We won’t ever forget this sweet smile.
From Kya’s Mom – Tracy:
Hello to all,
I just wanted to send out an update before things really get moving around here. First let me say this, the Keen family just can’t express enough thanks to all of you who have walked this journey with us. Some of you had the privilege of meeting Kya and some of you only knew her through the updates and pictures but all of you have held us up during a very difficult last six months and we are truly blessed and thankful to God for His amazing love shown through others.
I have had a lot of people ask the question, “What can we do to help?” I know so many of you want to just do something to show us your love and that you are grieving with us during this time. We are going to set up a memorial fund for Kya to help cover the cost of the funeral expenses/travels. I will send out that information once it is established. But having said that, I know all to well that monetary gifts are not always possible and sometimes not what needs to be done in order to deal with grief. So with that knowledge, please do whatever you want to do, I look forward to seeing your creative juices flowing. I know some of you are amazing at expressing your love in so many different ways and I have no desire to stop you so please do whatever you need to do to deal with this loss of our Brown Bear.
We will hold a viewing at 6:30 pm Thursday, June 5th at Spring Creek Bible Church 567 E Kellogg Rd Bellingham WA 98226
Memorial Service will follow at 7:00 pm. All are invited and most welcome. Small reception following service.
Whidbey Memorial is handling Kya’s funeral arrangements so if you would like to send flowers, please send them to either the church or the funeral home. 746 NE Midway Blvd Oak Harbor, WA 98277, contact person is Paul who has been amazing to work with and a blessing.
Looking to set up Memorial fund with USAA, more to come on that later.
Kya will then be transported from WA to North Carolina where she will be buried at the Keen family gravesite. Plans for the burial service are still in the works but tentatively looking at a Monday, June 9th gravesite ceremony at 10 am with reception to follow. West and Dunn funeral home will be our NC contact point: 503 Raleigh St Newton Grove, NC 28366 if you would like to send flowers for the gravesite ceremony.
From there, we will be traveling down to FL to spend some time with my dad who is in the final stages of his cancer battle.
Monday was a very tough day and filled with a lot of tears and emotions. The hospital arranged for pictures to be taken with all of us and that was so sweet. I can’t wait to see them. Colton is taking all of this very hard and he knew Sunday night that Kya was going to die. He was having a very tough time smiling in the pics with her but he wanted to do it. Jackson knows Kya has died and he keeps talking about Jesus giving her a new heart, he was all about climbing onto her bed to take pics and he loved the beautiful butterfly cutout the nurse did to cover up her feeding tube. Grantham is not sure what is going on right now, but he did not want to climb on the bed with Kya for fear that she was just playing possum and might take a wack at him for old times sake. But we did get some good pics of him with her.
After family pics, the boys were taken down the hall where they worked on making some scrap books to hold their pics. At that point, Carlton and I were able to take her off the bed and just hold, snuggle and rock her. Her little body was so blue and just burning up with fever from infections that had taken over our little Kya Bear. Her face was rapidly changing color to blue and she was still on all her meds and breathing tube. Her feet and hands were blue and her BP was 70/25. Her heart rate was all over the place as were her O2 levels. She was still heavily sedated at this point because she would have been in so much pain otherwise. The paralytic meds were turned off and Kya’s body twitched a little as feeling came back to her nerves. Just a few minutes before 1pm, we had removed her little arm warmers, her super hero cape and had her in just her diaper. I wanted so bad to just hold her and feel her skin again. The nurses helped Carlton and I arrange ourselves on a couch with pillows on our lap so we could hold her as she passed. Around 12:56, Kya was placed in my lap and I was able to snuggle her and smell her hair and body, I just kissed her all over her soft little head and the tears could not stop. The RT nurse worked fast to remove the feeding tube and the breathing tube and then the heart meds were turned off for good. We were told that the process could take a while as the heart meds may take some time to work their way out of her body and she could possibly still breath on her own. Kya forced her eye open one more time and looked at me. I held her and told her it was ok to just rest and go be with Jesus. She took two big breaths and in less than two minutes, I felt her chest go flat and no breath from her mouth. She was gone quicker than any of the doctors could have ever predicted. Praise God from whom ALL blessing flow, no suffering.
I found myself saying, Thank you Jesus for taking her, Thank you Jesus for taking her so quickly. In my head I thought I was screaming it at the top of my lungs, but in reality, it came out as barely a whisper. The staff was on hand to do anything we needed and they were shocked at how fast Kya went. It just confirmed for us that Kya was ready. Her little body had struggled since the day she was born to live. I was so thankful that we chose to have her with us instead of trying one more surgery. When the doctors and nurses saw how fast she went, they realized that Kya would not have made it through one more surgery and that she would have died on the table. I was so thankful that I could hold her and talk to her and tell her it was going to be all right and that she was going to see Jesus and get a new heart, spleen, lungs, tummy, intestines, and the list goes on for her. She is whole now. Carlton and I were then able to just sit in the room and hold and rock our baby girl and of course bawl out our eyes. She went from burning up with fever to quickly turning ice cold so we wrapped her up in a blanket and just held her and took some more pics of her. After about three hours of crying and loving on her one last time, we placed her back on her bed and left the hospital. The funeral home we are working with drove down last night and picked up Kya right then so we did not have to leave her at the hospital over night. I have to tell you a funny with that. Sometimes after death, a body can swell real bad. Paul explained to us that he thought he had the swelling of her body pretty much under control but he was not sure why her lips were so swollen??? I just busted out laughing, which caught him off guard, and I said those are her normal beautiful botox lips that I love, don’t change them.
From there, Carlton and I went to the hotel, freshened up a bit if you can ever really freshen up swollen eyes, looked for a place to eat. It was a no brainer, Chinese. We had a wonderful meal at PF Changs. It was during that time I realized just how tired I was and I really thought I was going to have fried rice up my nose as I just about dropped my head right into the plate. I also realized how hungry I was. I simply could not eat much of anything these past few days. So after bellies were full, we headed back to the hotel for a night of crying, talking, remembering, and even laughing. We got a real good laugh when I asked Carlton if it would be ok with him if just his mom and I went to dress Kya for her funeral as I wanted to be absolutely certain the dress got put on the right way?!?! Then came the memories of those Sunday mornings when it was daddy’s job to dress Kya for church. I can’t tell you how many times I held my breath as he came down the stairs with her as I was always hopeful that her clothes would be put on right but it seldom ever happened. I will just share a few with you. One morning I had picked out one of Kya’s beautiful China dresses with bold red colors. I had also placed a white onesie and white tights on the table. So I was slightly shocked when I came out to the car and there was Kya, happy as ever, dressed in all white. Just a onesie and tights, no dress at all. I asked Carlton what happened to the dress and he said he was unsure why I wanted to put her in the onesie and the tight white pants and also put a dress over top of all that. Needless to say, we did not leave the house with Kya dressed in just her underclothes and Carlton learned a bit more of the need for layering in the life of a woman. There were several occasions where the dresses were on backwards as it makes more sense to have the buttons in the front like a man’s dress shirt would. A few occasions where the big puppy dog pink shoes made it on instead of the pretty black leather shoes. Needless to say we had a good laugh and needed it.
Kya was so precious to us. We were fools to ever even wonder if we could love an adopted child just as much as a biological child. I would have given her my heart if I could have but in so many ways, she already had it. If you would have told me that my daughter from China would meet her brother from FL before I did, I would never have believed you, but she did…she was always a bit of an overachiever.
Much love to all of you,