KC Zoo Tiger Donation

To help fulfill Mason's dream and help the Tigers:
KC Zoo Attn Laura Berger "In Memory of Mason Kempf" 6800 Zoo Dr Kansas City, MO 64132

For the beauty of Snow and Magic on Christmas :
Elves of Christmas Present PO Box 3535
Olathe, KS 66063

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Years from Here

Happy Anniversary to the best husband and dad. It's been 14 years since we walked down the aisle. Seems like yesterday when I first met your gaze in the Wal-mart lawn and garden section. Admiring you between bags of cypress mulch. Smiles remembering the time you rescued me from the snow. And goosebumps when you first whispered, I love you ; you learned not to surprise me while driving. I love you more each day, as the days of potting soil were so much simpler...
Thanks for all you give to our family. You are amazing and deserve more than words can say. Like the lyrics say,

Years from here, we'll look back and treasure this moment forever inside our hearts And from here to there, we'll make a million memories that we can share years from here...

I treasure each day you've been in my life and always will. Although we celebrate each day; our love never stops on one day. It is everyday, every month that goes by and years from here. Our love growing stronger with each passing wind. I can not imagine this last year without your love and strength by my side. Here's to whatever life may bring; may there be many years from here... I love you.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Hold on Tiger..

Thank you for all the birthday cards to help keep Mason's memory alive and helping the Tigers. The Zoo received 41 cards in memory of Mason. And the Zoo is still collecting, like Mason taught us, everyday is a reason to Celebrate.
It melted my heart today as Ally hugged the Tiger soda machine. I saw Mason too. He was right there, it was an eerie feeling and time stood still for a second. I didn't care what people thought as Ally clung to the Tiger. All I could vision was Mason smiling from ear to ear. As one of the cards stated so true," It's not about cake, candles or gifts; It's really about how much you are loved and missed today and everyday." We love you Mason. Thanks again, a simple card really says so MUCH!!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Gifts from the Heart

The last post was not how I wanted to remember Mason's birthday. It took a trip to the park to renew my spirit. Simple gifts from the heart. Maverick running along with Rex by his side. And Ally plopping down on the green grass at any given moment; gazing at the clouds whispering your name. It's those gifts you left behind, we forever remember. Your everlasting memory lives on.

Your birthday should be a time to share all the miraculous gifts you left. It hit me at the park as I felt the beauty all around. The clouds in the sky brought me peace. A letter arrived in the mail about a week ago; a 46 year old man from New York, a new "look" at life. Mason gave him the gift of sight. As I walked through the park, I gazed at all the wonder. Someone else can count the petals of a flower, see the blue in the sky, watch fluffy white clouds magically change shape, watch their dog fetch a ball or a child run through a field. Most of what we take for granted. Look at the beauty around, be thankful what you see. We hope and pray that these same sights may also be true for an individual from California; as they watch the sunset over the ocean. Mason's eyes for the first time watching the waves of the ocean. Mason, I know somehow you played a part as your dream to visit California and live in New York; in a "sense" it came true.

Mason, so many gifts you've left...gifts that don't come in a box but important lessons for us all. We continue to live, love, laugh and look at life in a whole new perspective.

Not just people, but animals too; like those courageous tigers.... We see the importance of their stripes.

An encouragement to help find a CURE!! We are ready for The Head for the Cure 5K on August 28 at Corporate Woods. Your Make a Difference team keeps on growing, and can still keep growing.
Mason, I thank you for all you have taught me, forever you will inspire me.

We celebrated last night with ice cream just as you would want us too. Maverick remembering that you had been to Peachwave before. And Ally noticing the bowls were green for you, Mason. Each of us eating a green gummi bear and piling on your favorite toppings.

I was amazed when I spotted that strawberry balloon, who would of thought? But when I saw the bouquet of tiger lilies next to them I smiled, you are forever with us.

Happy Birthday we will always celebrate...

Birthday wishes to Heaven

We all have our ups and downs. This week finds me more irritated and out of control, like a runaway train going 125 mph. Life. One day happiness exploded inside only everyone around me was down or had some problem; I had to fight for a smile. I am stuck on a line; the bottom of the ocean below and fresh air above. I get close to the surface and another weight gets added. And all my insides want to do is laugh. It is so inappropriate but I just want to laugh.

My mom thinks an anti-depressant is the answer to my laundry piles, etc. I won't even go there. I am not against; but I am not on the bottom of the ocean.
Maybe she forgot what today is. Because today is hard; really there should be a birthday cake with ten candles, ten balloons, a list of friends, a new video game, a song to sing, and a wish to be made. It sucks beyond any words can describe. I get so tired of the numbness that forever is a part of me. I am forever trapped but, I stay safely in the middle; I have balance. Depression the bottom of the ocean, and the air above my salvation.

