary track infection - praise God! It was horrible to relieve our fears of "cancer" with Shayla too. And the ER doc was exactly the same one in the ER with Christi that horrible night (Sept. 2002). Funny: He told us Shayla's Xrays didn't show anything; "However, I blew it and didn't see anything on Christi's either. You should call her doctor on Monday.")

Written last Thursday, the 27th:

Hopefully, the “blogger monster” (as one sweet supporter wrote about the problem) won’t eat the photos and the pictures will show up. I didn’t want any worry about my lack of posts, so I thought I’d let you know we are “ok”!! Unfortunatelly, we’ve had something huge and surprising happen yesterday, but Christi's journey reminds us of what's important in life, and what's not.

I know I should not write about all of the sweet things people have done because I will most likely accidentally overlook something, but here goes:

On Tuesday, September 18th, Christi’s “Our Little Lemonade Girl” plaque was placed at Heidelberg in front of the little tree that was dedicated to her honor in front of the Education Building at Heidelberg last year. We had anxiously been awaiting it’s arrival and when I saw a picture of it, it was the oddest feeling, but I LOVED it. Shayne couldn’t look at it for days, but he too had a gentle smile when he first saw the picture of it in place and gentle rolling tears to go along with it.

Very thoughtful donations were contributed to the Christi Thomas Memorial Fund in her honor last week. Thank you! It has been very important to us to be able to continue Christi's actions of helping others. Offering the scholarships and doing other good deeds with her fund has given us tremendous comfort.

(PHOTO: It was beautiful to see some of Christi's school friends attend the lemonade stand and have lunch. So sweet!) Heidelberg College’s Lemonade Stand, held in Christi’s memory, raised around $600 for pediatric cancer research.

Our friends' (from Philly) daughter is making her Confirmation this year. She wrote in her sweet little handwriting: Our teacher said we should choose a Saint's name and I have chosen Christi for my name. I chose Christi becuase she was an amazing igirl and it is a very pretty name. I am glad me and Christi became friends becuase I learned a lot from her. She taught people how to be kind, to help others and how to enjoy every day of your life. It will be nice to have Chrisi as a part of my name too beucase I'll think of her for my whole life. She'll be helping me from heaven all the time.

Two Seneca East friends, from Christi's class, wrote and shared how Christi influenced their lives, how she was like a sister to them and how she will forever be their friend. One wrote, "Christi was one of my friends and still is. I miss her jokes in class....Keep smiling, loving and laughing. She is watching you."

From “Hariett” (at COSI):

I wanted to let you know we had a lemonade stand here at COSI today. We called it the Christi Thomas Memorial Lemonade Stand. I didn't figure we'd make much since we're in the middle of our shutdown and not a lot of people are in the building, but we made about $160 from the team and about that much from a few Madlab friends. Here's a picture of our stand and of the awesome poster Jenn made. Several people wore yellow in support. Here's a funny story that you'd appreciate, and I'm sure gave Christi a great big giggle looking down on us. Jenn and I went to light a candle at lunch and there was a group of women sitting in the pews as we walked in. They were having some kind of meeting. So we're praying and lighting our candles and crying like idiots when the group gets up to take a tour of the church. Just as we start to sob and hug each other, this group of women decide that it would be a good time to examine something on the wall right above us. So Jenn and I start giggling to ourselves and whispering about how they're showing each other the newest addition to the cathedral: Grieving Women in Yellow. (Sadly, we learned Traci’s grandpa joined Christi in Heaven on Thurs., Sept. 20th. We know Christi is rejoicing to have another grandpa in Heaven!!)

From Tasmania: I took 10 pink balloons outside and released them in Christi's honour. Unfortunately, my camera ran out of juice before they were airborne, (Grr!), but I managed to take a few snaps of them whipping around in the wind just prior to release. I wasn't sure if it was going to be windy enough, which would have been very odd given the weather we've had recently, but as soon as I headed up the hill behind our house, a strong breeze picked up and I had to tell Christi to "slow down and be patient!" a couple of times because I almost had them yanked out of my hands before I was ready. I don't know if any will be found, but my hope is at least one person finds their way to her site as a result.

Thank you for being a constant inspiration during this past year. I have learnt more about myself through learning about Christi than I would ever have thought possible, and I'm truly thankful. I pray that you all find the strength to get through this difficult day and that the love of those both near and far continues to sustain and support you through the coming years.

