So Do I

Posted on April 16, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

So Do I

My book, Caution: Children Should Come With Warning Labels, is intended to be funny, because let’s face it, sometimes kids are funny little creatures. They squiggle and giggle and see the world so differently than their moms and dads that it spreads smiles, even when things aren’t going the way we’d like them to.

But, sometimes, being a parent isn’t funny. For some, it’s downright sad. Being the mom of four bright and beautiful daughters has been a bittersweet experience for me, one that I’d never exchange for anything in the whole wide world. But, it’s not always enough.

Our oldest, Samantha (Sam as she likes to be called), got married last fall. Now, that was bittersweet. We love her and her husband, Sean, and admittedly are extremely happy for her and for the opportunity to open our arms to a son in our family. But, he’s not our first son.

For Mother’s Day, the four bright and beautiful girls gave me the most thoughtful gift they’ve ever given me. Dandelions and pretty rainbows are great, but they didn’t hold an emotional candle to the bracelet they had put so much thought and consideration into. Inside the velvet box sat a delicate silver bracelet, glimmering with clear crystal gems woven along its beautiful chain. Hanging from it sat one lone charm—a prayer box through which peeked one gleaming blue gem behind the outline of an angel.

The gift was spectacular, but the words meant more. “Mom, I will need something borrowed and something blue for my wedding day. It would mean a lot to me if you would share this bracelet with me on that day.”

I cried. Yes, I did. Although I try to be strong and keep it all in, there are simply times when it cannot be done. This was one of them. We didn’t say it, but we knew what the bracelet represented—it meant more than something borrowed and something blue. It represented the brother who would be the only one of her siblings who wouldn’t be there to watch her get married.

Sam’s always felt his loss more than the others. She was the only other child we had at the time. There are photos of her holding him and kissing him—mementos of a budding relationship that never bloomed. Throughout the years, she’s shared that with me.

“Mom, I still wish I had a brother. I’ve missed that in my life.”

So do I. Oh, so do I.

“Mom, he would have been 21 today. I wish I could have celebrated that day with him.”

So do I. You don’t know how much.

“Mom, I wonder what Matthew would look like now. I bet he’d be big and tall like Dad.”

So do I.

I’ve often wondered what our little boy would look like today. He was a handsome infant, perfect in every way, with his father’s face and a head full of dark hair. I’ve followed the milestones he would have followed in his life without him. I never told anybody before, but I even went outside and watched the kindergarten bus pick up the children on what would have been his first day of school. I waved when it went by, tears spilling from my eyes, wishing I was crying because he was on that bus, not because he wasn’t.

But, I can’t wish him back, although I want to so very much. I can’t take away that awful morning when our son didn’t wake up. So, I transfer my dreams to four bright and beautiful girls, knowing my life is full, but yet empty. I don’t talk about it anymore, but one bracelet changed all of that.

“All four of us would like to wear this on our wedding day. We think it’s the perfect way to remember our brother.”

So do I.

“Mom, I’m glad you like it, but I really wish that we didn’t have a reason to give it to you.”

So do I. Oh, so do I.

Note:  In memory of her son, Matthew McKenna, all proceeds in April from Patti McKenna’s book, Caution: Children Should Come With Warning Labels, a humorous look at the realities of parenthood based on Patti’s experience raising four daughters, will go toward SIDS research. To order, visit the Bookstore at or you can order at .

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From a Lullaby to Goodbye

Posted on February 6, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , |

From a Lullaby to Goodbye

Long overdue and a long time in the making, From a Lullaby to Goodbye is the first book of its kind to offer comfort and support for grieving parents from people who truly do understand. With contributions by more than two dozen parents, siblings, grandparents and caregivers, this ebook contains chapters describing the experience of child loss through our own personal experiences, in the hopes that grieving parents will find someone they can relate to – someone who truly does understand what they’re going through.

Many of the authors in From a Lullaby to Goodbye have also shared their websites, blogs, and even email addresses so that readers can contact them during one of the loneliest times of their lives. These parents lost their child before and after birth, from SIDS, cancers, terminal illnesses, birth defects, heart disease, and accidents. They are survivors who know that coping can be devestating, and that having someone who can relate to can mean the difference between having a warm, comforting hug and loneliness.