Last night as I closed my eyes; anger consumed my soul. I had an eerie vision of people floating in the ocean; a terrible vision. It quickly vanished..I guess today I am missing that splash that makes me feel alive. Maybe it's because there are so many kids this week that are losing their battle too. And there is no one throwing them a life jacket. It's out of our reach!! Someone please find a cure.

Mason there is a thousand wishes I have for you. You know I would give you the world. I promised a big celebration at age 10. Should we celebrate, I can't get past the candles..maybe we'll let the gentle breeze blow them out..
Thank you for every second, every breath...
If only I could send you a basket full of strawberries, a gallon of Birthday party ice cream, and the latest greatest any thing your heart desires.
Thank you everyone for Mason's birthday wishes... he can feel the LOVE. Later this week we will collect the cards from the zoo.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A Wave from Tiger Lilies

We spent the afternoon at Schlitterbahn. Nothing better than adding some splashes to our day. Tiger lilies were in full bloom throughout the park, each bloom crying out to us. At the River Ride, we floated along a tube trying to catch the biggest wave. For a moment time stood still as my mind fixated on each wave. I imagined all my worries and pain being carried away with each passing wave. Yeah, I tried. Then I thought; Mason would want us here; splashing and having fun. As I closed my eyes, I could hear an echo of laughter in the distance as the sunshine warmed our hearts.

Later in the day, once again out of nowhere, Ally gazing above shared a message from Mason.
"Dad, Mason is telling me a joke, "Where did the monkey put his underwear? In his drawers"

Thank you Mason for catching a wave with us today and sharing a joke. Happy Dad's Day to my dad, grandpa and hubby. To all the dads out there I hope your day was filled with sunshine.

Friday, June 17, 2011

It's Friday

It's been a busy week. It's hard to hurt when sunshine consumes your day. But, oh how much sunshine we forever will miss. As we look up to the sky; Maverick always noticing cloud formations. He answered to the pain in my heart, "Mom we will fly amongst the clouds someday"

A huge Thank you to a group of friends for sending a Huge Splash in the mail. Season passes for our entire family to enjoy Schlitterbahn. We were overcome with joy as the sign at Schlitterbahn says it best. "Let's play because the best thing to do is play all day! It's one thing we have learned the most to enjoy each day and celebrate.

Tonight we are ready for an action packed evening at Livestrong stadium as we watch the "Wizards" as Maverick still calls the KC soccer team. Eddie's work group is tailgating and provided the tickets.

Maverick ended his week at VBS. I am so proud of the peace and comfort he has found within Church and God's Love. We send prayers to all the children that are currently fighting cancer today, some just clinging on; like a butterfly with a broken wing, we still hear Hope whispering in the wind.

It's also no coincidence that the number 10 keeps popping up everywhere. Ally saw 10 fireflies in flight, and my change $10.10. By the way I tried a new cereal today, it was the same cereal Mimi goofed when looking for Honey Comb. I took 10 bites for you Mason.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

10 Reasons to Smile..

Look at the smiles from 10 Tiger Lilies. Thank you Mason for helping us be more observant of the love all around...

1. Ten Tiger Lilies in Bloom!

2. Maverick picked his first Strawberry!

3. "Mom, look what I drew to remember Mason"

4. Reminders that Mason is still with us. (Mason's favorite restaurant Cracker Barrel)
Cracker Barrel was also our first witness of random act of kindness; where a stranger paid our bill

5. We are headed to the KC Zoo to collect cards and have some fun at Sunset Safari on June 24.

6. Maverick and Ally are having a good time at VBS this week

7. We are gearing up for the Head for the Cure race August 28 at Corporate Woods! You can join the "Make a Difference for Mason" team too

8. We are so thankful for friends that always know just what to say or do. Thank you for the chain of smiles from you.

9. Ally finds the word"Love" at garage sales and says, "Live. Love, Laugh"

10. We hope our reasons to smile are contagious.

Friday, June 10, 2011

A Splash for our souls

This SPLASH is for you Mason!
Summer is rolling right along. We had an incredible day of splashes yesterday at Tanglewood Lake. The minute I saw Maverick tubing it brought us down memory lane to Conesus Lake. We are always thinking of you Mason. I know you hear Ally pray all the time to you, "Dear God thank you for everything." "Come on Mom, let's pray to Mason."

