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I have no funny in me right now. Nothing.

Because my friend is up at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, sitting by her husband’s bedside. They have been together for more than 22 years. He kissed her for the first time in 1985, under the Washington Square arch on Halloween night.

They have a nearly 4 year-old daughter who is this energetic, sweet-as-can-be little girl. And for many years, cancer has been this family’s adversary.

I can remember when I first met my friend. I sat next to her at a baby yoga class. I was desperate for anything that filled up the long, isolating hours with my new, little, amazing creature. I was a mother. I was given the opportunity to care for and protect and mold (so I thought) this baby. And I was terrified. Baby yoga! Yes. That would certainly help. Or at least fill an hour or so.

But I still had no mommy friends. I needed them. Now. I decided to start a neighborhood playgroup. So there in baby yoga, I announced a new playgroup and mothers were eager to join. The imaginary quickly become real.

This mom joined this group of mothers… all of us flailing around, looking for answers to fix babies who didn’t sleep, didn’t take bottles, nursed too much, nursed too little and probably were all perfect and normal and just waiting for us moms to calm down.

At the time, I knew nothing about this future friend. She seemed nice.

I knew nothing about the disease that her husband was battling. I would learn later.

I would also learn that she is smart, accomplished and filled with limitless and incredible strength.

But today, at this moment, I feel completely helpless. They say, miracles happen. Do they? I want one. I want one for her. I want one for her husband, their daughter and their families.

Once again, I am looking for answers. But it’s no longer about pacifiers and colicky babies.

It’s about why we have to fight so hard sometimes to keep the ones we love. It’s about why kind people must suffer. It’s about the inequity in this world.

There is no playgroup anymore. Mothers have gone back to work and moved, children have sprouted and headed off to preschool.

But we are still here, us mothers, waiting, hoping and praying for our friend. There is no doubt. We are very much still here.


Kristin K.’s husband Mario passed away last night. So where was the miracle? Perhaps in the 22 years they had together, perhaps in the number of years he was able to live with cancer, perhaps most of all in their amazing daughter.

Kristin + Julia, we are endlessly here for you. XO

another addendum

I want to share a beautiful photo that Kristin sent out today of Mario and a few of her own words…

“Mario passed away on Tuesday morning, around 6:45 am.  He fought long and hard.  He took everything they threw at him, and never complained.  I will miss him.  He was my soulmate, my best friend.  There are not enough words to describe how I feel.  I really thought he would pull through, because he always has…

…I am attaching a photo of Mario that was taken on Saturday.  He had a great day, and looked the best I have seen in awhile.  He even has a twinkle in his eye.  Boy, will I miss that twinkle.”

63 Responses to the unexplainable

  • Jacki says:

    You know, I sometimes as God why he lets bad things happen to good people, and good things happen to bad people. It is truly mind-boggling.

  • Tommy-Tom says:

    There is nothing adequate to say . . . beyond your powerful statement. I cried as I read your words. Blessings on your friend, and her husband and child.

  • susan kintner says:

    I am so sorry. Life can be so arbitrary, capricious and unfair but it often allows for miraculous possibilities. Right now, however, I send you, your friend and all of your friend's family my respect and sorrow for what they are going through. I also send my love and compassion and prayers for the resilience to fully live each moment and to believe they will be given the strength they need when it is needed.

    Finally, I send support to the caretakers for the infinite #s of way they can ease some of the pain for the family. Let me know if there is anyway I can be helpful. Blessings, Susan

  • Michelle says:

    Kelcey-Thank you for sharing your life with us. You share with us the ups and downs just as we all have. We pray for your friend as if she's our own.

  • mayberry says:

    Suburbancorrespondent is right; I'm sure it is a comfort to her knowing she has your love and support, even though you must feel helpless.

  • Memarie Lane says:

    I'll never forget my playgroup in FL. We used to joke that calling it a playgroup was just a cover, because it was really just an excuse for all the moms to get together, and I made soooo many life friends there. I wanted to start one here, didn't realize I'd be living in the gheeeetto.

