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

Thursday, September 29, 2011

To every season

6 months.  Ally described the day, "The leaves are playing tag with each other." I smiled as the leaves were swirling in a circle. There's magic in every season, something special about each season reminding of us of you.  Today, the breeze gently whispered your name as leaves fell all around.  A yellow butterfly danced in the same wind. After thinking how remarkable it would be to see a green butterfly; the yellow butterfly really was more green.  Oh how our heart aches so much, how we long to see your smile, instead we reach out to  nature like we never have before; inspired by the beauty, feeling your presence in all that surrounds. 

Our aching heart always looking up towards the sky calling your name.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sending you a hug today and everyday

Yesterday, I spent the entire day cleaning the basement.  It is actually in order.  As I cleaned, my heart ached, a pile of pictures, a tub of Valentines, a toy inscribed with Mason's name.  Memories I never to be erased.  It is amazing the smallest things can trigger our emotions.  Even a simple bubble wand. Constant reminders, hugs to our hearts.  A ton of bricks fell on my heart and tears fell as Chris Tomlin's song," I Will Rise" played on the radio. 
 The morning before I dreamed of the most beautiful, colorful butterfly tree, it was like you were saying hello; a glimpse of heaven.

Last night, my parents treated us to dinner at Chili's for "St. Jude" day.  As we colored peppers, Ally spotted the St. Jude emblem, with excitement, she yelled, "Mason".   Her colorful pepper, she proudly and correctly wrote M, A, S, O, N above her pepper.  It was a perfect way to end our night.  It's been almost 6 months, half of a year, our hearts cry out more than ever.  We MISS you.  All we can do is reach for the sky and send you a hug.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Upcoming Events

It's Friday!!  We are looking forward to a fun weekend.  It is hard to believe last year at this time we were walking in the Overland Park parade.  I plan on visiting the craft/arts festival this year.  As I vision myself walking around, I remember Mason picking out a painted rock for Mimi with an inspiring message.  I'll have to ask to read the rock again, it was her Christmas gift. 
We are definitely staying busy, for now it is a good thing.  The piles of clutter I talked about well, I know it's so I always have something to do.  It's good to stay busy.
On September 26, we will be dining at Chili's. Chili's donates all 100% of their net profits to St. Jude on that day. You can help by dining at any Chili's nationwide.  We will wear our green Make a Difference shirts that day and color a pepper in memory of Mason.
We officially signed up for the Jared Coones Memorial 5K pumpkin run in Olathe on October 8. The race raises funds for research and organizations that support cancer patients and their families. Jared lost his battle with leukemia in 1998 and his mother also lost her life after a battle with breast cancer in 2006. Here is the link for more information. http://www.pumpkinrunwalk.org/ 
Mark your calendars for the Thursday, October 13 sale at Maverick's school.  I'll post more information soon. Maverick is thrilled to be raising money for Make a Wish®, the KC Zoo tiger fund and selling cards for Braden's Hope for Childhood Cancer.
Mason, someday I'll march in the parade again for you.  You are our inspiration and we will always remember your courage and bravery. For all those that think they are having a rough time or day, just remember live, laugh, love.  Enjoy today. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Open the door

"Today is the day".  I have said this over and over. Today is the day, I get organized, laundry will get caught up, the house will be clean, I'll play with Ally, I'll work on this and that, etc.   I am a stickler when it comes to thank-yous.  It is very important for me to send thank-yous and I am so behind that instead of writing one, I move on. Those thank-yous are in the back of my mind, and I am thinking of ones I needed to write months ago.  When I mention thank-yous, most tell me, "no problem, no need".  But that isn't like me. In my heart those thank-yous remain and I remember.