This Saturday, we are volunteering at the Homeless shelter in Kansas City, Missouri. I know we talked about ways to help out and now we are doing it. You have influenced us so much. Mimi is even celebrating her birthday at Harvesters, a local food bank. You are guiding us and have forever changed our lives. Brave little soul; you have squeezed us so hard. And it's not just the influence to help others, God has filled our hearts. It is through God's Love that we make a difference. Have I posted The Brave Little Soul? Here it is, read at Mason's celebration...

The Brave Little Soul by John Alessi
Not too long ago in Heaven there was a little soul who took wonder in observing the world. He especially enjoyed the love he saw there and often expressed this joy with God. One day however the little soul was sad, for on this day he saw suffering in the world. He approached God and sadly asked, “Why do bad things happen; why is there suffering in the world?”

God paused for a moment and replied, "Little soul, do not be sad, for the suffering you see, unlocks the love in people’s hearts.” The little soul was confused. “What do you mean,” he asked. God replied, “Have you not noticed the goodness and love that is the offspring of that suffering? Look at how people come together, drop their differences and show their love and compassion for those who suffer. All their other motivations disappear and they become motivated by love alone.”

The little soul began to understand and listened attentively as God continued, “The suffering soul unlocks the love in people’s hearts much like the sun and the rain unlock the flower within the seed. I created everyone with endless love in their heart, but unfortunately most people keep it locked up and hardly share it with anyone. They are afraid to let their love shine freely, because they are afraid of being hurt. But a suffering soul unlocks that love. I tell you this – it is the greatest miracle of all. Many souls have bravely chosen to go into the world and suffer – to unlock this love – to create this miracle – for the good of all humanity."

Just then the little soul got a wonderful idea and could hardly contain himself. With his wings fluttering, bouncing up and down, the little soul excitedly replied, "I am brave; let me go! I would like to go into the world and suffer so that I can unlock the goodness and love in people’s hearts! I want to create that miracle!"

God smiled and said, "You are a brave soul I know, and thus I will grant your request. But even though you are very brave you will not be able to do this alone. I have known since the beginning of time that you would ask for this and so I have carefully selected many souls to care for you on your journey. Those souls will help you create your miracle; however they will also share in your suffering. Two of these souls are most special and will care for you, help you and suffer along with you, far beyond the others. They have already chosen a name for you.”

God and the brave little soul shared a smile, and then embraced. In parting, God said, “Do not forget little soul that I will be with you always. Although you have agreed to bear the pain, you will do so through my strength. And if the time should come when you feel that you have suffered enough, just say the word, think the thought, and you will be healed.”

Thus at that moment the brave little soul was born into the world, and through his suffering and God’s strength, he unlocked the goodness and love in people’s hearts. For so many people dropped their differences and came together to show their love. Priorities became properly aligned. People gave from their hearts. Those that were always too busy found time. Many began new spiritual journeys – some regained lost faith – many came back to God. Parents hugged their children tighter. Friends and family grew closer. Old friends got together and new friendships were made. Distant family reunited, and every family spent more time together. Everyone prayed. Peace and love reigned. Lives changed forever. It was good. The world was a better place. The miracle had happened. God was pleased.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Wild about the Lone Star state..

The first day of summer is getting closer and closer. We just finished plans for a Texas vacation. We already know Texas has a big heart as it was right behind KS, MO, and FL with 70 pieces of mail for Valentines. We are spending 2 days in South Padre and 4 in San Antonio. We debated and debated our vacation; until an angel reserved our hotel stay. We are blessed again from the incredible kindness from someone we have never met; someone following our story. Texas we can't wait!! Until then we have many splashes, baseball games and trips to the Zoo planned. The Zoo is saving all the cards Mason receives. I am counting down the days just as Mason would have; 14 more days. Maverick found a four leaf clover and taped it to Mason's card. "I hope you have a lucky day," he wrote. We continue to follow the stories of DIPG kids that continue to fight. It makes me want to ROAR even louder our hands are tied as we relive the pain.

I know, I have explained how much the Zoo means to us; but it is deeper than that. Sure, we love the tigers. It's through the tigers; we want others not only to ask "Who is Mason?" but to be reminded of his courage and strength and then; to be inspired to Make a Difference. It's about spreading awareness and inspiration. We want all of Kansas City and beyond to hear Mason's roar. We have witnessed the strength and power during Mason's journey. It's wanting to help others as others have us. We will never get over Mason but we can hold on to the MAGIC within us all. That is our focus. We can all make a difference. We can all make a difference. Thank you for not saying good-bye, for not forgetting, for being here. For not shutting the door; it's not just Mason, there are so many other kids and people that need us. I wonder if I am getting too repetitious or if the fire in my heart is going out, am I sharing too much, or not getting my point across, am I traveling the wrong way. My mind gets tangled in knots as I try to convey what our hearts cry out. This last year we have learned so much. Now, we take the pain and focus on what Mason would want us to... to carry on and reach out with a smile. Our hearts are so incredibly full... even in loss are hearts are full. We know LOVE can do incredible things.

