This is a follow-up story to Shannon’s ongoing grief journey. To read the full back story please click here.
“Each morning since Valentine’s Day, I wake up, put on my glasses, look at my phone, and begin the day overwhelmed with emotions as look at the notifications that cover the screen. Rewinding to the days prior to Valentine’s Day (the day our lives changed forever), I would post our family pics on Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook as a record of my wonderful life and to show our closest friends and family, who we don’t see all of the time, the kids and what we are up to. These posts would get comments and notifications but nothing like what I experience every day post-Kinsley leaving us.
I am overwhelmed with emotions because Kinsley Reese Sandvik, our daughter, is truly bigger than life. Nothing makes me happier and sadder at the same exact time. My heart is always playing tug-o-war, constantly battling between emotions. Kinsley has brought together people and connected people all over the world. I get comments like, ‘I did not know her and I do not know you but since I saw the story, this girl has captivated me!’ As parents, to hear that your daughter has made an impact on such a vast number of people, is something I can’t even begin to explain. We are so proud and yet every time someone says something like that, I can’t help but miss her more than I already do because I’m her mom. I know how awesome she is.
The numerous comments, the nurses showing up to her funeral expressing the profound impact Kinsley had on them without ever really meeting her, the overwhelming amount of people who showed up for her and our family during her celebration of life, the people from all over the world who read about her story through this blog and felt something for her, the people who only wish to have known her — all of this is so surreal and truly impressive that one small girl with a big heart and bigger than life personality has impacted so many people. Her story has gone viral and to be honest, Kinsley’s 8 short years here on earth deserve to be recognized worldwide. It’s Kinsley’s go big or go home style.
I’ve been slowly going through stuff at the house while quarantined. I found so many amazing videos of our little star. Watching those videos, memories of her came flooding into the forefront of my mind like a movie replaying her life from the very beginning. Suddenly, I was reminded of every aspect of this child’s personality, her goofiness, her big heart, her cuteness, her stubbornness. She was the life of any party. In fact, she was the party. She thrived on attention, danced for anyone, loved getting her picture taken, loved getting dressed cute just to sit home, thrived on being the best at everything, would win almost any competition she was challenged in or give it one hell of a try. This child was good at anything physical. The only thing that was hard for her was school and I think just this year, she was really starting to get the hang of that too. Kinsley was the kid who wasn’t shy, would talk to anyone, and play with everyone. She wasn’t awkward. I never had to worry that she wouldn’t fit in, about kids being mean to her, or that she would be the mean girl in school. Maybe mean to her sisters but not in school. Her heart was pure gold and she was bigger than this life. I just didn’t realize how big she was.
Thinking about how her life was so amazing, she is my hero. She was only eight years old and I want to leave this world with the same impact she has had on so many people. I can’t help but think she was only with us on borrowed time and if I had known this, I would have wanted to have her sooner so I could have loved her and experienced Kinsley longer. 8 years wasn’t nearly long enough.
I am thankful for every single time she challenged me, every single time she made me laugh, or made me mad, every time she got up at the dinner table because she couldn’t sit still, every single time she flipped on this couch, every car ride to or from soccer, every grocery trip I took her with me, every kiss good-bye on the way into school. Every single memory I have of her, I am thankful for. I am so glad God chose me to be her mommy and for the time we did get with her. I truly feel like we are the lucky ones because we got the chance to really experience her, love her, and be loved by her.
My only hope is Kinsley continues to spread like wildfire across the globe and continues to impact people the way she did here on earth. Kinsley Reese Sandvik is someone everyone needs in their lives and if you don’t know, now you know!”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Shannon Sandvik. Follow her journey on her website here and Instagram here. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
Read more stories from Shannon here:
‘Her eyes looked up at me in panic. ‘Mommy, it’s blood.’ We were just in the ER and everything said she was fine. My stomach about hit the floor.’: Family says goodbye to their ‘forever Valentine’ after battle with flu
‘She constantly pissed us off. Lord, did she stir up drama. Now, I’m pissed there will always be an empty seat. The family dynamic has been rocked.’: Mom continues to make memories after daughter’s passing, ‘We are going to find something to smile about’
‘Be grateful all of them are in one house alive and healthy, because mine aren’t. The fighting used to annoy me. Now, I’m glad they’re even here to fight.’: Mom says ‘they will remember what you do during this quarantine’
‘We won’t get to take fireball shots together when she turns 21. She’ll never get to drive the red jeep with no doors that she wanted. We were robbed.’: After losing daughter to flu, mom is reminded that ‘love is permanent’
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