Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Kerry Girl

This is Kerry, and barely a week ago, she died unexpectedly after surgery to correct a vicious infection. Kerry was three years old. Kerry's mother, Kristin, a woman whom I have never met, sent me the following email a few days ago, and I was quite suddenly yanked up and out of the abyss where I had been resting.

Hi there Elizabeth, I wanted to reach out to you for thanks.  Our three year old daughter, Kerry, passed away almost a week ago.  Her service was held just yesterday at our family's church.  Your extreme parenting video was shown to the 200+ people that attended. 
Kerry was diagnosed with infantile spasms shortly after her first birthday, and I so appreciated you and the rest of the bloggers I found that were able to put into words what I was and am are unable to express. During the service our pastor mentioned your "her eyes will sustain you" as a particular image that stood out to him.
i just wanted you to know that your video has reached so many people, and to thank you for putting into words what I have been feeling these past three years.

Thank you more than you will ever know,
Contrary to what some of you might think or even be feeling yourself, being yanked out of the abyss where I was resting was not, emphatically not, because I felt blessed, because my children were alive and not like little Kerry, gone far too soon. Kristin's astoundingly generous email to me and to you, the other parents that participated in the extreme parenting video, didn't separate me from her or my Sophie from her Kerry. I did not, for a moment, think Oh, thank God. Them, not me. Her, not her. Kristin's hand didn't reach into the abyss but was, I think, always there. I have been struggling to articulate this for days, this grace that descended in the form of an email from a stranger.

We are all connected. All the time. 

Since that email, I have exchanged many words with Kristin and learned a bit about her beautiful little girl Kerry. Kerry and her twin brother Matt were born early in Colorado to parents who had long awaited children. It was clear that Kerry had some congenital abnormalities, and soon after birth she had her first seizure and was later diagnosed with infantile spasms. While the seizures were quickly controlled with medication, Kerry had developmental disabilities and made slow progress, but her family provided her with all the necessary treatments and of course, love. Kristin wrote this:

Therapies continued, head control was getting stronger, more avocados being eaten, plans being made for preschool and we got braver when taking her places in her toddler wheelchair.  I did not handle the stares well, I must say.  Many "chin down, eyebrows up" looks from me to people who looked a little too long.  She also loved to sing...her songs were mostly drawn out vowels mixed with short consonants, but they were truly her.  She supplied the soundtrack for our days.  Scarves became her favorite texture, she would feel and stroke the fabric against her skin...finally found a use for my mothers satin pillowcases!  

Kerry died after surgery to correct a massive infection in her ear, and Kristin told me that she hopes that her little girl is not forgotten. Please help me to help Kristin know that Kerry will not be forgotten, that this little girl who loved avocados and scarves, who sang to her family and provided the soundtrack to their days, is connected to each of us. Please let Kristin know that we are connected, all the time.

Thank you, Kristin, for sharing your little Kerry with me and for allowing me to share her with others. I am so sorry, so saddened by your loss, by our loss. We are all connected. All the time.


  1. I truly do believe (and not in some hippy-dippy, airy-fairy, new age way) that ALL IS ONE.
    This is an example.
    We are all connected and the loss of this beautiful girl IS our loss.
    We find these pathways to each other. We never know. Sometimes we find out, just a little. We are astonished.
    Sending love out along the pathways to Kerry's family. Thanking you for being one of my pathways.

  2. What a beautiful little girl. Thank you Kristen and Elizabeth for sharing her with us. What a sweet little love bug. And that video at her service. Be still my heart.


  3. She is so cute, and what a strong, old-soul, humorous gaze she has! I can just picture her singing.
    I agree with you that we are all connected, all brothers and sisters under heaven, and each one's joy is shared, as each one's loss is also felt by the others. Thank you for sharing Kerry's story and her photos here. As part of your "tribe," I hold Kerry and her family in my heart.

