The Bucket List Prom: Happy Heaven Day, Katelyn Norman


I do not know her personally, but when I read the story of the lovely 14 year old Katelyn Norman my heart sank. She recently celebrated prom, one of the check boxes on her bucket list. Katelyn was far too young to have a bucket list. Her breathtakingly beautiful face, her courage, her attitude . . . her spirit. Wow, oh, wow what a special young woman!

I am completely humbled by her live-it-to-the-fullest persona.

When I first found out I had MS I have to tell you . . . “ministry Brooke” went out the window for a few weeks! I spent a lot of time asking “why me” and basically feeling pretty sorry for myself. All this after spending years as a mentor for parents with sick children!

I have to tell you that children are SO. MUCH. STRONGER. than we will EVER be. They take the sticks, the pokes, the pain . . . and they do it with a smile. They keep smiling. They keep living. They show us up in all kinds of spiritual ways. They live life the way Jesus told us to. Life to the fullest!

One day I woke up and realized . . . all those years I thought I encouraged these children, these parents I was mistaken. They instead were shaping the very fabric of my innermost being. They were teaching me how to be sick and do it with a smile.

As I read the update on the article about Katelyn tonight I saw that she had passed away. My heart goes out to her family and friends. Mostly, my heart grieves for her parents. I thought of how they must be feeling to look down and see boxes unchecked. I looked over three things still left on her bucket list “the chance to ride a motorcycle, travel to Italy and get a kiss.” What simple, beautiful wishes.

As I read those words it fell on my heart so hard and soft all at once . . . “She will spend eternity with the One who MADE Italy. She will get wings that go far faster than any motorcycle. She will kiss the Prince of Peace.” And isn’t that every girl’s fairy tale? To ride away with their prince into the sunset?

Ah, the still small voice of Jesus. As the grief of losing their daughter sounds loudly within their hearts . . . this same still small voice will echo these simple truths, it will rush like living water into every broken crevice of their hearts. Her shining example will become the ministry of their lives. Beauty for ashes.

Let’s all take time today to pray for Katelyn’s family and friends and rejoice for the beautiful young girl who made the bucket list . . . and tonight finds her bucket overflowing. I know I am inspired by this young woman. I wonder if her bucket list included the words “minister to millions of strangers?”

If so . . . Katelyn, you can check that one off your list.

6 thoughts on “The Bucket List Prom: Happy Heaven Day, Katelyn Norman

  1. This post reminded me of a poem from ‘Ronald Doe’ entitled ‘The Strongest Girl I Ever Knew’
    © Ronald Doe
    In Loving Memory of Kelly Doe
    She never got to dance,
    Or go to her own Prom.
    She never got the chance,
    To forget where she came from.

    She never got to kiss,
    A man she idolized.
    She never felt love’s bliss,
    ‘Cause she was paralyzed.

    She never got to talk,
    About love with a smile.
    She never got to walk,
    Down a Church’s Aisle.

    She never got to say,
    Those precious words “I Do”.
    But she was far and away,
    The strongest girl I ever knew.

    She couldn’t brush her hair,
    Or put make up on her face.
    She couldn’t hold you dear,
    Or give you a warm embrace.

    She couldn’t clasp her hands,
    As if in the form of prayer.
    She couldn’t understand,
    Why she was in a wheelchair.

    She never showed her fears,
    Or let you hear her cries.
    She never showed the tears,
    That fell down from her eyes.

    She never looked for pity,
    Or sympathy from you.
    That’s why she’ll always be,
    The strongest girl I ever knew.

    By Ronnie Doe

    I also wanted to let you know that I am praying for you and her family… May God bless you ❤
    – Mary Pacis

    • Hi Mary, thank you for sharing this. As I googled The Strongest Girl I Ever Knew for my sister Kelly’s 10 year death anniversary I came across this, other posts and three videos. Needless to say, I was very overwhelmed to see that Kelly’s strength is inspiring others. God bless and Merry Christmas.

      • Ronnie, thank you for stopping by. The poem Mary posted was so transparent. Your sister sounds like a beautiful, beautiful soul. Those of us with illness, and those without, take such inspiration from her life. God bless you and your family this Christmas as you remember her… and all the many things she must be doing today in heaven.

        -The Keith Family

      • I read the poem and this post all over again and I still felt this strong emotion as if I was reading it for the first time. It’s just so beautiful! I would really like to meet your sister someday :’) And it’s most especially a joy hearing from her brother. Merry Christmas and God bless to you and your family!

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