The first balloon ever released...

The first balloon ever released...

Friday, July 18, 2014

Pink Dress

After McKenna passed away decisions were having to be made quickly. I have never lost someone so close to me before and was surprised at how many decisions you have to make after someone passes away. It's like planning for a wedding with 48 hours notice and no one is happy about it. You have to pick the location, who you want to speak, who you want to invite, time, colors, songs, pictures, videos, food, announcements, invitations, and the list goes on and on. It's exhausting! I don't know how anyone can make that many decisions so quickly and try to deal with the loss of a loved one but for some reason I was obsessed with getting the service figured out. I just needed it done.

Once we decided to do a balloon ceremony I thought everything would be down hill from there but I could not be further from the truth. Trying to find a location that allowed balloons to be released and hold a ton of people was very difficult. Ironically the first place I said I wanted it at was a park near my house that we had gone to many times. (It is actually the same park that I would always go walking on when I was 9 months pregnant with McKenna trying to get her out of me!) For some reason we tried to find a different place, we searched all day till everyone was warn out and grumpy and then just ended up going back to original idea = the park! Then all of the other planning fell into place thanks to family and friends.

The night before the service I did not have an outfit to wear, I had gotten so caught up in planning that I had forgotten all about it. My husband, Dominic, and Zoe had theirs and looked great. The boys both got a 3 piece grey suit with blue button down shirts and ties. I figured I would get something in blue too. My friend took me out shopping that night and the first dress we found was pink with a "sweet heart" chest line. It was very simple and had a 60's house wife kinda look to it. Although I liked it I have never been one for pink and was still in search for the perfect blue dress so we moved away from it and kept looking. We spent hours searching for a dress and I was miserable. I told my friend "How can I find the right dress? There is no such thing! How can I find the perfect dress for my daughters FUNERAL! I DONT WANT TO DO THIS, NONE OF THESE DRESSES ARE WHAT I AM LOOKING FOR AND THEY NEVER WILL BE! I WANT MY DAUGHTER AND... I am trying to find a dress that encompasses my daughter and that is never going to happen!!!" I was ready to quit and wear something I already owned but then my friend convinced me to go back and try the pink dress again. I was resistant but ended up buying the dress anyway. After we bought it the rest of the outfit seemed to just fall into our hands. We quickly found matching pink shoes, pink bracelets, pink earrings and a pink flower for my hair. I have never warn so much pink in my life!

When my friend saw it all put together she started to tear up and said how much she loved it and how it truly reminded her of McKenna. I thought about it and realized that the last time I saw McKenna she was in all pink. She was in pink shoes, with a pink shirt, pink pants, and a Spiderman hat. I looked in the mirror and had never seen myself in such an outfit, it gave me a different look, it was... soft. It wasn't too tight or to loose, too short or too long. It was perfect in every way and I knew that this is exactly what she wanted me to wear. I knew she wanted to see her mommy in her favorite color as we prepared to say goodbye. It was her little way of telling me that she was always with me, that she would always be mine.

The morning of the service I got up early to get ready, not that I could really sleep that night anyway. I was just waiting for the time to tick by so we could get this over with. I was already dressed and almost ready by the time my husband woke up. He looked up and stared at me then immediately began to cry. "You look amazing, I have never seen you look like that before. It reminds me so much of McKenna." We both began to sob and hold each other as I told him the difficult time I had yesterday trying to find just the right dress and how she led me to this one. We finished getting ready and went to the funeral. So many comments where made about the dress, so many people mentioned how they had never seen me in pink before and how I seemed to be glowing. How could I possibly be glowing in such a dark time? How could anything have light when I felt so much despair? It was my Kenna Bear. She was there to shine her light through me. To give hope not only to me, but to my husband, our family, our friends, and now even strangers.

The service is mostly a blur, I remember it being a beautiful day, I remember lots of hugs, lots of tears, and lots of balloons. My sister spoke, my husband spoke, and even I unexpectedly decided to speak. We all shared a memory of her, tried to make a smile and laugh, and did the traditional heart felt thought. I only remember one thing that I said, it was the very first words to come out of my mouth, "McKenna always left me wanting more, it took me a year of trying to get pregnant with her till we finally got her. I wanted to be around her more and more everyday she was here with me and I want her even more now that she is gone. I will always want more, it wasn't enough when she was here and now it will never be enough. I will always long for my daughter until we are together again." Those words could not be more true. I miss my daughter terribly and I can't even say "I wish I could just see her one more time" because even then, that would not come close to being enough.

