For the Love of Krissy: The Day My Daughter Died
In the twilight of my grief
I heard your love like a symphony
Through missing pieces of my heart
Each note carrying a different part
And as these notes rose through the night
Love’s music filled the cracks with light
I wrote this poem for my daughter Kristin who passed away on August 4, 2014, at the tender age of 16-months.
My daughters, Kristin and Katelyn, are the brightest lights I have ever known. That light dimmed with Kristin’s passing. At the time, I didn’t realize she had become one of my greatest teachers in life and this would continue after her death. I became well acquainted with anger, grief, and fear during that tumultuous time. Through her, I also came to know strength, faith, grace, and resiliency.
The greatest lesson my sweet angel has taught me is how to love and appreciate life.
She showed me that it is possible to go on even after the world knocks you to your knees and you feel helpless and defeated. Kristin was a fighter. She came into this world fragile but determined and she proved so many people wrong in her short time here with us. She also taught me how to love and appreciate life through the way she found joy in the simplest of things. Her gentle smile and the way she would tenderly put her hand on your face brought out a softness in everyone who knew her. I knew when she was born that there would be struggles but I never in a million years imagined I would lose her.
Her death was a catalyst for immense change. I was forced to be stronger than I ever wanted to be. I was forced to come face-to-face with one of my greatest fears…the loss of a child.
At the time, I had no idea of the blessing I would receive as I crawled my way through what can only be described as Hell. I was reminded of the wellspring of strength that laid just beneath the surface. Though it had been there all along I had forgotten it existed. This discovery, which somehow arose through the fog of devastation, spurred an intense shift in the very core of my being.
My journey to uncovering this strength came as I sat at her bedside, knowing in my heart of hearts that she was fading, and I promised her that I would go on living in her honor; that I would carry on a legacy of love that she had started in her short time with us.
You see, Kristin was born with Goldenhar Syndrome, a rare disorder that affects a child’s craniofacial and body development often leaving them disfigured and in need of numerous surgeries. In some cases, the deformities are so severe that the child does not survive.
In Kristin’s case, her first surgery is what led to her death.
During her 16 months on this planet, we ran a fundraiser to help support the medical expenses that were to arise from her medical care and surgeries. Through this fundraising, the world got to know my sweet Kristin and she inspired so many to go beyond what they thought possible. The outpouring of support from around the globe renewed my and many others’ faith, and belief in humanity as a whole.
This was the legacy I promised to carry on in Kristin’s name—hope and love.
Even though my life was ripped off of its foundation, and I was left staring into an abyss of uncertainty, I found comfort in knowing that she watched on from the other side. I still feel her presence and her gentle reminders to keep my promise.
When I lay awake in bed, cursing the day or someone who crossed me, I remember her lesson—Love. I remember that each day I am given, even the “bad” ones, are days that she will never get to live. I try to remember to let go and forgive so that I can make room in my heart for love.
And, I hold her little hand in my dreams and thank her for everything that she has taught me.
I tell this story because I believe it is important for others to know that they can keep going even after a devastating loss. We owe it to those we’ve lost to live for them, to bring love to the places and people that hurt like we do, and to show our beloveds that we honor their lives—no matter how long or short—by not giving up.