We understand. We, too, have been from a lullaby to goodbye.

Purchase the ebook at or for $9.00.  All payments are made securely through

If you have any questions, comments, or difficulty accessing your copy, please contact Patti McKenna directly at

Thank you, and I sincerely hope that through our words, we can open up the discussion about child loss. It’s not a taboo subject to those of us who have experienced the greatest loss imaginable. Our children did and always will matter. We know that you child does, too.

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From a Lullaby to Goodbye

Posted on October 27, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

October is SIDS Awareness Month, but as a SIDS mom, I like to think of it as child death awareness month. After all, SIDS is a blanket diagnosis, used when they cannot pinpoint an actual cause of death. Those of us who have lost a child, whether before birth, at birth, or after birth, know the lifelong effect it has on our lives, our families, our hearts, and our faith.

We know what it’s like to wish that it didn’t happen, to want to make it go away, to wish away the memories, and to hang onto those memories so tightly for fear that one of them might never come back.

We know what it’s like to want to talk about our child and our tragedy. We also know what it’s like to know that sometimes other people wish we wouldn’t. 

We become selfish. We also become selfless, reaching out to others and wanting to help them through their own personal tragedy. We become worriers at the same time that we throw our grief to God, and trust that He will get us through.

We become members of the The Club, the club that nobody else knows about, talks about, or ever wants to be invited to join.

From a Lullaby to Goodbye tells our stories. This upcoming book reveals the struggles, the hope, the faith, and the strength of those who have lost a child. Through their stories, the co-authors selflessly open up their souls in the hopes that their experience can help newly grieving families who have joined The Club.

The ebook will be released in November, and the print version is expected around the turn of the year. Another year gone by, another milestone for all of us, and another opportunity to open our hearts to those who need it most–those who now know what it’s like to go from a lullaby to goodbye.

Increasing awareness is one way we want our child’s memories to stay alive. We encourage you to support your local and national organizations that conduct research to prevent child loss. We encourage you to reach out to others in need, and we hope that you’ll listen as we share our children with you. After all, as co-author Katy McKenna said in her chapter, we have now become the keeper of their memories.

You can help us bring this book to print by pre-ordering a copy today. At the reduced price of $10, you will receive both the ebook and the print version.

Simply email me at, with your name, preferred email address, and your mailing address. Many amazing parents are working to raise awareness and funds, so that someday, somehow, others will not have to know what it feels like to go from a lullaby to goodbye.

If you are interested in sponsoring the book, you will receive free copies for your contribution, credit in the book and on our website, as well as links and a brief bio of your company or organization. Any donations are accepted and will be fully acknowledged! Simply email me to find out how you can help put this book in the hands of every hospital social worker and bereaving parent. You can make a real difference. Thank you!

Patti McKenna

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From a Lullaybe to Goodbye: Increase SIDS Awareness

Posted on October 14, 2009. Filed under: Parenting, Uncategorized | Tags: |

Matthew Clark McKenna 001

Matthew Clark McKenna became one of God’s little angels on April 30, 1987.

October is SIDS Awareness Month. It’s not a cause I would have picked to support – frankly, I would have thought it was too sad. After all, who really wants to think about losing a child. Nobody.

I never thought about it, either, but that didn’t stop it from changing my life forever. It was April 30, 1987, when I lost my child to SIDS. The darkest day of my life was when we went from a lullabye to goodbye.

Losing a child is devestating. It’s also senseless when you don’t really know why. The questions are never answered; the cause is never cured.  That is all the more reason why I believe it is so important to spare one, two , and hopefully, every child from being the victim of SIDS.

Please help me and others in our quest to save babies. No parent should ever have to go from a lullabye to goodbye.

Here’s how you can help:

Visit to get details on SIDS.


Help Twitter PickNicksBrain and win prizes, too:  Great prizes this month in our SIDS Awareness October Giveaway. See post for details on how to enter.

Order a copy of my book, Caution: Children Should Come With Warning Labels (not about SIDS). I wil donate a portion of the proceeds to SIDS research, and my publisher will match my donation. Free shipping at

If my son’s life had a purpose, let it be to help  us erase SIDS forever.

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