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, May 04, 2008

Highs and Lows

I was surprised how challenging the dance photos were for me! While Shayla had a splendid time enjoying the company of her friends, my heart just ached as soon as I heard the photographer say, “Sister pictures” and many of the girls, along with their sisters, posed for their photos. I said to Shayla as we watched, “Remember always getting your picture taken with Christi in your dance costumes?” She nodded. I managed to get over it and then as we were packing up, what would have been Christi’s class started arriving in their lovely outfits. Ergh, it just set me back. Sometimes it's just too hard!
(Let's Dance! Shayla: front right corner)
(Shayla and her friends - ironically all teachers' kids too, try to decide on their individual poses, so cute)

As I sat through one of Shayla’s dance classes earlier in the week, the teacher was determining what to do with the girls’ hair. Of course, I was probably the only mom saying, “Whew! I have one with hair; this is great!! The bald thing may have been easy, but heartbreaking!” One little girl, from Christi’s ballet class said, “When Christi was alive we all put our headbands…..” She froze, as her little eyes caught mine, and then she said nothing, but immediately turned away. I stayed after class to give her a little hug. I thanked her for remembering Christi and told her that she made my day by saying Christi’s name and remembering her and how they wore those headbands, so Christi wouldn’t feel left out that year, was so kind.

We picked up Nonee and Paw Paw and headed off for the long drive to Will’s First Holy Communion. Now one must realize that it was also the same exact time as the Kentucky Derby – something our family has been looking forward to since January when we visited Churchill Downs in Louisville, KY. A venue we had given serious consideration to attending in person. Each night we had been watching Internet video clips, seeing how the odds were changing, reading newspaper stories about it and picking our personal favorites. Shayla, selecting by the best odds – selected Big Brown. Shayne was rooting for Recapturetheglory and Pyro was my favorite. As we neared our location, Shayne asked Shayla if she wanted to go to the restaurant with the big screen TVs to watch a little pre-Derby information or if she wanted to go to her cousins before church. When she said she wanted to watch the Derby instead I wasn’t surprised, even though being at her cousins is always at the top of her list. The Derby had been HUGE at our home in recent days.

Mass was lovely and celebrating with family, even better! William, thirteen months younger than Shayla, seemed so grown up in his little suit. You could see in his eyes how proud he was. I’m so glad we could witness his Holy day as he made this special Holy Sacrament. It was wonderful to spend some time with Gil’s family too. William is named after his deceased grandpas (my dad and Gil’s dad). I kept wishing they could have been with us in person, instead of in spirit. Obviously, my thoughts of that were also wishing Christi would have been there to see him too. William absolutely sobbed during her funeral mass. So much that at one point I looked behind me and wondered if I should try to scoop him up and sit him on my lap, yet wondering if I was in any shape to even attempt to console him myself. Crazy! May God continue to bless and keep sweet William safe! May Christi be a special little angel, guiding him and helping him make the right decisions all throughout his life. (I will post a separate "photobucket" of William's First Holy Communion pictures since I have so many - and since mom left her camera and will not see her pictures for weeks, hee hee hee hee!! LOVE YOU, MOM!)

(Crossing the Finsh Line: Big Brown (right) Eight Bells (left)During church, I got up to visit the ladies’ room and when I returned Shayne, with his gorgeous smile whispered, “Who won?” indicating I ran somewhere to check out the horse race! Too funny! After church, we went back to their house for the reception and were shocked to learn that Eight Belles (the only girl in the race) came in second and then collapsed with two broken ankles and had to be put down. Shayla and I watched the tv clip, said prayers and then she went off to play. A short while later she came to me and said, “I bet Christi was waiting with a lead line and took her right to Jesus and then started grooming her telling her down there you have to work and do what people tell you to, up here you are free. Christi probably already gave her a nickname of Belle.” Regardless, it certainly damped my celebration mode. After dropping off Mom and Joe late last night I said to Shayne, “I know we left Christi in Philly and drove to our house without her, it must have also been horrific for them to return to the barn without their horse. It's almost the same thing.” Derby Story:

This morning, Shayla and I checked out all of the Kentucky Derby coverage we would find. As she sat on my lap, both of us crying, she finally said, “I think we’d both feel better if we went out and spent some time with Skeeter this morning instead of this evening after my 4H meeting.” I told her I too thought that would help us cope with Eight Belle’s death so we drove out. In the barn, praise and worship music blared and together we groomed Skeeter and got him ready for Shayla to practice showmanship with and to ride. It was the very first time I was actually able to get close to a horse. As Shayla wheeled the barrow full of "you know what out" to another barn area and dumped it I could only chuckle to myself, “Why doesn’t she like to clean her room, but doesn’t mind cleaning a horse stall? This is so much worse!” Today I learned another good horse related lesson (just like not wearing sandals around horses). Don't wear white pants to the barn! As Shay and I tromped through the muddy pasture out to get Skeeter, Shayla looked back at me, while I was carefully trying not to get muddy, laughed and said, "Good job on the footwear, but next time don't wear white pants!" God bless us all!
(This little one made my day. During photos, her sweet mom came up to me and said, "Megan wants to have her photo taken with Shayla." Megan donated her hair to Locks of Love a while ago in Christi's honor.) What a tiny sweetie!
(This year's jazz outfit)


At 4/5/08 2:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seems to me that Shayla has grown SO much (physically, emotionally etc) in the 2 years since Christi died. Just like her sister, she is wise beyond her years, and such a sweetie! Her words about Christi & Belle in heaven brought tears to my eyes. Also like her sister, it seems she NEVER takes a bad picture!! :-)

Love & hugs,
Pat in CA

At 4/5/08 11:47 PM, Blogger beth reilly said...

Angela, We received our tea party packet on Thursday which happened to be my husband's birthday. All of the grandchildren were here for dinner so I decided that it would be the perfect time for a tea party. They just loved the chocolate lollipops and the homemade chocolate chip cookies. I told them a little about Christi and explained that we were celebrating her birthday, too. Whoever put together the packets did a wonderful job and it was a perfect opportunity to share in this special treat. Thank you!

At 5/5/08 7:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was so sad the day of the Kentucky Derby when they had to euthanize that poor horse. I just wanted to thank you for a way for me to feel better about what happened. I am sure Christi met her and led her home. I follow your blog all the time, and pray for your family every night. You set such an example for me on how to to be a good mother, friend, and daughter.

God Bless all of you.

At 5/5/08 8:05 PM, Blogger Lisa D:) said...

Shayla, you look fabulous in your dance photos! Glad you had a good time!
Will is just such a sweetheart! What a handsome young man he is! Congratulations on his very special day...

At 6/5/08 10:08 AM, Blogger Olivia said...

Shayla, I absolutely loooove your pictures! You have so much talent and so many gifts.

Loads of love to you all,

At 6/5/08 12:50 PM, Anonymous The Farrell Family said...

Dear Thomas Family,

We haven't signed your guest book in so long, because we forgot our log-in information. So, we continued to come here and read updates, think of Christi, and pray for your family! Then, we decided to create another blog sign-in and just recently decided to blog.

We love the new pictures of Shayla. She is such a beautiful little girl and is growing so quickly!

We want you to know that we think of sweet Christi so much and miss her terribly! She touched our lives so much and will never be forgotten.

God bless you all!

Rob, Amy, Emily, and Ryan Farrell


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