I am behind, I recently forgot to send a birthday card to one of my very best friends. This wasn't the first. What was I thinking? It's simple little things and I feel rotten.  There are no excuses.  "So today is the day", I replay in my head.  But the hours disappear.  There is a lost library book, forgotten birthday cards, a house of clutter, a book I need to read, etc. This is NOT me. 
I dreamed of an empty house last night, it was not our house, but it was so comforting.  Thinking about it makes me sad that an empty house brought comfort.  I guess it is a sign I need to spring clean some more.   I was told grief is to blame for all this mix-up, messed up, inability to prioritize, etc, etc..  Grief is not brief; it resides forever inside.  Fear, anxiety, emptiness, guilt, sadness, anger, loneliness, confusion, pain, despair, are friends of grief that attack without warning. I just wanted to share grief with you.  Grief brings all sorts of experiences and the clutter to the table. It can't be swept away or thrown away.   I am not trying to get rid of grief, our family carries it with us. And we are not alone.
Thank you for listening, it helps to share, to write, to know we are not alone.  There are days we carry on and grief keeps its distance, that's when guilt knocks on our door.  But we open the door.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Live, Laugh, Love, Tigers

It was an inspiring day at the KC Zoo, running 4 miles through the Zoo.  I wasn't sure I could finish but I had lots of inspiration along the way.  Even the tiger Coke machine seem to cheer me on. Wouldn't it be AWESOME if next year's race was run for the TIGERS?  This year was the Black-Footed Cat.  It's been a weekend of inspiration.  Maverick is making a difference too. There is even a tiger watching him as he sews.  He is creating lots of Wiscurzoos for an October 13 booth at his school. Not only will he have Wiscurzoos to benefit Make a Wish®, but we will have magnets and tiger ornaments to benefit the KC Zoo .  We love you Mason. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

A phone call

A heavy sigh on my heart, a numbness throughout.  A phone call today letting me know Kimberly had passed away in July.  Kimberly, I met on the most important day of my life.  Not only did I meet her for the first time, but she chose us. She is the reason we became mom and dad. She was Mason's birth mom. Words can not explain, unless you have adopted a child. She holds a special place in our hearts that is indescribable,  she is a true angel. We will always be thankful for her. I wrote letters and sent pictures throughout Mason's journey, never knowing she may be on her own journey of courage.
When Mason was eight years old he asked about his birth mom, all I could share is a Kodak picture and the story of his birth.  Sharing the moment we became mom and dad, the miraculous and best day of our life. I could barely hold him with my shaking knees and pounding heart. A connection like no other.  His first night we never left his sight as we watched his every twitch and move.  We drove straight home the next day; never a more prouder mom and dad.   Mason smiled, he always knew he was adopted; and how God made us family.  It didn't matter to him.   He felt the love.  Mason's only comment, "Why isn't she smiling in the photo?" I explained, she was saying good-bye. But, she chose us to take care of you."  Rest in peace Kimberly, you've always been an angel to us. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


What is a Wiscurzoo? They are invading our house!!  It all began with a drawing and then an idea and the Wiscurzoo was born. Maverick created his first 15 before school started this summer.  The reason, to honor Mason and a desire to help Make a Wish®, Cure for Cancer and the KC Zoo.   After finding out about an upcoming craft fair, Maverick has been busy cutting, sewing, and stuffing.  Mom and dad have been helping too. By the way, I do not sew, Mimi is the one that passed her sewing skills to Maverick. Ally shares her input too, she's the official Hug tester.  It started with various different designs, but for now 2 of the designs have been in production.  Ally's favorite is Maverick's very first one, no longer neglected after being stitched on the wrong side.  She named it Gummi Bear.  Every night before bed she snuggles it close and feels safe protected from monsters.   Maverick is selling each for $6, with $5 going directly to Make-A-Wish Foundation Seasons of Wishes® in memory of Mason.  Once again we will have a Season of Wish® tree and of course our Christmas lighting dedicated to Mason.  So many ideas and events in the upcoming months, so keep checking back.
Below is a sneak peek at some Wiscurzoos, they are soft, lovable and all for a cause. If you are feeling blue, got the flu, just don't know what to do.... Squeeze a Wiscurzoo!