From a sweet supporter (with a GREAT LAST NAME!) She stumbled upon Christi's site a year and a half ago while doing genelogy research. Amazing!
We released balloons this morning at 6 am (9 your time) for dear Christi. 9 pink and one white. I have to say I got chills. We live in the city and the only place I could think of to release them were in the park that is directly in front of our building. The tricky part is that there are many many trees most blocking the way to the sky but there is this one little gap. When I let go of the balloons they headed straight towards this one tree, which we figured might happen. At the very last minute though they did a very graceful spin and went straight up to the sky. I folded 1000 cranes for my wedding (I'm sure you are familiar with the Japanese story of Sadaku) but I saved the 919th that I folded and tied it to the balloons .

From a Sweet Friend and Supporter who also lost her brother to cancer and conducted a book drive in Christi’s memory: (She found a job and put out an email to notify many.) She wrote: “My first day will be Wednesday, September 19th, which couldn't be more apt really, for many reasons.”

From a sweet blogger:
I have followed your journey about two months before Christi's death. You were planning her service while my son was having his second brain surgery. You are a wonderful source of support. I am sending this to you after seeing orbs on pictures taken today at the horse stables. When I started to look at the pictures I noticed orbs. We have never had orbs before. I was thinking that sweet Christi was watching out for my boys as they rode the horses.

Check out this photo: The view from our patio, in Portland. Written in chalk it says, "We miss you Christi! Forever 9"

A Sweet Internet Supporter wrote:
We held a lemonade stand and a not only have we started Christi’s tradition of taking flowers to the teacher on the first day of school, but if I get to heaven before you do, I will make certain to find Christi, to tell her how much you miss her and to care for her until you get to Heaven too.

Finally, on the night of Sept. 19th, I learned that a teacher grant I worked very hard on and submitted this summer, was awarded to me from Time Warner Cable! Thanks to a sweet friend “Christi” who works at CNN Headline News (and one of Christi’s namesakes!) and to Heidelberg College’s Communication’s Department who will also be collaborating with me, my students will learn a great deal about broadcast journalism and will even be creating their own broadcasts with some new technologies and help from those who work in the profession! It brought a big smile to my face on the night of Sept. 19th and Shayne said, "I'm so glad to see you really smile about something."

I also received word that I was elected to The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi - the most selective Honor Society. They wrote, "Congratulations on your high academic success at The Ohio State University! Standards for election to Phi Kappa Phi are extremely high. Membership is by invitation only to Ohio State University's top 10 percent of all graduate students." I will be inducted at a ceremony in November. (Better get inducted before my GPA drops and they change their mind! After these three KILLER classes I'm taking this quarter, I dont' expect to still have a 3.9!! Hee hee!)

Again, I apologize for the delay in updating. When I’m able to share our latest family news, I will do so. (Can you say, “Kick me when I’m down?” No, we will make the best of things, it will turn out just fine and we really appreciate the calls of love and support we've received. As we drove to church Wednesday night two huge and gorgeous rainbows appeared over the church. It was the most amazing and beautiful thing. I told Shayne it was God and Christi letting us know that things would be ok, despite Wednesday's news. The rainbow is God's promise to us.)

Thursday, September 27, 2007

First Angel-versary

PHOTO: Heidelberg College student, and one of Christi's former babysitters reflects. Tif also sang at Christi's funeral and we do not know how she did that! She was also instrumental in making the lemonade stand happen at the 'Berg just as she was there for all four of them!

I didn’t want any worry about my lack of posts, so I thought I’d let you know we are “ok”!! We’ve had some unbelievable and shocking things happen in recent days, but I have been advised that I cannot write about that – yet.

So, let me back up: To say we have been deeply moved by the love shared with our family over the one year “Angel-versary” would not be saying enough at all. I do not believe words could ever properly explain our gratitude for the loving words and actions showered upon our family last week (cards, calls, flowers, such kindness - THANK YOU). I know I will never send proper thank yous, but I hope those know that only through those kind deeds and through His goodness, we made it…not always with grace, but we made it!

I will most likely post more about our week as time goes on. (I’ve been SWAMPED as my OSU – two real killer - classes started back up and it’s been HOT HOT HOT at school.) but I wanted to at least say a HUGE thank you to: Joe & Kaye, Kate, Sarah, Mom & Joe, Dr. Vela, Lori & Heidelberg College, and Marty & Jeff for getting us through last week.