  • Bitsy says:

    I am praying today for you and your friend, her husband and their family. And again tomorrow. Thank you for your post.

  • Jennifer H says:

    Kelcey, I'm saying prayers for your friend, her husband, and their family. I was in tears by the end of this. I have no doubt that she feels your strength. Sending prayers and good thoughts.

  • Daphne says:

    Sitting here and crying now, thinking of your friend's husband, and my dear friend, fighting her own cancer as a mother to a 7 year old and my own 4 year old's best bud at school. It's hard to make sense of the senseless…

  • madge says:

    sometimes all you can do is be there. sometimes there are miracles and sometimes there are not. through the long ordeal of cancer and losing my father-in-law to cancer i learned that every moment counted and that loving him and our family was the most important thing. it hurt like hell losing him. we never had our big miracle. but we had all these little miracles along the way — they weren't about healing, they were about bringing us closer together and the strength of our family. sometimes that's all you get.

    i miss him.

    hugs and love to your friend and her family.

  • Kim says:

    As others are .. I am sitting here in tears for you and your friend. I am sending prayers to her and her family. What a painfully beautiful post.

  • mp says:

    neighborhood playgroups lead to a world wide blog..thoughts and prayers to your friend, her husband and daughter..

    (and to you to you too)

  • portia says:

    I deal with this everyday and have the utmost respect for families fighting cancer. It is a long and winding road. My prayers are with them.

  • JoLynn says:

    Kelcey, Iam so sorry for the loss of your friend. Life just isn't fair!!!! And you are so right when you say, "Why do bad things happen to good people?" Your friend is in my prayers!!! She's VERY lucky to have a friend like you!!!!

  • Cathy says:

    What a beautiful essay you've written that so aptly describes how helpless and sad we feel when life deals a blow like that. My prayers are with your friend's family.

  • Quinn says:

    I am speechless. Death is so sad for those of us left behind. Thank you for the reminder that only a few things in life are really important.

  • Ilene says:

    My heartfelt sympathy to your wonderful friend her daughter and the entire family. I hope they will all find the strength to get through this time with the support and love of all who care so much. Life is so unfair and sometimes so painful,

  • ErinB says:

    what a sad-but so important post. I am sending my prayers to your friend and will hug my family extra tight tonight.

  • laura says:

    Thanks Kelcey for putting this out there. I have been so sad all day. We all are thinking of Kristen and Julia and everyone who loved Mario.

  • sam says:

    there are no words. our hearts ache for kristin and julia. mario will be so deeply missed. thanks for the beautiful writing kelcey. so so sad…

  • Brittany says:


    This is so beautifully written and my heart and prayers go out to Kristin, Julia and their entire family.

  • ohmommy says:

    I am so very sorry. Your post is so beautifully written… I am speechless for their lost. My heart goes out to the family and friends.

  • sarah Fordney says:

    kristen, my thoughts and prayers are with you and julia. i hope you find comfort in the arms of the beautiful child you and mario created together. i'm just so sorry for your loss. know that we are here for you. sarah, erik and hannah

  • There are really no words at a time like this, but…I am so sorry. For your friend, for their daughter, for you. I'm so sorry. Where is the miracle? In my view, the miracle is in the love. It didn't end when he died — it lives on and on. It's small comfort to those who are left with such a whole in their lives though, I know. I'm so sorry.

  • Imagining 22 years with the person you are meant to be with is beautiful and to know it ended too soon is very sad. Please do what you feel is right in your own heart to help your friend through this time.

    Your in my thoughts!

