November 20, 2020: Heaven in Color
Kiley's sweet daddy went to be with Jesus on Friday, November 6, 2020 in the early evening. He left a big hole in our hearts. On Saturday, I started dreaming...and I'm quite a last minute, impulsive type person with big dreams. We started dreaming about going to the Grand Canyon. It's somewhere Kiley requested to see early on in her diagnosis. Because of Mike's illness we couldn't be impulsive anymore. We couldn't just drop everything and go. So...after his funeral, we came home. I bought plane tickets at 1:30am Wednesday morning and we were on that plane by Wednesday afternoon. We flew into Phoenix (the girls and I and my sister) rented a Suburban, drove aimlessly finding hotels along the way...at one point we thought we might be the inspiration for a Criminal Minds episode while trying to find a crazy Airbnb (got out of there quick!) In all seriousness, we enjoyed the Grand Canyon, Sedona, and Mesa...but for Kiley, she met God at the Grand Canyon.
Emotions were running high throughout the day. It was cold, girls were tired from the exhaustion of the last few weeks. But I love how God meets us in the middle of our mess. We stayed through sunset. Some of the girls got cold (there was snow on the ground) and went back to the car. I said I was going to stay with Kiley and let her soak in the last bit of light in the Canyon until she was ready. I will never forget that moment with her. The most precious thing. When we got back to the car later, I penned everything I remembered her saying. Picture her standing at the edge of this vast landscape and meeting with her Savior.
The skies are not so blue at our house. —Kiley
It’s soooo awesome. (Quoting Mike)—Kiley
It’s what heaven will be like. His mighty creation. That’s why I want to travel to see all God created...unless you can see it from Heaven. -Kiley
As we were watching the sunsetting over the Grand Canyon, Kiley and I had a few minutes alone.
See the rainbow? (Referring to the way the sky and the Canyon had a beautiful array of hues.) It reminds me of God’s promise.
What promise is that?
Well, to never flood the earth again. But it also reminds me of God’s other promises...like eternity.
Do you see the purple, blues, yellow, orange and pink? And how you can see those colors on the rocks too?
It makes me think of eternity. If people accept Christ they can have this eternity. I wonder if dad sees what we see. He can see so vividly again since he couldn’t see so well before. Some people think of heaven in white. I think it’s in color. God paints his best pictures in color. And people. God paints people in color. And God makes us all beautiful. I think this is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. ️—Kiley
Do you know what song has been in my head all day?
“So will I” by Hillsong United (and she starts singing it )
I had Goodness of God in my head all day (a song from Mike's funeral)
As the sun was going down, there was a lady that saw us trying to take a selfie. She kindly asked if she could take a photo for us. She snapped the pic and handed us back our phone. I kept feeling the Holy Spirit telling me to go thank her. To tell her that her random act of kindness was more than a simple gesture. To tell her that I would always treasure that captured moment. The girls started walking to the car and I listened to that voice. I watched as the same lady offered to take someone else’s photo. When she was done I walked up and shared...
I just wanted to thank you for taking our photo. That random act of kindness was so much bigger than you know. You see, my daughter has brain cancer and the Grand Canyon is something that she wanted to see. (Oh....let me take more!) I assured her that we had plenty and I truly just wanted to say thank you. Then Mike was on my heart and I shared that my husband had just died last Friday of the same kind of cancer. She well...used the Lord’s name in vain as she absorbed the magnitude of all I had just said. Then I said “actually He’s the only one holding me up right now.” She then put her hand over her mouth realizing she had said JC. “I agree, “she commented. “All of this is absolutely beautiful,” I added. “It sure is. “
I’m not sure what will come of that act of obedience on my part, but I listened and the conversation was quite simple but the impact could be huge.
Thinking back to Kiley’s comment, I do wonder what the view is like up there. I think about all that Mike is experiencing.
I was mourning my future but my future is eternity. I think I’ve made that transition to think like dad was thinking. I don’t know why the Grand Canyon popped in my head when I was diagnosed but I think I’ve made that transition now. I don’t know if I’ll be like dad or I’ll be healed or worse. But I’ve made that transition and have been thinking about eternity and sharing Christ when I can.
I don’t know how anyone can see the Grand Canyon and not believe in God. - Kiley
I recently shared with a friend that my relationship with my daughter reminds me of the story of Abraham and Isaac in the Bible. God asks Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac. Abraham obeys God and begins to make the trek to the alter with his son. As Abraham is about to sacrifice his precious son, a ram is provided in the thicket. Abraham's obedience to his God, his whole heart, was what God was really asking for. I feel like Abraham... except God is not asking me to take my child off the alter. My heart. I'm still obeying. I promise you I am.
What's even more precious is that Kiley is willing to lay on the alter. She has an eternal perspective and I'm so thankful that we had that moment...that mountain top experience to meet with our Lord as Kiley had a heart check.
Little did we know God was preparing us in that moment for our week ahead. We returned from our trip late Sunday evening. Monday morning Kiley had a tele-health appointment with Dr. Salacz (who is moving and will no longer be our doctor). Tuesday Kiley had an MRI. Thursday, we were at Children's Mercy with Dr. Ginn as he shared the results of that imaging.
The gut punch is that our Kiley may be joining her daddy, but more importantly her Savior, sooner than we anticipated. Her tumor progression looks like it tripled in size. There's a small ounce of Earthly hope that some of what we see is pseudo-progression (fake progression, more radiation effect)...but really?!? I'm a dreamer, but also know when to have a reality check. The pressure in Kiley's brain is causing bulging into the opposite hemisphere. She's experiencing headaches and some fatigue (like keeping up at the airport). She also complains of some memory loss such as not remembering her favorite Starbucks drink (and she worked at Starbucks for two years). Overall, you wouldn't know she's sick unless she takes off her hat to reveal her scarred scalp and the precious hair starting to grow back in. But...the doctor says..."in another month...she may have a few more months."
I inquired about another trip close to Christmas. Wondering if Kiley would keep her endurance for another adventure. He said, "I hope so."
Kiley has peace that surpasses all understanding. Me? We buried Mike today. I've had several chats with God. I really want a ram in the thicket to show up!
Much love to you all,
Staci, Samantha, Kiley, Avery, Addison & Mackenna
PS: At the moment, we can't think of anything we need. Our fridge is full and are hearts are heavy. We covet your continued prayers at this time. (On the photos, the image on the left is the MRI from this week. The image on the right was from a month ago.)
Show your love and support for Kiley.
Make a donation to CaringBridge to keep Kiley’s site up and running.