Not that there were true “HIGHlights” (There were a lot of LOWlights) but there were some incredibly awesome things that are too sweet to leave to myself and that gave us so much comfort. I'll update soon. Thanks for all!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

I Last Saw This Beautiful Face One Year Ago Today

The lid to Christi's casket was closed one year ago today. I chose not to watch that happen; I never wanted to see darkness covering this little sunshine who seemed to always radiate great light, despite all she was going through. Having had terribly challenging days recently, I try to force myself to remember all of the light and the happy times and try not to dwell on how I miss her terribly. I've never done anything so hard.

Just like we did one year ago today, we gathered out at the cemetery. The three of us sat out there for a long time this afternoon. Of course we didn't shed tears the entire time, we had a few laughs too. (We were quite surprised to see that an amazing sweetheart left two cookies. Shayla said, "Christi don't be greedy," as she took half of one cookie and put it over on my deceased father's plaque, next to Christi's. I didn't have the heart to tell Shayla that my father really didn't like sweets and he'd want Christi to enjoy cookies.....cookies & milk - what turned out to be her final food. We also played with a little game left for Christi and that made us smile as did the blue flowers we knew Christi's friend, Sarah, left.) I cannot believe the kindness we saw displayed out there today. Christi was deserving; we are not. Thank you to the kind angels on earth for stopping out at the cemetery and visiting with Christi. I have many things to share which I will do so when I am stronger.

Today, while visiting with my mom and Joe, I also shared with her the scrapbook Christi started when she was five years old and first diagnosed. Her words and her pictures are both so innocent and yet so powerful and terrifying of how she must have been feeling during those first days of experiencing hospital life. It makes me realize how well she adjusted and perhaps why she always liked to do things for the little kids at the hospitals to make them feel better. I'll also upload those scrapbook pages soon - and hope the "Blogger Monster" won't eat them! (He's been wicked recently, smile.)

Tonight, we mustered up the courage and went to Heidelberg College to see the Education Department's lasting memorial to Christi for the first time. There was great anxiety surrounding our trip as we weren't certain how we'd react when we saw the plaque/stone under the tree they lovingly dedicated to her last October. Well, since the tears have been flowing so much in recent days, there was no need to stop them tonight. It is absolutely gorgeous and the sweetest thing. As I finally made myself leave and get back into the van I said to Shayne, "There could be no greater gift. That is absolutely unbelievable." He couldn't agree more. We ended our evening by going to a campus restaurant, Christi loved so much, "Rock Creek Cafe" and enjoying pizza. Our mood lightened up while in there surrounded by the college students. Shayne made the funniest joke, which of course I reprimanded him for - it's my job - but this is what he said, "I always worried about Christi going to college and getting stoned." After he explained it to Shayla she absolutely roared with laughter too saying, "She did! She did! She went to college and got stoned!"

Finally, my deepest thanks to our Texas friends - the Bakers. This incredible drawing (Yes, drawing, it is not a photo) posted here, as well as a precious one of Shayla I'll share soon, was sent to us last week from our friends. They hired a very talented artist and I simply wept with joy when I saw it. It looks just like her - the way I want to remember her forever with that precious, innocent smile and those gorgeous blue eyes - pain free and happy. Fly, Christi, Fly!

Celebration of Life Program Booklets

The PDF of the program books utilized at Christi's funeral home visitation and funeral mass is included here. I'm certain many never saw one and they were indeed an absolutely lovely tribute to her life. Eric has warned me, due to the pictures and graphics this is a rather large file and should only be downloaded if you have a high-speed Internet connection.


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

YouTube Tributes - Remembering Christi

Recently, Eric did a search on YouTube for "christi thomas" and we were amazed to find over 20 different videos of Christi online from our Internet friends. Here are just a few examples, but you can click on the heading to this posting that will take you directly to YouTube and you can see for yourself. Amazing! (I had never seen "Christi and her mommy" before. I actually rejoiced in seeing so many photos of the two of us together; I didn't realize there were that many taken, since I was typically the one behind the camera. Thank you to the sweet angel on earth who put that together for me!! I've been so richly blessed!)

The sweet Miss Jennifer (Kids Cancer Crusade) put together this most lovely tribute of Christi. I hope you will enjoy it as much as we did. Thanks, dear Jennifer!!

Here's another one from the sweet folks at Thank you so much!