Friday, September 9, 2011


Yesterday a shadow laid over my heart.  Milo our pug of 15 years was put to rest. All I could think about was Mason. For dog years, Milo lived a full and happy life. It was years ago when Bobby our cat was laid to rest; the vet reminded me, "Animals teach us how short life really is." 
I smile to think Mason and Milo reunited again. Mason always wanted a dog to play fetch; and many years ago Milo did just that. 

  Ally reported to any one that would listen, "Milo died today"  It's as natural as the sun rising. It was the news of the day.  "Milo is in heaven with Mason."

Normal day to day things are so far from normal. The little sprinkles sometimes catch me so off guard. For instance, Ally coughed all day. "I am not sick mom."  By lunch time I had a dose of Mucinex to help with her cough.  I was not prepared for the battle. Who would have known? It's so yummy and cherry flavored.  By night time, Ally's cough worsened, she screamed in fear at the mention of medicine.  Begging and fighting with tears, "NO MEDICINE!" She clamped her mouth tightly shut and spit out my forceful attempt.

Later, a light bulb flickered; why on Earth would Ally take medicine?  After all, she witnessed Mason take medicine everyday.  It didn't help him.  In fact he died.  Why take medicine if it makes you die?  What is Ally suppose to think? She learned words like chemo, tumor and brain cancer. And hey, medicine is scarier than plants eating zombies.  All summer long she had a fear of band-aids too.  Mason hated them, it only represented each poke after each blood draw.  And Mason would never let me remove the band-aids.  It was wrong to even try.  Damn cancer.   I am SO awake now.  Ally still coughing, "I am o.k. mom, there must be something in the air"

Sprinkle, sprinkle...I need a rainbow.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Hyundai Hope

Some days...
On a positive note, it is nice to see companies like Hyundai doing something. My mouth dropped when I saw their commercial. Support means so much. Thank you Hyundai we could all use more hope. If you haven't seen the commercial check it out below.
Please say a prayer for 2 families as 2 more DIPG angels are in heaven tonight. Abbie and Jackson, precious little angels.

And please like Get Well Gabby on FB, she needs a lot of prayers right now.Link


Friday, September 2, 2011

Banana Moon

Before I was a mom; I would have never visioned the moon as a bright yellow banana. But tonight; it was so real, a giant banana floating in the sky.
I giggled inside as Ally read a bedtime story "Once upon a time there lived a Princess and after fishing, all her workers were eaten by an owl." " But, wait mom, it is not gross; the owl barfs the workers back out, and then they get the owl with an apple."
Or this afternoon as Ally gazed at the passing clouds; each cloud had a unique shape, an alligator, an umbrella, a tiny puppy dog head. But one cloud was the most beautiful one; it was a butterfly with purple wings and so many colors. It was so beautiful, yet I did not see it. But mom," look it's right there." I could not see; but I smiled because it really was there. Imagination is a gift. It is a shame that as we grow older we lose sight of so much wonder.


Sometimes I wish I could climb aboard the next passing cloud and drift away; if I could just see you one more day.

It's a quiet Friday. I actually just drove for an hour after dropping Ally at preschool. Ally loves school. I actually have written 2 other unpublished posts to be shared someday. It is good for me to write, I feel it is helpful; sometimes I get self-conscious. However, I have learned so much from allowing my heart to be an open door.
I keep having visions. Visions from St. Jude, visions of Mason. I miss his smile so much. My heart has a forever hole that continues to grow deeper. Pain comes and goes; sometimes it keeps its distance and then strikes harder with no warning. You wouldn't know it on the outside. Oreo always senses when the pain is strong, she nudges me and stares. If she could talk she would still say nothing.
I am proud of my family; we are spending more time together. Whether it's a bike ride or dinner time we are there for each other. I am so fortunate to have such an amazing and remarkable husband. He has always been supportive and thankful that I stay at home and raise our kids. I look back; now more than ever, and wouldn't change it for the world. I will always have those memories and time. My two boys at play. And oh how I miss my two boys at play. Memories and treasured love.