Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Hope Anchors The Soul...

Dear Aunt Kate, the letter began...

The day we talked on the phone, I went to work and as I was unlocking my bike to leave, God really directed my eyes straight to this item in the store window.
I told my roommate to hold on - that I needed to go put this on hold for my Aunt.  I only had with me the three dollars I made in tips.  I believe God lined it all up again when my roommate offered to lend me the money and had with her exactly how much it cost.

I was holding it so proudly and almost crying as I was paying for it.  Then I really had tears in my eyes to hold back when the man at the store told me the plank was wood from Hurricane Sandy.
It helped me think about the beauty of how from devastation, Hope can come soaring in and "anchor the soul."  I saw the imagery of a soul floating out to sea after the destruction of a hurricane, or for the metaphor - loss of a child - but hope anchors the soul back ashore when there's not much else that could have done that.

It is such a miracle that you are pregnant - I am just so amazed, it's hard to find words.  Since you talk about Gavin loving the shore so much, I know he helped me find this plan of wood from Hurricane Sandy and the beauty of this message in Stone Harbor.  I'm always praying for you, Aunt Kate... and Brian, Uncle Ed and Gavin.

With so much love,


I have the most incredible family - and each of my 17 nieces and nephews are thoughtful, compassionate and kind.  This gift - and this letter (shared with permission!) - means so much to me. Honestly, I am not sure which I love more... the plank or the letter.  I do know I will treasure them both forever.  Julia has so many qualities that my Dad had - a deepness that belies her years... an incredible, almost poetic, letter writer... and a strong faith.

Today we were excited to meet up with Julia at her summer job in Stone Harbor!
She made delicious smoothies for us - a first for Brian AND Granny!  
Then she walked with us around town as we meandered in and out of shops.  I bought some cute things for Hope.  Ed and I have a tradition of sorts - every time I've been pregnant we have bought the baby things from Stone Harbor.  Many of the boys "guys" as we call them are from here.  They are little blankies with animal heads made by Angel Dear.  We are obsessed with them and the boys have quite a collection.  Brian still sleeps with ALL of his.  Today we got Hope the first three of her collection!  The Pink Owl, The Striped Zebra and the Bunny.  Brian got a kick out of seeing "girl guys" for his little sister!

Before we met up with Julia, we spent most of the day at the Cape May County Zoo (my favorite zoo ever).  
It was a gorgeous day.  One of the things I love about this zoo is it's mostly shaded and has beautiful boardwalk like walking paths through the exhibits.  It's hard to believe that this zoo is FREE and only accepts donations!!

Brian had a great time.  He got to feed some goats...
 ...and see some Giraffes from the perfect Giraffe height!  On Daddy's shoulders!  
And he loved checking out Mommy's favorite, the Zebras, with cool binoculars.
Another great day "down the shore" as us Philly folk say.


  1. The sun shines just beyond the clouds. What an incredible family you have. God bless you all. :-)

  2. Your niece has a beautiful heart.

  3. I hope and pray that my daughter (8 months!) has a faith and a spirit like your niece when she's older. I teach high school in the Bronx, so it means so much to come across a kid with that sense of kindness and thoughtfulness.

  4. What a beautiful gesture and that letter is precious!

  5. I just love this post. What a special niece...

  6. I absolutely love this. What a special niece...with a big heart.

  7. How perfect is your niece!? What a compassionate young lady she is! Angel Dear is the best, we have the striped zebra for our daughter and she doesn't go anywhere without it (we actually have several, just in case)!

  8. I love to know that you - a total stranger to me - are surrounded by loving family. The post I'm looking forward to most is the one that says "Hope is here".

  9. So special and thoughtful. Hope will have a beautiful cousin to look up to.

  10. We call the Angel Dear animals loveys. Both of our children started with 3 bunnies (Blue and pink) This allowed us to rotate them through the wash and have a spare just in case. They are still a favorite although they are getting to look a little like the "velveteen bunny" if you know what I mean.

  11. I love the phrase "girl guys"!

  12. Dear Kate,
    I only found your site less than 2 weeks ago and I have been reading and reading and reading, with so much still to go. How is it possible to feel this closeness to a family that I have never met? It is through the gift of your writing. I have been celebrating your joys and grieving your losses. I am in awe of your ability to write through your pain and to continue to nurture and care for those of us that follow your blog. What a generous gift you bring us every day...thank you! I pray that the joy of Gavin's soul will not only continue to live through you and your family, but that his light will shine on forever. If today's post is any indication, you are blessed beyond measure with both loving, supportive, faith filled family and friends. Please know that even beyond that, is a blog world full of love and support. I am keeping your family in my thoughts and prayers and sending a cyber hug to your beautiful niece Julia.

  13. I just want to tell you how much I appreciate your blog, and what a sincere, intelligent, gifted blogger I think you are! I discovered it shortly after Gavin's passing, as my son is a regular patient at A.I. Dupont Hospital for Children as well, and we had heard of his story. The stories of our children bear many similarities, and even though I have never shared most of it with others, I find it amazing that you capture so much of my very same emotions, struggles, and triumphs in your writing. Best wishes to you with the new baby, and may you and Gavin and your entire family continue to touch many lives and hearts!


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