"At the Request of an Angel"

Yesterday, in Heaven, a sweet angel,
went to our Father's throne.
This angel said, "Dear Lord, tomorrow,
my Mom just can't be left alone!"

The angel said, "My Heavenly Father,
I've been in Heaven for almost a year.
Wearing wings made of silver & gold...
While Mom's face is stained with tears.

She's going to need me tomorrow,
to give comfort and ease her pain.
I want to surround her with all my love,
Cause her tears still flow like rain!

You have your Mother too, Lord
who once felt the pain of losing you...
She knows what it is like for a Mother,
to feel misery the whole day through...!"

Our Father looked at this precious angel,
who was kneeling at His Throne,
He said, "Take a Band of Angels with you,
so your Mom won't ever feel alone!

As you embrace her with your love,
I'll reach down with loving arms;
I'll touch her with My love and assurance,
that you'll protect her from all harm!..."

Oh! What a sight it must have been today!
To see these Angels with golden wings,
Following that precious angel to your heart...
Bringing all the love they could bring!

Yes, your angel is always with you,
no matter what the circumstance...
So, if you feel a tug at your heart today...
It's your angel asking you for a dance.

~Never an End ~

Dedicated to the Moms who have to live through
that day again.

Kaye Des'Ormeaux

Saturday, September 15, 2007

A Most Lovely Fairy Tale Written About Christi

(PHOTO: Scared, yet trying to smile / Sept. 2002 / age 5 / a few days after diagnosis)

Soon after Christi's death, we received this absoutely lovely story. I've been waiting for the right time to share it, I guess that time is now. While we've never met Lela, I hope she knows how much we treasure her beautiful writing.

“In the Land of Bluebirds and Butterflies”
By Lela Foos

Once upon a time, in the Kingdom of Thomas, there lived Princess Shayla and Princess Christi. Each day they laughed and played, and chased bluebirds and butterflies in the flowered fields all around the castle.

Now the king and queen loved their daughters very much. Princess Christi and Princess Shayla never had to worry about dragons or sorcerers or ugly toads with wards, for the King was master, and nothing dared enter the Kingdom of Thomas to bring them harm.

But one day, the evil witch Neuro, from the land of Blastoma, tiptoed into the meadow and put a horrible curse on Princess Christi. No one in the vast kingdom knew why the evil witch chose Princess Christi; soon she became very ill.

Princess Shayla did everything she could to cheer her sister. She gathered the most fragrant flowers that glistened with morning dew. She made up stories of princes with warted noses and dragons that danced with kittens and cows.

The king and queen searched and searched throughout the kingdom for a magic potion to cure their precious princess. None could be found, so the king sent forth his trusted noblemen to distant lands far and wind. Their hope was great in finding one clearer enough to outsmart the evil witch Neuro, from the land of Blastoma.

At last, the nobleman returned with the distinguished night, Maris the Brave. In all the lands far and wide, there was no one more courageous than Maris. He vowed to do all he could to save the beautiful princess. Maris, the Brave, fought deadly dragons, trudged through troll-infested forests and suffered pixie pinches to collect magic potions frm all the places he had traveled.

But alas, after four years, Maris had to tell the king and queen that he was out of potions. He sat with them and wept. The king and queen knew that Maris, the brave knight, did everything he possibly could to save Princess Christi. Sadly, they realized that now only the Prince of Peace could save their daughter form the evil witches’ spell, but that would mean she could no longer live with them in the Kingdom of Thomas.

The king and queen lay Princess Christi upon her royal bed, and never left her royal room. They read to her and talked with her. Every moment cherished, yet every moment they wished for time to be reversed. Days and nights came and went while the king and queen waited and waited. Time refused to grant their wish.

It was morning, near summer’s end, when the Prince of Peace came, oh so quietly. He kissed Princess Christi on her forehead and gently carried her in his loving arms to his kingdom far beyond any realm anyone had ever been. And although the king and queen and Princess Shayla would miss their beloved Princess Christi, they knew she’d live happily ever after, in the grandest kingdom of all, chasing bluebirds and butterflies forevermore.