( Kroger parking lot in Memphis)

As I walked the grocery store aisles last night; I felt a coldness in my heart as I no longer carry a list filled with Mason requests. My mind drifts to another time in Memphis; together we would a roam the aisles of Kroger, filling our cart with easy "no bake" meals and goodies. What I wouldn't give to walk through the aisles with you once more. My list will never be the same.

One of the best things I was told was "You never will get over it" My heart felt the blow and understanding of such honesty . I really can't imagine ever getting over it. Mason is with me for eternity. Below is an article from Steven Kalas; a behavioral health consultant and counselor at Clear View Counseling and Wellness Center in Las Vegas. I just had to share..

You don't get over it. Getting over it is an inappropriate goal. An unreasonable hope. The loss of a child changes you. It changes your marriage. It changes the way birds sing. It changes the way the sun rises and sets. You are forever different.

You don't want to get over it. Don't act surprised. As awful a burden as grief is, you know intuitively that it matters, that it is profoundly important to be grieving. Your grief plays a crucial part in staying connected to your child's life. To give up your grief would mean losing your child yet again. If I had the power to take your grief away, you'd fight me to keep it. Your grief is awful, but it is also holy. And somewhere inside you, you know that.

The goal is not to get over it. The goal is to get on with it.

Profound grief is like being in a stage play wherein suddenly the stagehands push a huge grand piano into the middle of the set. The piano paralyzes the play. It dominates the stage. No matter where you move, it impedes your sight lines, your blocking, your ability to interact with the other players. You keep banging into it, surprised each time that it's still there. It takes all your concentration to work around it, this at a time when you have little ability or desire to concentrate on anything.

The piano changes everything. The entire play must be rewritten around it.

But over time the piano is pushed to stage left. Then to upper stage left. You are the playwright, and slowly, surely, you begin to find the impetus and wherewithal to stop reacting to the intrusive piano. Instead, you engage it. Instead of writing every scene around the piano, you begin to write the piano into each scene, into the story of your life.

You learn to play that piano. You're surprised to find that you want to play, that it's meaningful, even peaceful to play it. At first your songs are filled with pain, bitterness, even despair. But later you find your songs contain beauty, peace, a greater capacity for love and compassion. You and grief -- together -- begin to compose hope. Who'da thought?

Your grief becomes an intimate treasure, though the spaces between the grief lengthen. You no longer need to play the piano every day, or even every month. But later, when you're 84, staring out your kitchen window on a random Tuesday morning, you welcome the sigh, the tears, the wistful pain that moves through your heart and reminds you that your child's life mattered.

You wipe the dust off the piano and sit down to play.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Thanks for sending cards...

We are mailing Mason's birthday card tomorrow. It was so hard picking out a card for him. Guess I really didn't think about that part... But the card above called out his name. I wish instead we were planning a party invitations addressed to all, and I wonder what would top your cake. It's funny, we decided long ago that every 5 years we would have a BIG birthday bash. Last night your brown eyes woke me from a dream.
My mind never stops wandering and thinking; what would you say or how would you style your hair, most of all how different life could be. I still pull my strength from YOU.
Summer smiles are all around, but we turn our heads looking for that extra smile that makes our heart sing.

The Zoo is saving birthday cards for us. Thank you everyone for spreading the word for taking your time to send your greetings. Every single card makes a difference. Your hearts make a difference. We can feel the hugs right to our soul. Mason is watching us.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Filling our summer with splashes. We have spent 3 days in a row at the pool. Yesterday was a blast watching Maverick run around with his school friends. It feels good watching him laugh and splash. He got a new bike to pedal around the neighborhood too; he loves to race as fast as he can. I sit back and smile. There are many times that I add Mason to our day. I take snapshots in my mind and crop his picture where he is suppose to be. I listen for his voice while Maverick's playing Wii. Nobody knows. I will always see him with us. At the pool; he'd be splashing with Ally or throwing the ball; goggles and all. He follows our footsteps, our splashes, our every movement. I wish I didn't have to pretend..

It's June 1st and Mason's 10th birthday would have been already in the works. He asked if he could celebrate at Powerplay. He had lots of fun there; and loved Laser tag. You can help celebrate his birthday this year with a simple birthday card with one dollar to the KC Zoo; The countdown is on, I've heard Mason's roar; now the Zoo can too. Thank you for making his 10th birthday special and for keeping his memory alive.