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 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.


Anonymous said...

I hope you enjoy your visit to my great state of Texas! The Alamo is all about a brave and valiant fight that ended with death. But, the battle cry "Remember the Alamo" still resonates today. And we remember the brave men who fought and died there. Mason fought his own battle of the Alamo. I will never forget his battle either.

Deanna said...

Your message is beautiful, Andria, and as inspirational as always. Please continue speaking from your heart...your words are perfect and help all of us who came to love Mason through your postings for his journal through this past year. Thank you, too, for forwarding the words of the article by Steven Kalas. It was so well said! The stories of these brave children are all so sad, yet we must continue to read them and remember their courage and love of their family and friends. Each one of these children teach us so much, especially how to be better people! I see reminders of Mason all around me, as well as from Chloe. They both loved the zoo....Tigers for Mason and Monkeys for Chloe! I believe they have met up by now and become the best of friends!

kim said...

Andria, I LUV, LUV, LUV the article on grief you posted. I needed that today. I lost my mom when I was only 11 and she was 38. Then when I turned 30 I lost my oldest brother and one of my best friends at the age of 39. No, I have lost a child, but I carry grief with me. I like how he said it is holy. That actually gave me piece. And earlier tonight at Katie Ruth's and Gretchen's ball game I played the piano. I had not sat down at the piano in a very long time. But I did tonight and I do feel like I am a little closer to God after my recital. Thank you for being there just when I need you! Hope to see you at the pool in the very near future! Peace, Kim and the Brood

Celeste said...

Your words are so true Andria. You don't ever get over it. Cancer redefines you and your family. And death redefines you and your family too.

At times I think it is our family that are the "weird ones". But just then, today, I saw a teenage girl planning to move out of state with her family. "Why are you moving?" I asked her. "I don't know." I thought to myself, we share everything with our kids. Every feeling, every hurdle, every success. It has become our way of life, probably because you never know what the next corner will bring. We are so much closer to each other now, and your family is too.

I wouldn't change it. I wouldn't change the cancer we've experienced. I know that will be hard to read, but it really has redefined me, and it has redefined us.

I pray that you enjoy your vacation, with your family. Your new family minus one. He'll be with you though differently. It will be hard to make these new memories--but I pray that you enjoy every last one of them. Be sure to live, laugh, and love! Mason wants nothing less!

Julie said...

I hope you don't stop posting. I sit and read your blogs as often as I can. You inspire me. As I watch Juan fight his own battle for health. No not cancer but what I have come to consider a monster of its own. We know of no other case like his to this date. Your words give me courage and strength. I laugh and cry as I read your words. We remember Mason always. 3 weeks ago Juan came into church after his class and sat and hugged me. He had tears in his eyes. I asked him what was wrong and all he could say was Mason and cried. all I could do was hold him and cry with him. We sat like that for a good 10 minutes with eyes upon us. I don't know what triggered it for Juan but I know that he loves and misses Mason a lot. We all do. Thank you for what you share with us all of your friends. It really means a lot to everyone that reads your blog. I hope you have a wonderful vacation. Andria, Eddie, Maverick, Ally, Mason, You are all loved equally by my family. We pray daily for all of you thank you for teaching us so much!