Friday, September 14, 2007

One Year Ago & Two

Even though it's been almost one year, it's all still so very vivid. The bright and sunny Tuesday morning in September when Christi breathed her last breath and set out on a journey on which we could not accompany her. It seems at times that the pain is unbearable and overwhelming. We have learned never to set a timeline with how long it should take one to heal from the loss of a loved one. This is certainly taking a lot longer than we ever imagined. Just like a broken leg, a broken heart heals so slowly and cannot stand much at times. A lot that I've written on this blog has been written when I was in extreme agony. The sweet Christi supporters have sustained us and helped hold us up enough to support the heavy weight of life. For that, and for everything else, we will forever be grateful. (I've never shared these two pictures of Christi before. The first one she would really be mad at me for putting on here; however, it's a great reminder of the horror of cancer. Near the very end she spiked a fever that I believe went to 107. Nothing was given to her for it; she couldn't swallow. I took her clothes off to try to help her feel better even though she was miserable. I'll try instead to remember the bottom picture - THAT is how I want to remember Christi!)

Two Years Ago / One Year Before Death (September 2005) enjoying the family's cat after her horse riding lesson on their farm. As you can tell, she was delighted by this extra treat following something else she LOVED - horse riding lessons!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

CT Memorial Lemonade Stand (9/19/07) Heidelberg College

September 2005: Christi and Dr. Grine talk with the education majors.
It is through tears I share the "sweetest" of news. Dr. Arnold-Grine, from the Education Department at Heidelberg College, called me last week so that I wouldn't be caught off guard when I came to campus to teach this week. She wanted to let me know that her students in EDU 344 and the CARE House were going to be holding "The Christi Thomas Memorial Lemonade Stand" outside of the Education Building on the anniversary of Christi's death: Wednesday, September 19th from 11-1PM.

I was glad she warned me ahead of time because upon entering the education building this week, I immediately spotted a cute yellow sign with a big lemon on it and I was NOT moved by sadness but by Heidelberg's incredible compassion. It says, "In loving memory of our little Lemonade Girl, who passed away on September 19th, 2006. Please come support pediatric cancer research by making a freewill donation and by having a cup of cold, sweet lemonade. All donations will go to Alex'd Lemonade Fund, a nonprofit organization supporting pediatric cancer research."

As I held up a sign and shared the news with my 'Berg students before I dismissed their class I said, "I know you are poor college students and you do not have an extra $1, 5 or 10 to donate, but please consider doing just that. Five years ago this week we sent our five year old off to school for the very first time. We thought she was perfectly healthy. Ten days later she had a fever and was limping and never returned to school again that year. No child should ever suffer like Christi did and no family should ever have to endure all that is involved with a cancer diagnosis. A cure for cancer must be found and it's only going to come through research. Dollars add up, please stop by next week, if you can."

For anyone who may be in the area next Wednesday, please stop by the Education Department. I know Christi would be so proud! THANK YOU!

September 2004: Christi pours the lemonade at the Berg Students' Christi & Alex's Lemonade Stand.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I Am an Angel Now

August 1997, in Phoenix visiting Shayne's sister.

Thanks, Olivia for sharing this poem with us!

I'm An Angel Now

One night I cried to Jesus
As I sat beneath the tree;
I looked into the open sky
And hoped He'd answer me.

"I'm lost dear Lord ...
I've traveled far but still I seem to roam;
Please light the way and lead me, Lord,
I need to get back home."

I told him of my burdens
And of the sadness in my heart;
That from His gracious love
I'd never felt so far apart.

"Why did you take my child, Lord?
I cannot understand!
No longer can I touch her face
Or hold her tiny hand."

"I'm angry, Lord ... I'm missing her,
I'm drowning in my sorrow;
Please help to heal my yesterday
And face each new tomorrow."

It was then I heard her gentle voice
And felt her presence near;
How I wanted so to hold her
As I cried another tear.

She said "Mommy, I'm an angel now,
My spirit will be free;
I'm an angel now in heaven,
So please don't cry for me."

"I was chosen by our Lord above
And now I'm in His care;
Whenever you need me,
Just look inside your heart;
I promise to be there."

"No one can ever take away
Our bond with one another;
For I'll always be your precious child,
As you will always be my mother."

"So if you cannot find your way
Or the road to home seems far;
Just look up to the Heavens
And I'll be your guiding star."

She said, "Mommy, I'm an angel now,
My spirit will be free;
I'm an angel now in Heaven ...
There's no need to cry for me."