  • As my dad finishes his 6th week of chemo for esophageal cancer, I understand the helplessness. I have some truly holy humans guiding me, and one in particular is trying to help me accept death as a part of life. But it fuckin' sucks and I don't understand it and nobody likes it. But it is a part of this big cycle of which we're part. I believe in the energy that makes our hearts beat and our lungs take in air and I believe in phsyics–that energy cannot be destroyed. And if this person is half as wonderful as I FEEL him to be through your sharing, then I know he's with his wife and his daughter, strengthening and guiding them through this quagmire of pain. And he is now part of all that is good, seen and unseen . . .

    Much love–

  • Valerie says:

    I'm so sorry about your friend and her tragic loss. I echo the comments above about the beauty and thoughtfullness of your post, and add that it has put many things into perspective for me today.

  • Jen says:

    All our love and prayers are with you Kristen. The picture of Mario is so beautiful, thank you for sharing it with us. 22 years together is just unbelievable. Julia will always have daddy's love in her heart. She is such a lovely, incredibly special girl and so is her mom.

    We'll always be here for you my friend.

    Jennifer and Eric

  • Natalie says:

    Kristin, sending you, Julia and your family and friends all our love – we're here for both of you. I hope you know you can lean on us if you need to. Love, Natalie, Dave, and Maggie.

  • Kristen M says:

    I am praying for your friend Kristin and her daughter Julia. I am so sorry for their loss. Thank you for sharing the picture of Mario. Kristin's words are a beautiful tribute. Missing you and sending hugs!

  • Becky says:

    I am so sorry to hear of your dear friend’s passing. I can tell that he was a special person who was deeply loved. I am keeping you and your friends in my prayers.

  • Melissa says:

    My heart is literally aching for this family. I will say a little prayer for your friends tonight, and hope that they are finding comfort in your love.

  • portia says:

    Wow… I didn't know that his passing was so imminent when you first wrote the post. Shocked is the best way to describe the initial emotion upon reading this sad news…followed by sadness for this woman and her family that I don't even know. The picture from Saturday was so nice…it really didn't even look like he was sick in that picture! My heart goes out to Kristin and her family.

  • Julie says:

    Kristin, We can't stop looking at that beautiful picture of Mario. We are thinking of you and your family. Julia is an adorable and magical girl and we love her and you. We hope to do many things with you gals. We are eager to help you with anything you need. Love, Julie, Damon, Ella and Harry

  • Robin says:

    I am on vacation and just got this post. Love and prayers to you Kristin and Julia, from a complete stranger. May your strength strengthen us all.

  • Robyn says:

    There are no words. Just hold tight to your friend — she needs you SO much right now (and even more) later, when everyone else goes back to their "normal" lives.

    I'm so sorry for you, your friend and her family.

  • Jacquie B says:

    I am heartbroken for Kristin, Julia and her family (and missing all my NYC mama friends). Kelcey, thanks for writing this, and Lauren, loved your article. I know our old playgroup is there to support her. Sending prayers and good wishes, Jacquie in Austin.

  • Auntie T says:

    I'm sending our heartfelt sympathy to you, to Kristin and Julia and their family!

    Just hold the love in your hearts for Mario and his beautiful smile and twinkle. He will forever be there for you in all you do! Thank you for sharing this wonderful gift of a man with all of us. Our prayers are with you all.

  • rachel says:

    I just reread this sad yet beautiful post, the addendum, and kristin's very personal, heartfelt words.Then I looked at Mario's face, and saw the twinkle that Kristin spoke of. I am heartbroken for this family. Like everyone else here, this post affected me so dramatically. I feel just so sad and so sorry for all of them, I can not stop crying for these perfect strangers. This could be any of us, and should be none of us. I hope Kristin and Julia can in some way feel the love and support of all the strangers this blog has brought together. I wish them strength and peace and time to heal. I know mario has found his peace and kristin and julia will always feel his presence with them.

  • jaime says:

    I am sad that Julia has had only four years with her dad. Those memories have to last her lifetime; I know that they can.

    (You do not know me, and I do not know you. But, by default, I know enough of this. She will cherish photos like this for years to come)

kelcey kintner