This is Kylee. She fought the same monster I did – neuroblastoma – and she lost her life to it. Her mama Misty reached out to me on Facebook, and we’ve ended up with a deep friendship. I wrote a little bit of the following post last March, when Kylee should have been turning 7. This year, Kylee has been gone for the same amount of time as she was here, and Misty asked me to repost this story (again, I only had the first couple paragraphs) on March 23rd, Kylee’s 8th birthday. I asked her if she’d like me to write a little more to this story, and she said YES!
And so here goes… For my beautiful friend and soul sister Misty and and her amazing Kylee with BIG LOVE!
When I see you again, I imagine you’d look just like this. You’d look up. You’d smile. You’d stand up and run into my arms. I’d kiss your little face like there was no tomorrow and squeeze you until you squeaked in protest. And then, you’d insist on showing me around. It’s safe here, and you were waiting for me.
“I think I only left you yesterday,” you’d say, “but I know for you it was longer. Come on, you gotta meet my friends!”
And you’d take my hand and pull me along. And it’d be okay, because I had you in my arms again, and the memories and hurt of the times you weren’t were already fading.
“You okay, baby girl?” I’d ask, and I think I’d keep on asking it because I’d have trouble believing that this is real, that we were together again.
“Mommy, look at me,” you’d say, and I gaze upon your pixie face, the face that was healthy again, full of light and laughter, and all the things you were, once upon a time.
“Kylee,” I’d say. It’s strange that I don’t cry, but maybe here in this place, there would be no need for tears.
You’d smile then. “It’s all right,” you’d say. “What happened to me doesn’t matter anymore. I know you fought for me. And I know you always fought for me, even when I wasn’t there, even when you couldn’t feel me. I know it was hard without me. But you see, there’s no need to be sad anymore.”
I’d get down on my knees and look you in the eyes. “I’m not sad anymore, bug,” I’d say. “But our family…”
“They will join us when it’s their time,” you’d say, your tiny shoulders shrugging. “We can watch them in the pond. I have a garden here, Mommy. It’s a garden just for me. But if you want, I’d share it with you.”
You’d tug me to my feet, surprisingly strong for your small size.
“You have a garden?” I’d ask when we start walking again.
You’d smile, and do a little skip, your free arm flinging out, your right hand clinging tight to my left. “It’s a ladybug garden!”
“Oh, really?” I’d say.
“Yes, Mommy. You can have anything here. All you have to do is think of it first. You can’t wish for anything bad, though. That’s the only rule.”
“Is this… Heaven?”
“Part of it,” you’d answer. “It’s bigger than you think because everybody comes here. Bigger than earth.”
I’d want to keep you talking, could revel in the sound of your sweet little four year old voice for all of eternity. You’d not age, and maybe, a little voice inside me whispered, you were waiting for me to celebrate your fifth birthday. The thought breaks my heart. It’s been decades on earth since you left. I touch my face with my free hand – my other was holding on to you – and felt my smooth skin.
“Look over there!” You’d shout then, dropping my hand and waving both arms over your head. “There are my friends. HO HEY!” You’d shout the last part and when the children in the distance saw you, they’d start waving back.
“My mommy’s here! Come join us in my garden! We’re having a party!”
“Party?” I’d ask as we walk.
“It’s what we do here when somebody comes home,” you’d explain, and you lead me past perfectly manicured lawns, houses, and other buildings, as well as buildings that weren’t for living in. I wouldn’t look too closely at my surrounding because I’m too enamored with you.
“Look down,” you’d say. “Look down at what you are walking on.” And I do, and my breath catches. Should you even breathe here? I can’t speak so I don’t ask. Maybe later.
Gold. Golden, shimmery streets. My worn out shoes look pathetic standing on it, and the moment I’d think that, the shoes disappear and are replaced by the most comfortable purple slippers ever.
I’d look at you. “Did you do that?”
You’d shake your head. “You can make things happen here just by thinking it,” you’d explain. “But you have to be careful. The angels are very strict about not doing things for personal gain.”
“They will be at the party,” you’d say happily, and then you’d pull me into your garden. And I’d be surprised, but not, at the same time.
It was a ladybug garden, just as you’d said. Ladybugs scurry visibly on leaves, on the picnic tables, even on the fence.
You allow me two heaven seconds to take it all in, and then you lead me over to a pond in the middle of the garden.
“Show me my family on earth,” you’d demand, and the water would begin rippling even though nothing was happening to it. And then… and then… I’d see my three other children, and my husband, sitting in my backyard – well, it’s not mine anymore, I guess – talking, laughing through their tears. They miss you. They miss me. And yet, I’d feel peace because I am with you again and everything’s all right.