A roadside memorial - a blue poster with a photo of Kailynn and the words "Our Local Ray of Sunshine", surrounded by sunflowers

I’ve been asked many times how I can stand in front of a crowd and share “Kailynn’s Story”. Another question I get is why do I do it?

Let’s delve into that first question. I’d like to set the record straight right from the start. Sharing my story is not reliving the most traumatic moment in my life. I say the words over and over, so it may seem this way, but truth be told I relive losing Kailynn every morning when I open my eyes and she does not. Stating this out loud doesn’t make it worse. It may, in fact, help.

Most parents you speak to that have lost a child will share the same thoughts on this –– we don’t want our children forgotten, we want to hear their names, and hearing them helps us heal.

Getting up in front of 20, 50, or even 650 people, whether they are students, teachers, parents, or any other human of any age and sharing this story has been extremely cathartic for me. Don’t get me wrong, it takes an emotional toll on me, but the chance at saving a life makes it worth it. Every student who approaches me following a presentation to share a story, give their condolences, or simple say “I’m sorry”, is a connection to Kailynn. When I stand up front and look out into a crowd of students, I see Kailynn. As I am leaving the schools and see a group of students laughing and joking, I see Kailynn.

You see, this is connection. This is healing. Instead of journalling, I speak. I knew the moment I finished the eulogy at Kailynn’s Celebration of Life that speaking helped me feel connected to her. At that time, I honestly didn’t know this was coming.

I guess I sort of answered the why I do it question already. I do it for Kailynn. Whether you believe in the spiritual realm or not doesn’t really matter, but I know in my heart that my girl is paving this path for me. She may not be walking this earth anymore, but I am, and I feel everything that she was passionate about and am taking that passion and making it my own. Kailynn loved to help, loved to volunteer, and just loved to love. That is WHY I do it. For the love of Kailynn.

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