cherish every moment

‘We found McKenzie in the bathroom. She hung herself. Get here now!’ It was too late.’: 9-year-old girl commits suicide after relentless bullying, family’s grief inspires ‘anti-bullying’ foundation

“They kept calling her ‘ugly and black’. At first, she wasn’t afraid. But it got to the point where too many were joining in and it became a daily occurrence. During the drive, I prayed for a miracle as my son slept behind me. I just wanted to see her. To make sure she would be okay. But I’d never get to see her alive again. Now the only way I can ever be with her again is at a grave site. McKenzie Adams. I will not let here name die.”

‘An overwhelming feeling came over me. I put my car in park and ran upstairs. After 20 seconds, a faint line appeared. Suddenly, I am bawling. I told myself to calm down.’

“The timer went off. I patted my belly. ‘You did it! Well done!’ It was time to take the first step in doing what I’d been thinking about for quite some time. When the nurse walked in with those papers, I went straight to the bathroom and sobbed. I walked toward the dreaded exit. I had to say goodbye.”

‘He caught me off guard. ‘Let’s meet.’ Weeks later, the inevitable happened. My fairy tale was under attack. My sorority sisters called the police, who brought me to the hospital. It’s all hazy.’

“I started to see signs all around me. It seemed as though clues were everywhere and everyone was in on it. I had no words, but the real me was crying out, ‘What is going on?!’ I couldn’t explain what was happening to me. My mind was stripped of everything.”

‘Come feel this,’ the doctor said. I put my hand on her belly. My heart sank.’: Mom recalls daughter’s rare cancer diagnosis after thinking it was just an ‘umbilical cord hernia’

“I snapped the traditional well-check picture of my daughter sitting on the exam table, bragging about our healthy girl. We were about to walk out with a good bill of health when the doctor asked me if I had any concerns. That’s when I remembered her large tummy. He laid her down on the exam table, and his face quickly changed to reflect my concern.”

‘Are you sick? Should I get tested?’ My first instinct was denial. ‘I’m not sick. If you want to get tested, do it. You don’t have it!’ I was confused. How could she even say that to me?! I was shocked!’

“My dad proceeded to tell me the illness could be passed down to me as well. I wanted to get tested right away. My dad urged me to take it slow. When I got married the next year and found out we were expecting our first child, I knew in my heart I needed to know. On a crisp spring morning, I took the test. That’s when I realized it.”

‘My daughter saw a spa day on TV and asked if we could ‘belax’ and have one too. After some contemplation, I thought, ‘Why not?’

“My daughter’s face was priceless. She squealed just like a sweet little girl you’d see in a movie when I said yes. As mothers, it can feel like we’re barely treading water. But we must also remember that our children need time to self-care too. There’s a universe of emotion going on inside their heads each day that we don’t know about.”

‘Nobody dreams of being a single, middle-aged dad swiping on Tinder. When I entered Single Parent Land, half my brain was sobbing. The other half was thinking, ‘I can run free!’

“As a single parent, every decision takes on a new meaning. If I give my child an applesauce pouch made in China, will my ex bring it up in court? But back to the easy stuff. Remember naps? You know, those times when you could sleep in on a weekend without your ex coming in and yelling at you? There’s a silver lining in all this.”

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