~ Author Unknown ~

Picture: Baby Christi (1997)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Loss of an Angel

The feelings of nausea are large this morning. 9/11: On the one year anniversary of that horrible, evil attack on America, we decided to start a family tradition of doing something positive together as a family. It was the day five year old Christi was to begin her piano lessons and we were going to go to the Great Wolf Lodge (an indoor waterpark). Little did we know when all of that was arranged that instead one of our treasured daughters would be diagnosed with cancer. 9/11/06: The day I put Shayla on that plane by herself so that she could get back to school, her bunny and a "normal" life for a bit. As soon as the airlines walked her thought that door, I sat in a chair and cried my eyes out. It was not that I was worried about Miss Shayla flying solo - of course SHE could handle that (Could the people sitting around her? hmmmm). It was that I knew she would most likely never see her sister again and I didn't know what was in store for our family and if I was doing the right thing by sending her home. A few times this summer she told me that a third grader told her in the bathroom that Christi was still alive, but then we came home that night and told her she died at 9AM. I explained to her that we were not going to put anything on the internet to inform other people who cared about Christi until we told her, Christi's sister, first. I hope she will one day understand that. Back at the hospital, one year ago today, Christi joked with us the best she could about what Shayla might be doing on that Southwest Airlines flight, as an unaccompanied minor. "Maybe she's running up and down the aisles", etc. It was one of the final little bit of joking Christi was able to do and I'd give anything to go back one year ago and to be with her holding her little hand I know only have handprints of. (I am thankful and glad to at least have those!)

Loss Of An Angel

Precious One, we miss you so,
Now, we will never see you grow.
We miss that smile on our tiny face,
and your little body, we did embrace.
We miss holding you in our arms each day,
Believing you are in Heaven, we do pray.
The magic in your little hands and little feet,
Leave us with special memories, oh so sweet.
Our hearts feels so sad and empty now,
If only we could go back in time, somehow.
How blessed we were, when you were here,
You filled our lives with joy and cheer.
The gift of life, we gave to you,
Your days on earth were far too few.
Today, we live our lives a different way,
But our love is still with you, every day.

Jan Endres

Monday, September 10, 2007

A New Little Girl In Heaven

Thanks to fellow Angel Mom Jennifer for sharing this poem with me many months ago. Christi and Nathan are probably great friends by now! (PICTURE: Christi on top - at CHOP, July 2005 - about 30 minutes before we learned her cancer was again taking off.)

I would never tell Shayla this today, but it was exactly one year ago that she spent her final day with Christi and told her a final goodbye that evening. It's killing me knowing we are now starting year two and our time away from her is just going greater. (I really do try to tell myself that it just means our time until we are together again is just shorter with each day, it's really not working to make me feel better.) It was also one year ago this afternoon Christi was given the "Last Rights" by a Catholic priest, who so kindly came to CHOP when called. Christi was tired, but coherent. Shayne thought she ought to confess her sins, based on Catholic religion, but the priest said that was not necessary. She was also not able to take Holy Communion as normal, but great effort was made and I am convinced that would not prevent God from allowing her into Heaven. We later learned that Christi's death was also difficult for the priest. As the final days approach, I feel like there is a heavy weight on top of my chest. I find I'm actually feeling that it is hard to breath at times, as crazy as that may sound, weird!

A New Little Girl in Heaven

"Oh, what do you think the angels say?"
Said the children up in heaven,
"There's a dear little girl coming Home today,
She's almost ready to fly away
From the earth we used to live in;
Let us go and open the gates of pearl,
Open them wide for the new little girl,"
Said the children up in heaven!
"God wanted her here, where His little ones meet,"
Said the children up in heaven;
"She will play with us in the golden street!
She has grown too fair, she has grown too sweet
For the world we used to live in.
She needs the sunshine, this dear little girl,
That gilds this side of the gates of pearl,"
Said the children up in heaven!
"Far down on earth, do you hear them weep?"
Said the children up in heaven,
"For the dear little girl has gone to sleep;
The shadows fall and the night clouds sweep
O'er the earth we used to live in;
But we'll go and open the gates of pearl,
Oh, why do they weep for their dear little girl?"
Said the children up in heaven!
"Fly with her quickly, O' angels dear,"
Said the children up in heaven;
"See, she's coming! Look there! Look there!
At the jasper light on her sunny hair,
Where the veiling clouds are riven!
Ah, hush-hush-hush; all the swift wings furl!
For the King Himself at the gates of pearl
Is taking her hand, dear, sweet little girl,
And leading her into heaven!"

