Today is McKenna Claire’s Birthday

by Kristine Wetzel
August 5, 2013

Ten years ago today you were born. We had waited for you for so long, and the day you arrived, you made our family complete.

From your very first day here on earth, you brought joy and laughter into our world. I love this picture of you because it embodies everything I think of when I think of you. You may have only been 2 weeks short of your 8th birthday when we lost you, but you already knew so much. You embraced life, loved to laugh, spent time with friends, explored the world, learned about new things.

From a young age, you knew what was important in life. You taught us so much in the short time you were here, and you continue to touch others and show them what is important, even though you are no longer physically present.

Macky, this day is the hardest to bear, and we all miss you so much. I want to be baking cupcakes and decorating the house, waiting for a gaggle of ten year old girls to come to a swim party. Instead, I sit in front of the computer, watching videos and looking at pictures of what was.

I am so proud to have been your mommy, baby girl. I wouldn’t trade any of the pain for the almost 8 years we had with you, but I would certainly trade my life for yours. I would give anything to have you back, to have been able to take the pain away. Mommy feels so guilty for having brought you into this world, but not being able to help you when you needed it most.

I remember getting the angel picture with your birth statistics at a shower we had after you were born. I remember crying when I got it, and people being surprised. I didn’t used to be a crier, I was a tough chick. It makes me wonder now. Did I know somehow that my time with you would be short?


A card from McKenna’s baby shower

Sometimes I wonder if we both knew. You were always so independent and sure of yourself, yet you were definitely a momma’s girl and needed moments of quiet snuggles as well. And I always felt so protective of you, even more so in the months before you were diagnosed. It is as if I had a premonition of bad things to come.

Mommy is sorry for being so sad on your birthday. You brought us nothing but joy, sweet girl. You continue to shine your light on us, even though you are not here. We saw it yesterday, in the faces of the kids at your lemonade stands. We see it in the progress that is being made because of your cell lines. You still connect with people and draw them in to your light.

I know your legacy will be the hope that is given to other children diagnosed with DIPG, I just selfishly wish that it wasn’t you that had to give your life for it. I don’t wish this on any child or parent, but I just want my baby back.

We love you to the moon and back (and even higher). Happy Birthday, love bug.


P.S. – For those of you who didn’t know Macky, this is a link to her memorial video. Although long, I think it shows why we use the word “shine” when we talk about her.

Visit the McKenna Claire Foundation on Facebook and “Like” their page to learn more about McKenna’s life and legacy, and see how McKenna Claire Foundation is working with St. Baldrick’s to help deliver more effective, less invasive treatments to children with cancer.