Yesterday should have been McKenna's 8th grade graduation. Though she never attended Sowers, the school honored her on the back of the program with the title of honorary graduate and her picture. We were so thankful for their thoughtfulness - for showing that our girl is still present in her community.

We are even more thankful for this group of girls and their families. These are "The Tuesdays" (minus Katie who now lives in Texas), the girls she played soccer and softball with. The ones she ran, played and learned with in school. The ones who stood steadfastly by her side when she was sick. And yesterday, they showed that while she may no longer be by their side, McKenna is still in their hearts.

For graduation, each girl wore a white lei with a butterfly attached in memory of McKenna. Each mom (including me) wore a butterfly pin. We sat with these friends during the ceremony and all I could feel was pride in the beautiful young women these little girls had become. I made it through the ceremony without crying because this was their day, not ours, and I didn't want to make them feel uncomfortable.

But when I got home, I have to admit that there were tears as I studied their picture. The picture of the girls from first grade and the one from yesterday brought into stark relief how much time has actually passed. In our life, McKenna still exists as an almost 8 year old. But these girls are young women. They have grown not only in stature, but their interests have diversified. They are good students and as they enter high school they will swim, cheer, dance, play soccer, study STEM, do CIBACS.....

Looking at their picture reinforced how much we have missed, what has been taken from us, but most importantly from McKenna. I have no idea what her interests would now be, what programs she would be entering in school, whether she would be a moody teenager or still emanate the joy she did as a child. Looking at her picture on the back of the program made clear that McKenna was a little girl when she died, and that her friends are no longer.

That will always be our life. This wondering what she would be, how her story would have read. The further we walk from the time she was here, the more questions we will have, the answers will be less sure. What we do know, though, is that we are so thankful for this community and these friends. We can never quite give justice to how much these gestures of remembrance mean to us. We couldn't ask for anything more.

Except for our girl to be here, smiling in that picture with her friends.
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McKenna and her friends loved to hold lemonade stands on our street corner to raise money for various causes they believed in. To celebrate McKenna’s birthday (August 5th) and pay forward that sense of community, we are inviting kids near and far to hold their own stands in support of pediatric brain cancer research. The simple act of kids pouring their hearts into a cause is not only fun, but shows our youth that they have the power to change the world one glass of lemonade at a time.

To date, the kids of Stand Up & Shine have raised over $90,000 for pediatric brain cancer research.

Knowing summer is filled with family adventure, camps, and commitments, we invite this years MCF Stand Up and Shine kids to hold their lemonade stands as their schedules permit any time in August. We can’t wait to see the energy and creativity of this years participants. Thank you for choosing to be part of the pediatric brain cancer solution.
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Stand Up and Shine Lemonade Stands

August 1, 2017, 8:00am - August 1, 2017, 7:00pm

McKenna and her friends loved to hold lemonade stands on our street corner to raise money for various causes they believed in. To celebrate McKenna’s birthday (August 5th) and pay forward that sense of community, we are inviting kids near and far to hold their own stands in support of pediatric brain cancer research. The simple act of kids pouring their hearts into a cause is not only fun, but shows our youth that they have the power to change the world one glass of lemonade at a time. To date, the kids of Stand Up & Shine have raised over $90,000 for pediatric brain cancer research. Knowing summer is filled with family adventure, camps, and commitments, we invite this years MCF Stand Up and Shine kids to hold their lemonade stands as their schedules permit any time in August. We can’t wait to see the energy and creativity of this years participants. Thank you for choosing to be part of the pediatric brain cancer solution.

This time of year is especially tough for us. Not only was it the beginning of the end, but as school ends and kids move on to new adventures, there are reminders everywhere that McKenna will not.

This popped up on my Facebook under memories yesterday. A picture of McKenna and her friends at the end of 1st grade. What killed me was my comment about taking this picture in the year 2021 (the year McKenna should graduate from high school). We had no clue at the time that a year later McKenna would be in the last weeks of her life. That the foundation of our life as a family would crumble and our lives, as well as those of her friends and family, would be forever changed.

I would do anything to go back to this day. To have my girl here, happy and healthy. To go back to a time when I was naive to the horrors of pediatric cancer and hadn't been conditioned to fear the worst all of the time. To walk through a day without this constant weight on our shoulders. I miss her smile. I miss her voice. I miss her wit and her laughter. I miss our family.

I miss her.

****On a side note - thank you Ms. Nelda for having students at the Eader ukelele concert honor our girl by singing "The Macky Song" last night. It means the world to us that she is remembered.
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