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Grandma Ladeena

As I sit here needing to write my own memories of Kadyn, I read the words of my daughters and my heart breaks into a million pieces. I've never felt so completely helpless as I do now. I can't take away my daughters' tears or their pain.

I was there when my first granddaughter was born and I was there for her funeral. There is something so wrong with that sentence. It still doesn't seem real - I keep asking myself 'how could this happen' 'there must be a mistake'.

I was only 40 when Kadyn was born and knew I was too young to be called grandma, nana, granny or any of the other cutsie names. I needn't have worried. Kadyn came up with her own name for me, she couldn't quite say 'grandma' so she called me 'bama'. I was perfectly okay with bama.

I wasn't lucky enough to be one of those bamas that the kids get to visit on the weekends, stop over after school or generally be able to see all the time. I live so far away that I only got to see her a couple of times a year. This was so hard - but I made sure that every moment of every visit counted. I've always loved to read lots of story books to Kadyn. Even when she was a baby, the lilt of my voice when I was reading would always quiet her down. She was able to return the favor the last time I saw her. She read me several of her school books and was getting really good at reading. She was doing so well in school. We always did lots of coloring, played games, and of course went swimming whenever we could. There were always had tons of snuggles and kisses.

When I came to Iowa for a visit last year we all went to Valley Fair. Kadyn wanted to go on the roller coaster so of course I went with her. She loved it! she kept wanting to go bigger and bigger. I was a little worried that she

would be scared when we went on the biggest of the biggest - The Wild Thing!! I need not have worried - her screams were of pure delight! She was so excited, we got off and her little heart was just pounding. The smile on her face was the biggest I'd ever seen! She was absolutely glowing.

I was blessed to have all my children and grandchildren make the trip to Arizona December of 2010. I slept on the pull out couch - the one with the bar down the center. I had Kyler on one side acting like a furnace and Kadyn on the other side of me all arms and legs flopping all over the place. My great dane, Max, was stretched across the bottom and about 5 am Lily, the newest addition to our family, would get to come join the party. I didn't sleep a wink for two weeks and I've never been happier. I got so many snuggles and giggles that I will
forever be grateful for.

Kadyn always had a smile and she would tilt her head up and look at you with that sweet face, 'please?' she would say, no matter what it was, I couldn't resist. I miss her terribly. I will never again be able to press my lips upon her soft warm forehead or hold her close. Even though I lived far away, I always had the kisses and hugs to look forward to when I went to visit. I'll never be able to hold her again. There are so many things I was looking forward to doing with her. She loved my jewelry and believe me, I have lots! She always found some bauble to wear and some little thing to keep.

We already had plans for when she turned 10 and could fly to Arizona by herself and spend a couple of weeks. Like Brandi said, you think there will always be time to do these things. It never occurs to you that a young life will be cut short - that it could happen to your family.

I'm here to tell you that it did and it can. People run these bus stop arms and lights all the time. The fine is minimal and if it means they get to their appointment on time, to them it's worth the ticket. I don't think people consider that the lights are on and the bus stopped for a reason, that maybe it won't just be a ticket, that there is a child getting on or off the bus. This has to stop. We cannot let the death of our little Kadyn be for nothing. We have a good start at getting things done but this is going to be a long process.

Please help to keep the momentum going until we get these laws into place.