I have listened to a talk MANY MANY TIMES since my little girls passing and every time I tear up when the speaker talks about why it's so hard for us to accept death. It's by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf a leader in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints titled "Grateful in Any Circumstance" and he says,                           

"In light of what we know about our eternal destiny, is it any wonder that whenever we face the bitter endings of life, they seem unacceptable to us? There seems to be something inside of us that resists endings. Why is this? Because we are made of the stuff of eternity. We are eternal beings, children of the Almighty God, whose name is Endless and who promises eternal blessings without number. Endings are not our destiny. The more we learn about the gospel of Jesus Christ, the more we realize that endings here in mortality are not endings at all. They are merely interruptions—temporary pauses that one day will seem small compared to the eternal joy awaiting the faithful. How grateful I am to my Heavenly Father that in His plan there are no true endings, only everlasting beginnings."
I am so grateful for this knowledge and peace of mind. I cannot imagine what a drunk, bitter, and terrible disaster I would be if I did not have this truth in my life. My love for my daughter and my love for my Savior go hand in hand. I feel no need to look into the Heaven's and curse God for this unbearable challenge. Although I have started my prayers many times with "Why Lord? Why?" By the end of the prayer I find myself in tears of gratitude saying "Just tell me what you want me to do and I will do it. I will do anything to show my gratitude for having her for the 2 1/2 years that I did. I will honor her in every way that I know how, just show me what to do." I know that my Savior loves me and even though I can't see the whole picture right now, I know there is more to "the plan". I was sent to this earth with a purpose and that purpose is not misery but something beautiful that my daughter would be proud of, I intend on striving towards this purpose until I find it. My mission in life is to finish the work of my daughter and just like I know she would have done many great things in this life, I know my Father in Heaven is helping me to do many great things through her too.  
A friend sent me this video today of the service.
Of course it made me cry.

Here are some pictures my good friend took of my family at the Temple when Dominic was adopted and sealed to Zach and I. We wanted to wear the same outfits we wore the day of the her service and carry pink balloons with us to show that her funeral did not separate us, we are a family sealed together for all time and eternity and we will all be together again someday.

We decided to do a garage sale for the Stay Family NEXT Saturday, July 26, 2014. It will be from 7am-noon. If you would like to donate anything or even buy something message me and I will send you more information. 100% of the proceeds will go to the Stay family. Thank you to all that have already donated and helped with this project so far, it means so much to my family and I.


  1. I remember when I first saw you that special day. How you looked so gentle, beautiful and dolled up in a good way. I saw a light around you, yes you glowed. I could almost hear Kenna Bear's laugh. I had the GREAT blessing of being with Dominic, Zoe and Quino while everyone was arriving. Dominic was full of life and showed me everything Kenna loved to play on at the park. He would say, Kenna liked this swing, she was too little for this, she climbed this high, she loved the slide. I could just see her playing with him right then, daring to go past her limits and keep up with him. I could hear her giggle because she thought him to be so silly. Quino would repeat her name, everytime Dominic said it. I caught myself clinging to Zoe, taking in her baby smell and fluffing her pink dress. The balloon was the most peaceful, tender moment I have ever experienced in my life. I could not believe how Briana, Zach and You looked, talked and carried it. I would start to cry and Dominic would turn and look and me and say ' Your NOT crying are you? I would lie and say NO, not me. He would stare at me to make sure. He said, my family is going to talk, NO crying! I love this blog, the resolve to carry out her mission, the eternal family and the truths. The pictures are and video are truly amazing, like your family!

  2. That video was truly beautiful! I started to get weepy when I saw Quino without Kenna by his side, and then I came undone watching the primary kids sing. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  3. I found your blog through Ashlee's (the moment's we stand). :) Your strength is absolutely incredible, you are an amazing daughter of God! There is another family who lost a daughter to drowning and they were in the Ensign, their blog is Thank you for your beautiful example. <3 I blog at

  4. I can not image it possible for one little spirit to touch so many. McKenna was and continues to be a spiritual giant. The balloon release was a moment of cherubs and angels rejoicing as they welcomed McKenna. Heaven is true and we had a moment of it.