(author unknown)

Friday, September 07, 2007

Tossing It Out

Cindy crops Christi's hair for the first time, September 2002 (age 5)
Jan. 2006 in 4th grade

I couldn't bring myself to throw out the bag of Christi's hair clippings so I asked Shayne to do it for me. While it's terribly difficult to part with anything that was Christi's, I figure it must be done as to spare someone else from having to do it later in life (most likely Shayla). I vividly remember when Cindy came to the hospital in February of 2006 (just like she did in September of 2002 when she came to our home) to crop off Christi's hair in preparation for the chemo to burn the rest of it out. Christi was the saddest I'd ever seen her when I told her at CHOP that her cancer was going to once again require heavy duty chemo and she'd be bald again. When I asked her if she was crying because she was hurting, or because she was sad about her sudden and dramatic change in health, she said, "I'm just so sad." Those are painful memories that just won't go away. When Cindy cut her hair off she wanted it to be donated to "Locks for Love" because she knew of many who had donated their hair to that group. Of course Cindy and I told her that's exactly what would be done with it; we didn't have the heart to tell her that it wasn't long enough to do anything with it. She later cracked us up by saving a few clips and putting them in very tiny plastic bags. She passed them out to her relatives as "souveniers" - most likely "little did she know".....

Christi, age 4, plays "beauty parlour" with our friends' daughter Kristen. THIS is what I need to remember.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Written by Christi's Classmate & Friend

Nearly one year, to the day, before her death, Christi enjoys a wonderful field trip to Tiffin for the Heritage Days with her 4th grade class. Shayne was one of the chaperones and perhaps had more fun than the students (smile).

Good friends, good times! (Sept. 2005)

When we heard about the tragedy about our friend, Christi Thomas, that she was not well and may die we all worried, prayed and some cried. At school on picture day, we found out she flew into heaven. We all started to burst into tears and hugged each other when our teacher told us. At least Christi is in peace and not pain. Christi’s animal lover, intelligent, beautiful and many other things. We all miss and still love her because she was the amazingest thing that came into our lives, but sadly flew away to heaven. We miss you Christi, Kimberly

This little sweetie stops by my classroom a couple times of week to say hello. Even though I don't always have the time I'd like to have to talk with her, I'm always touched by her kindness. Thank you, sweet Kimmy!
Christi & Kimberly attempt to figure out a problem. Go, girls!! (Check out their faces: I think the teacher stumped them!)

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Our hearts and our prayers go out to the family of our dear United States Congressman, Paul Gillmor. I cannot imagine how difficult it must have been for his wife to tell his three young boys about the death of their father; that has been heartbreaking for me. I was shocked to learn the news from Shayne today when I checked in with him on my lunch break. (Skip was the Chairman of the Board at Shayne's bank.) I will never forget his kind words as he came through the visitation line at the funeral home. I can't even imagine how hectic his schedule is and yet - there he was - at Christi's visitation. Too sweet! The loss of the Congressman to our area is nothing short of catastrophic.

PICTURE: Christi and Shayla with the Congressman as he patronizes the "Christi & Alex's Lemonade Stand" (June 2005)

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Back to Ballet

Christi's first night back to ballet (Sept. 2005 / age 8) I never shared this picture before, but I love the precious expression on her little face! Oh, I miss that little, giggly face!
Shayla's first night back to ballet (September 2007 / age 8)I can't believe how grown up Shayla appears! Ballet started up again tonight. She picked out this great used outfit for $3.00 so we were both really happy about that.

She's been teasing me about my pillow. I bought it while out at the doctor's facility to help my neck/back pain. I really like it, but she's been joking with me, "Did you put your pillowcase over a brick?!" I also broke down today and resulted back to my pain pills. I know they can be addictive which is why I stopped taking them in the winter; however, the pain again is just too great so I'll see if they can help. Unfortunately, the statistics for divorce, drug and alcohol addiction and suicide are so high for bereaved parents. I know many of my "cancer friends" struggle and have struggled with these problems following the death of their child. I think that's why I've been hesitating for weeks to get back on the pain pills, but when I wake up and have to physically use my hands to turn my head to see the time on my alarm clock, I think I have some tension that needs to be relieved. God is good and I pray he continues to give us strength and comfort through these most challenging days.

On a funny note, last night I typed "Aunt Jim and Uncle Joyce" Oops! Of course, that should have been Uncle Jim and Aunt Joyce. I hope I made some laugh at least! I really have not been at the top of my game in recent weeks!

