Missing Kayley Janelle!

Prized and greatly anticipated even before her birth! Kayley Janelle was the third of our four granddaughters! While we love each of our eight grandsons, I often remarked, “Girls arrive for a premium in our family!” It was my way of celebrating each time God gave us the rare opportunity to have another beautiful granddaughter. Mimi revels in the idea of girly outfits, an assortment of baby dolls, and female shopping sprees! As Kayley's Poppi, I was also thinking about the many ways I would spoil this new little person of the “gentler gender!”

Kayley, Poppi and Mimi

Kayley's two brothers were so excited to welcome a sister into their lives. The anticipation grew each day during the nine months of waiting for her to arrive. They would talk about her among themselves, with family and friends. You could hear them say, “Hey! Mom’s going to have a baby! It’s a girl and her name is Kayley!” They loved the idea of having a sister!

The day finally arrived on November 24, 2015. Phone calls from the hospital in New Mexico gave us the much anticipated news that Kayley had arrived. All was good! The news had us planning our next trip to see her in person! Then came the not so good news! "She has something wrong. Her heart is not right," was the report. "It’s wait and see."

In the hours after her birth, doctors discovered that Kayley had a severe heart defect that would need immediate attention. Even with the best prenatal care available, we had never imagined that a serious condition like this had gone undetected. This frightening crisis had us bowing our heads in serious prayer asking for God’s intervention.

Within days, a renowned pediatric surgeon was engaged at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston. I was familiar with this world-class institution since my days of pastoring in the southwestern area of the Bayou City in the eighties. I had visited other children and their families in that excellent hospital. My faith, though previously shaken, was emboldened with the hope that a well-respected surgeon and hospital, guided by the hand of the Great Physician, could restore our little Kayley to health once again.

We were so thankful that little Kayley survived the grueling, 18-hour procedure. However, our hopes were dashed to learn the next day that she had experienced a catastrophic stroke leaving her unable to sustain her own life. Everyone in our family was devastated to learn that she would come home to hospice care. Sixty-five days after her birth, she would breathe her last breath and pass away in the arms of her mom, dad, brothers and pastor. She had been dearly loved and cared for all that time, but nothing could reverse what had happened to our precious granddaughter, Kayley. Her fragile, little body was brought to the family plot in Illinois for her final repose.

Kayley's Monument
I still tear up when I think about this great loss! Six years later, I find it hard to write about this. Every time we visit the cemetery to tidy the monument, we close out our time in prayer. With tears streaming down our faces, we thank God for the blessing of Kayley’s brief sojourn with us. We recommit her to God’s care for all of eternity and think about when each of us will join her in that heavenly place where God promises, “I will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away… I am making everything new!” (Revelation 21: 4-5, NIV).

As many of you who frequent this blog know, I have never monetized this site. From its inception, Serve by Design, has never had any ads promoting products and I do not make any money from sharing my ideas each week with readers near and far. I promise to keep it that way! However, since many of you already give to charities like the American Heart Association, I would appreciate any donations that you may wish to give to fund lifesaving research. Our prayer is that someday, such a tragedy as has happened to our beloved Kayley, may become something of the past!  

My pre-teen age grandson, Klayton Michael, Kayley's older brother, has been selected this year to serve as a Teen of Impact team leader for the American Heart Association's Southwest Region. He has made a challenging goal between February 4 and April 7 to raise $50,000 in memory of his sister. Don't let that amount scare you! Klay is quick to say, "Every single dollar given helps!" If you choose to give, please use the link below so that your donation to the Heart Association will enable Klayton to reach his goal in memory of Kayley Janelle. As always, thank you for reading and considering a gift to impact lifesaving research and heart health. 

Donation Link; American Heart Association Southwest

Mike Keppler, retired pastor,

active churchman and
doting grandparent.
Contact: drmjkeppler@gmail.com 



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