  4. Not only are we all connected, but we all have gifts....you, Kerry and Kristen are the proof.

  5. I am stunned, speechless and to tears. Kerry, Kristin, Elizabeth, all of us--yes. "Kristin's hand didn't reach into the abyss but was, I think, always there"--this is a profound truth. Thank you for articulating it.

  6. We are all connected. And we all feel the loss. Rest well, Kerry.

  7. Beautiful message, beautiful girl. Yes, we are all connected!

  8. Rest in peace beautiful child!


  9. Thank you for sharing that beautiful little girl with us. I am mourning with all of you.

    And there is a reason that people reach out to you Elizabeth (and I should know) - you embody that connectness you spoke about by sharing your family and yourself with the world. Thank you.

  10. Absolutely. The ripples, the oneness, the connection. That's what it's all about, whether we believe it or not. Thank you to Kristin for taking the time to reach out and acknowledge the work and love that went in to that video. Thank you, Elizabeth, for sharing her words with your readers. Love all around.

  11. Sweet and precious Kerry, you will not be forgotten.

    Thank you Kristen for unselfishly sharing your broken heart with Elizabeth.

    Thank you Elizabeth for your vision for this video and for encouraging me to step out of my comfort zone and participate in it. We truly never know the people we will touch and the difference we can and will make,by sharing our stories. I really should know this by now.

    This comes to mind. One of my favorites from, believe it or not, Albert Einstein
    "Strange is our situation here upon earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to a divine purpose. From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we know: That we are here for the sake of others ... for the countless unknown souls with whose fate we are connected by a bond of sympathy. Many times a day, I realize how much my outer and inner life is built upon the labors of people, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received." ~Albert Einstein

  12. Found through a friend's share on Facebook. Thank you Elizabeth and Kristin for telling this moving story. Sending appreciation and "ripples" from New York City.

  13. Thank you for your part in weaving the web that reminds us of our connectedness.

  14. Sharing in the loss and love of beautiful Kerry.
    I am with you dear Kristen, wishing you peace and sending you courage from afar.
    Thank you Elizabeth for this beautiful tribute and for building these bonds between us.

  15. I too have been touched and inspired so many times by connecting through your site Elizabeth like you Kristen. Thank you for finding strength and reaching out to share a bit of Kerry's many joys. Hugs from a touched heart in Rhode Island.

  16. Thank you, Elizabeth, for allowing us to meet Kerry. And thank you, Kristin, for so generously sharing your beautiful girl with us, even in your loss. The threads that bind us together are soaked in love. I am humbled.

  17. A big amen. I love that your video was used in that way - wow.

  18. Kristin, I am so sorry.


  19. A reach out to Kristin. A reach out to you. Your children are beautiful and are perfect. I know you will see your baby again Kristin. Her eyes are not done sustaining you.

  20. Wow.
    How amazing Elizabeth.
    I love what you say that we are all connected, it's so easy to forget when we have our dark days.
    This little girl was so cute, I can't imagine.
    Thanks for continuing to share your story.

  21. Elizabeth and Kristen - thank you for sharing a small part of beautiful Kerry with us. She will not be forgotten. She is in my heart now. Sweet Jo

  22. thinking of little Kerry, and sending love to all.

  23. So glad I read this today. - thank you, Elizabeth. Sending love across the universe to two wise mamas. Kristen, my heart goes out to your whole family and circle of friends in your loss. Kerry has that look of a soul how knew exactly what she was here to do.

  24. As I read your post, I felt the ripples of Kerry's life and love spreading outward.

  25. dear elizabeth and dear kristin: thank you for reminding all of us out here ... twisting in the wind ... of what is important.

  26. Thank you Elizabeth and Kristin. I,too, have been dancing around the edge of the abyss as life throws us challenges. I feel the connection and watch again the video in which I was honored to be a participant. I will wear a scarf every morning for this dark winter season and vow to speak the sweet name of Kerry to honor her memory.

  27. It has taken me too long to thank all of you. I've read your comments over and over again, thank you for not only thinking of our Kerry, but also celebrating her time with us.



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