Christi at school (8 years / 4th grade / September 2005) I just love the expressions on the children's faces - what a hoot. The teachers wants us to do WHAT? I don't get it!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Bills, Birthdays & Backaches

End of the Summer 2002
(Same spot at the lake, just missing one) End of the Summer 2007

We had a fabulous weekend at the lake with my sister and her family. (Of course all of that came crashing to a halt when we returned home and opened the mail. According to our insurance company, through Shayne's employer, we still owe just under $100,000. Since their records end in May of 2006, not in September when we know it got really expensive - daily brain and leg radiation before death, I'm certain they'll soon be correcting that amount to say it's over six digits.) Regardless, our weekend was lovely and I'm going to try really hard to reflect upon that, not the mail, or how we spent last Labor Day! (I'm trying, I said.) The pain in my back/shoulders/neck from the buldging disk, which I don't think ever was really healed, has been back in full force. I can't help but feel stress plays a role. I pray for relief and try to joke with myself that I prayed to God for so long to give me Christi's pain and to stop hers and that is exactly what has happened!

After my sister and her family drove off and Shayla was sad, we decided since we had our Cedar Point passes with us, we'd head over and enjoy the park. Last year, some of the rides starting making me ill, but I rode them anyway to make Christi happy. (Close eyes, tell yourself not to get sick - was my method of survival!) Well, this year, it has been much worse. After the "Scrambler" and the "Matterhorn" I had to tell Shayla, "No more spinning rides for mommy. Daddy's up." Well, daddy hasn't ridden spinning rides for years, so for the first time ever, Shayla rode on a ride by herself. We were very proud of her! I do not believe she would have been able to do that six months ago. When she got off of a ride with Shayne he said to me, "Ask Shayla what Christi used to do to her on that ride." Shayla burst out laughing and said, "Mom, on that ride, Christi didn't want to wait for the ride operator to use that tool to get our seat belts unbuckled so she figured out that if she took my little finger and poked it in the center, we could get out faster." Of course I said, "Oh, honey. Did it hurt?" She laughed, "No, it just got us on the next ride faster!" What a hoot! Christi LOVED Cedar Point and with her time being so short, I'm glad she figured out a way to get on the next ride faster, hee hee!

Only one "orb" on all of the pictures from the weekend - interestingly noteworthy that it was this one! We felt bad for Shelby throughout the weekend. With Ashley having a friend along and Shayla and William the big buddies, it was like Shelby was left out without Christi. They were an amazing duo. I bought Shelby a scrapbook kit for her gift because it reminded me of the scrap booking she used to do with Christi. HAPPY BIRTHDAY SWEET SHELBY!!

This picture is for Aunt Jim and Uncle Joyce - hopefully, they can share it with Grandma Nee Nee, still staying in their garage, and give her a good chuckle - or scare! (Since Nee Nee can't drive, we thought we'd be "helpful" and take her little "kit car" out for a spin. The three of us had a ball cruising around and visiting the Bowermans. Well, Joan just hates the African Wildlife park - the one WE LOVE. She always makes a comment about how dirty my van is after we go there, how can we let those animals come right up to our van's windows, etc., etc., etc. Well, we pulled up and took this picture of her little car by their big sign out front with hopes she'll think we actually drove it through. What a hoot! We laughed and laughed and laughed at the thought of it and of the buffalo picking up the little car and eating us for lunch and the giraffes literally licking Shayla out of the convertible car.)

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Kitten Pics - CT & Shay

Thanks to a real sweet blogger named Dawn, I have this awesome treasure! THANK YOU doesn't come close to expressing my gratitude!(

At this time a year ago (very early September) Christi was saying repeatedly that it felt like someone was breaking her legs she was in such horrendous pain. Later we were informed that most likely the cancer did indeed break her legs by pushing through from the bone marrow on out. It continues to eat us up remembering how terribly she suffered and yet what a total sweetheart she was, always so polite. I'll forever treasure some of our very last conversations when she would say things like, "You are such a good mommy," and she'd also joke, "I had my doubts, just kidding, you're a really good mommy." As I sat and cried and told her I'd like to be a better mommy!

TOP: Shayla / age 8 1/2 / August 07 BOTTOM: Christi / age 9 / Aug. 06 BOTH PICTURES: Taken after horse back riding)