Monday, November 7, 2011

A long post about the all-too-often shortness of this one PRECIOUS life.

Dear friends,

I write to you this evening because Heaven has gained another angel.
Our stamping friend Katie Renz is now safe and pain-free in the arms of Jesus.

I can't stop thinking about the three young children and doting husband Katie leaves behind.   There is relief in the fact that Katie isn't in the agonizing pain she has been in, but so many questions and so much left to understand when we realize a mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend, and so much more has been taken from so many who loved her...

Shortly after the news of Katie's passing today, I received an email from Kate at I {heart} papers with some info I'd love to pass on to you.   Most of you remember our "SWIMMING FOR KATIE" event that we had a few weeks back to raise money for her husband Kevin and the boys.    To read more about the initial event, please click HERE.

Katie's family needs us now more than ever.  Her dear husband Kevin's birthday is the 17th of this month.  Her twins share my sweet baby Ava's birthday on the 19th of this month...they will be 6 just like my baby girl will be.   Katie and I used to chat about all we had in common in that regard.   We both have twins, and had kids who shared a bday, shared the fact that we were both adopted, lots of things.  I shared a story of how I "met" Katie on that post, but as I've been following her journey, especially as of late, I realized that if it hadn't been for Katie's encouragement, I might not have ever gone out for a design team.   

Three years later, looking at where I am now, it's  due in large part to Katie's encouragement.  I used to ask her tons of questions about being on DT's and she would always tell me to go for it!  She helped me grow some confidence in submitting my first DT application and I remember getting emails from her after I started posting announcements here and there saying "Look at you go, girl!"   I don't think I will ever forget that.  Boy do I wish I had saved more of our emails.  I will always have those memories etched o my heart though.

Sweet Katie, your light shines through so many crafters who have been sharing stories today on how they knew you....even the ones who don't know you have your strength, courage, and all you were so willing to share with us, both personally and creatively, indelibly etched on their hearts as well.

Life is so short.   
I remember thinking when my Father in law passed away from cancer last year and accepted God shortly before he died that miracles really do exist.  I have spent so much time praying for miracles that didn't happen the way I prayed for them too...for his life to be saved, to reconcile with someone who I really care about that just doesn't get it...and jut recently for Katie to be saved....but the truth is, there are still miracles that have occurred.   A man who never really had peace,  who I never thought cared much for me, thanked me for taking care of him and told me he loved me and although there was constant upheaval in the process, there was peace and understanding in the end.  There was love and the true meaning of family in the end...and the greatest gift was that he accepted God before he passed onto Heaven.    I didn't know how my husband was going to get through such a deep, painful loss but he is working through it and our marriage is so strong now.  That, too, a miracle.  

We think we can make decisions, and sure, we have free will, but we don't know how our stories are going to pan out regardless of whether or not we think we do.  So much of our life is written for us and most of us never realize that until it's too late. 
"We make plans...God laughs."

I think it goes something like that.   As for our Katie girl, what a miracle to see the love she spread and the whirlpool effect it will have for years to come.   Although in this life, I will never understand why a young mother has to leave three young children and the love of her life to this awful disease, I see so many tiny miracles in the kindness of her...of the people coming together who know her...and it renews my faith even when I want to doubt things.

How can I doubt what I see when a community of strangers comes together to rally around a family they barely know with amazing tributes, cards, donations and most of all, strong prayers.

How can I doubt when I have witnessed the acceptance of a kind and merciful God by those who have spent years...sometimes their whole lives even, denying Him?

There is so much we don't understand...but for now, I will leave you with a huge note of thanks.  Sure, my family thought I was crazy when I began forging what I believe to be life-long friendships with people I met online.   People who came together with a common thread or two that wind up so much a part of your daily life you don't know what you ever did without them.   Even the ones who touch your heart from time to time that you don't speak with on a regular basis.

There is one thing about this community that I know.  No matter what you might hear or think, we are bound together by a golden thread and that gold is 24 karat.  It's kindness.  It's heart and soul, and it's love.   It's you, it's me, it's Katie....and so many others who have and will continue to touch our lives.

Farewell, to our friend...Katie.    I'm wearing the above bracelet for you today...because paradise is where I believe you are.  I believe you are safe in Heaven and am sending so many prayers to lift your family up at this time when they need it most.  God bless your family and may you finally rest after such a long and courageous fight.

Photobucket
For those of you wishing to send sympathy cards, birthday cards for the ones I mentioned coming up, etc...please send to:
The Renz Family
PO Box 5913
Bellingham, WA 98227-5913




Birthdays:
Kevin - Nov 17
Will and Nate (will be turning 6) - Nov 19
Hunter (will be turning 12) - Dec 1

11 comments:

Michelle said...

Well said, my friend. Well said!

Jackie Pedro said...

Beautifully written, Jessica. Hugs to you. You are truly a beautiful person.....inside and out! {{{HUGS}}}

Julie Tucker-Wolek said...

Beautifully written... prayers going to her family....

My Angel said...

Beautiful Jess~ RIP Katie!! My prayers for her family!

~Marcy

marilyn said...

What a wonderful tribute to your friend. Sending hugs to you!

Debbie Carriere said...

What a beautiful, heartfelt post, Jess! You are an amazing friend and person. Sorry that you lost such a dear friend. I never met Katie, but like many I got to know her through her blog over the past year or so. I lost my mother to cancer when I was 8, so I was especially touched by her story. Praying for her sweet children and Kevin. Take comfort in knowing they have a new angel watching over them. ((hugs)) to you...

Naomi said...

Jess, I wanted to comment on this earlier but, I just didn't really know what to say...well, I still don't...
This post is so thoughtful and beautifully written. I am so sorry for the loss of your friend but, even moreso, I am sorry for her family's loss. I didn't know Katie but, it is clear that her light and strength has touched and inspired us all and will continue to live on.

Elena said...

Very-very heartfelt post, Jessica...
I am so really sorry that Katie is not with us anymore... When I first heard her story, I just couldn't stop thinking about her... Just like you, I have so many questions in my head...
Katie's life toched so many hearts and lifes, and I think this was a miracle...
Sending you my hugs, Jessica!
And thank you writing this post... <3

Darla said...

Thanks for sharing Jess! You really know how to put heartfelt feelings into words. We'll have to catch up soon - busy week this week, but maybe next week? I hope for the best for Katie's family. And hope you are all well.

Katie Cotton said...

very very well said. Hang in there!

Lorraine said...

I stopped by for the hop, but saw this post and was touched instead. I am so sorry for the loss of your friend. I never met Katie, but followed her blog after her diagnosis. Her strength, courage, love & grace through the ordeal provided so much inspiration to many around the world. My heart is heavy since hearing about her passing and have not felt like crafting. But if I can help by making birthday cards or gifts for her family, then I will turn my energy towards that. Thank you so much for sharing your stories. Bless you.