Last night we met up with the Cooks at the store “Team Active” in Battle Creek, Michigan. It is an amazing bike store! Their kind support last year allowed Eric to develop “Pedaling with a Purpose” which is where thanks to many generous and compassionate donors, he raised $12,000 for the Children’s Neuroblastoma Cancer Foundation. When I try to make sense of why Christi had to endure all she did – ultimately giving her life, I can only try to find some comfort in the good things that came about as a result of her journey. As a result of Eric’s insight and compassion, “Pedaling with a Purpose” was formed and it continues today with MANY wonderful organizing and charitable groups benefiting!
At the store last night, Mr. & Mrs. Cook did something entirely too generous. They bought Shayla a TREK bicycle and we are still shaking our heads at them. (Of course Eric’s only laughing at Shayne, “Just because her bike is nicer than yours!”) Shayla was ready to move up to a bike with 24 inch tires, but she had been afraid of them. After working with Eric, not only did she learn how to handle the bigger bike, but she was also able to understand how to use the hand-breaks (new to her) and a few other interesting things. The Cooks certainly spoiled Shayla.
They also took her to meet the owner and President of TREK Bicycle Company (Dick Burke) who was at the store last night for the their 14th annual End of Winter party! Amazing!
During our time at the store, I kept reflecting back to August – not so long ago, when Christi & Shayla were both able to ride the bikes around their amazing “test track”. I still can’t fathom how quickly she passed. It seems like she was JUST HERE and now I keep looking around for her. This week we didn’t have school on Wednesday due to the black ice and fog so I worked for hours organizing some of my treasured Christi’s possessions into the hope chest at the foot of our bed. I figured her things would be better kept in plastic tubs in the basement; however, I wanted it close by – just in case I wanted to get out some of her art work, or sweet funeral cards that were sent, etc. With many tears, I worked on the organization project. I just kept wiping the tears away thinking so this is all that’s left of her wonderful nine years of life? This is it? I know we have wonderful memories and photos, but it seems like such an amazing persons should encompass more than the contents of a hope chest.
Cemetery Funny: While building the snowman at the cemetery, Shayla tossed a snowball at Shayla. Shayla turned around and Shayne said, “Christi, do that again and you’re grounded.” Well, he threw snow at Shayla and again and when she turned around Shayne replied, “That’s it, Christi. You’re grounded!” Shayla thought it was very funny!
Ash Wednesday Funny: Since we didn’t have school due to inclement weather, Shayla and I joined Shayne at St. Mary’s. It was the first time we had been back to that church since Christi’s funeral. I knew it’d be hard and thankfully, we sat in the very last pew. After getting our ashes Shayla and I took off for Toledo for her vision therapy and on our way home Shayne was working late so I asked her if she wanted to stop at Pizza Hut to try the new cheesy bites pizza we’ve seen advertised on TV. At the counter to place our order six young men were standing around. One said, “You have dirt or something on your forehead.” Another one added, “Looks like just a smudge of something.” I knew exactly what they were talking about, but I wanted to have some fun. I said to Shayla, “Shayla, I don’t think these boys were in church today or they’d know today is Ash Wednesday.” She picked up her bangs and told them, “See, I have ashes too.” We definitely had our fun as the embarrassed young men slowly slipped away.