St. Andrew’s Senior Homily | Kyla Thompson

There are simply no words for how much I love my kids. I love them because they aren’t just my kids. They are our kids, a lasting reflection of the love Maureen and I shared. Although her life was cut short by metastatic breast cancer on 10.21.2014, our love was not. We stumbled around a lot in the early days of our grief, but one thing became quite clear as the fog started to settle. Maureen lived and loved each and every day until her passing after her diagnosis in late 2003. The kids and I knew that she would want the same of us. None of us were going to be the first to heaven and have to answer her question, ‘so what have you been up to since I left?” St. Andrew’s Episcopal School has a beautiful tradition senior year, the homily, or offering. On the 2 anniversary of Maureen’s passing, our son, Taylor Thompson, stepped to the podium in the same Upper School chapel where we held Maureen’s celebration of life and delivered a moving testimony to love. To his mom. To legacies. To making a difference. His sister, Kyla, took to the same podium a week ago Monday. On 10.21.2019. The 5 year anniversary. She made her dad proud. She made her dad cry. ❤️😥❤️ As a senior, we’ve been working on college applications. Last week, we visited TCU in Ft. Worth after a visit to Susan G. Komen the day before. For Taylor, his #onething has been Habitat for Humanity. For Kyla, her #onething has been breast cancer and #pinkkids, making sure the children...

Love and Strength | What My Mom Taught Me | Kyla Thompson

Originally submitted as an English essay on October 18, 2018. Kyla is a student at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School. My mom. My mom is richly deserving of so many more years on this planet; teaching my siblings and I valuable lessons; being a compassionate and caring friend; being a wife, and truly just being herself. She was taken from us way too early. But with the time she had on this Earth, she put her whole heart and full self into everything she accomplished. She was strong. If I could only describe her in one word, that is is the word. Strong. After her recurrence of breast cancer in late 2008, she woke up every morning knowing the day was going to be hard, but not letting the negative effects of cancer ruin the day she was going to have. None of us know how much time we have on this earth, so we must use the time we each have to the fullest. That is what my mom did. My mom woke us up, drove us to school, worked from 9 to 5, drove us home, made dinner, and put us to bed. To sleep. All of this while there were cancer cells inside her body, mutating, eventually metastasizing in early 2014 and overwhelming her good cells on the morning of October 21, 2014. If that isn’t strong, I don’t know what is. She was as strong as the scent of her perfume. She put her family before anything. She put her family before her cancer. She realized that yes cancer can kill physically, but it can’t kill...

I Will Be Strong for You Mom | #pinkkids

September 21, 2014, Maureen and I stood with our kids at the altar of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Evanston, IL, outside of Chicago. It was a Sunday. We were renewing our vows from our wedding day, July 14, 1990, 24 years earlier, with the fruits of our love, our kids, by our side. Little did we know, that one month later, October 21, 2014, an entirely new chapter would start in lives. Following is an essay that Kyla wrote for one of her classes this week. It seems entirely fitting to share it on this 47th #powdereddonutday. It also seems appropriate to share a sneak peek at the logo for #pinkkids, but more on that later… ___________________________________________________ October 21, 2014. The day I lost my mother. The day my life changed forever. The day my family’s life changed forever. I was woken up that morning by my aunt, my mom’s sister, feeling part of myself missing, but at the same time, I was hopeful and excited that I would get to see my mom at lunch. The day went by a lot slower than usual days; I was continually looking at the clock, waiting for the class to be over, wanting lunch to come sooner, so I could give my mom a hug and tell her everything was going to be okay. After chapel, the Head of the Lower School at St. Andrew’s pulled me aside and asked me to come with him. Thoughts were racing through my head; my heart was racing; I was so excited to finally to go see my mom. All of those happy...

Cancer Sucks | Kyla Thompson

I am privileged to be the father of three amazing kids, Taylor (19), Kyla (16), and Katelyn (almost 14). These three kiddos are the products of the love Maureen and I shared over almost 25 years of marriage, prior to her passing after an on-and-off 11 year battle with breast cancer on the morning of October 21, 2014. Every so often they share something with me they have written as part of a school project. The following was written by Kyla earlier this spring for her English class, part of an advocacy project. As a dad, I hate that my kids don’t have their mom. But their love for her shows itself in all that they do and all that they write. I love you Kyla. Thank you for letting me share this gift of your writing with others. Thank you also for the pictures you chose for me to include. I had not remembered the one of you and mom on the couch, the weekend before her passing. Friends, this image captures the essence of Kyla’s word. They say a picture is worth a 1000 words. When you see it, you will know that cancer does indeed suck. Cancer Sucks. Cancer sucks. Plain and simple. Cancer takes more than 7.6 million people away from their families and friends each year. Likewise, 12.6 million people discover they have cancer each year. That is not fair. No one should ever have to go through that. Those words, “you have cancer” are three of the hardest words one can ever hear. My family heard those words in the spring of 2004. People...

Journey to Thailand | Senior Project 2017 | Taylor Thompson

Several months before the love of my life, my beautiful bride, passed, I began to write love letters. The normal CaringBridge approach of talking about the disease, her cancer, just didn’t seem right to me. After Maureen’s passing, I continued to write, because our love did not end on the day of her passing. She may not be present physically, but her love is fully present. We are still connected. Over the last several months, I have been privileged to share words of love that come from the hearts of our three children, Taylor (18), Kyla (15) and Katelyn (13). As we “celebrated” what would have been Maureen’s 53rd birthday yesterday, Taylor, our eldest, was in the air. Flying Etihad Airways. To Thailand for a Global Village Build with Habitat for Humanity in Udon Thani. Today, I share his words. His voice. His love. I love you son. Mommy loves you. God’s speed… Day One | 27 April 2017 Day one. Today was all about emotion. Excitement. Worry. Sadness. Anger. Happiness. A sense of belonging. Emotions that did not happen in one particular order, but that occurred intermittently throughout the day. Occurrences that affected my mood. That affected how I saw and moved though the world at that particular moment. I realized just how beautiful and wonderful emotions are. But also how destructive, distracting, and debilitating they can be if you allow the negative ones to consume you. Sitting here on the plane from Dallas to Abu Dhabi has allowed me to think a lot. I’ve thought about what I think the future might hold. About the past twelve...

The Gift of Love | Katelyn Thompson

On the way into St. Andrew’s Episcopal School this morning, I was already a little wistful thinking about the fact that this was Taylor’s “last” time to be at Lessons and Carols. Maureen and I have loved this service since he first sang “Mary Had a Baby” as a 1st grader. Now, he is a senior; Kyla is a freshman; and Katelyn is a 6th grader. As we drove, Katelyn wanted to read to me her Christmas present from English class. I’m glad she did, because it is the perfect expression of the love I always feel during this most wonderful celebration of what Christmas is all about, love. Dear Dad, The love that you and mom have provided me is more important than any Christmas gift that you can buy at a store. The time that you have taken to take care of us and watch us grow up is so breathtaking. You have been by our side throughout all of our lives. You have loved me when times got tough, and taught me how to love. The Gift of the Magi is a perfect story during Christmas time, because these two characters Jim and Della are sacrificing the prized possessions because of their love for each other. They are selling their possessions in the sacrament of love. Love in a family is a major part of having a well grounded happy family. I picked three things that represent the gift of our family. A gift to me is something that I will treasure forever, like all of the memories I have cherished with mom. My favorite memory...