Mom's post about her 5-year-old's final days is a powerful lesson in what really matters

When Delaney Krings turned 5 on Dec. 16, people from all over the world sent cards, and thousands attended a hometown parade honoring the little girl with terminal cancer.

The 5-year-old from Pewaukee, Wisconsin was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in October, and her parents were told she had six to eight weeks to live.

On Jan. 23, Delaney's mom, Heather Krings, shared an emotional update on her daughter on the family's CaringBridge page.

"Typically, I would apologize for the duration of time between my updates. However, from here on, I will not. I will not apologize for spending every minute focusing on providing as normal a daily life as I can for B and C," Krings wrote, referring to her older daughter Brooklyn, 12, and son Carson, 11.

She continued:

"I will not apologize for every minute spent attending to Laney’s needs. I will not apologize for every minute spent talking to, holding, snuggling, and gazing at this precious girl. Your texts, calls, emails, FB posts / comments / messages may go without reply, but it’s not because I don’t love and appreciate your concern. It’s because I simply can’t."

Delaney was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in October 2022. (Courtesy Heather Krings)
Delaney was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in October 2022. (Courtesy Heather Krings)

Krings shared that while she has tried to contain her emotions, "there are increasingly more moments of unstoppable tears, rage at the universe, and simply empty helplessness."

The mom of three wrote that the family does everything they can to keep Delaney comfortable and pain free, including medications, 24-hour monitoring and "ensuring she is warm and swaddled in clean butt wrappings and the softest blankies and pillows possible."

"Anytime she is awake — which is getting more limited and farther between — we make sure she sees our faces and hears us softly telling her how much she is cherished. We still get the occasional point, wave or snap to let us know her preferences. Very seldom we hear a squeaky version of her little muppet voice," Krings wrote.

She continued, "It’s been about a week, but this afternoon I heard 'Momma, hug.' Immediately I laid my head on her chest and she hugged it, with a few little pats. When I lifted my head I was graced with both of her gorgeous hazel eyes open. It was all I could do to smile and tell her how much I love her, then a quick smooch before I had to walk away so she didn’t see me ugly crying."

Delaney pictured the day she returned home from the hospital in December 2022. (Courtesy Heather Krings)
Delaney pictured the day she returned home from the hospital in December 2022. (Courtesy Heather Krings)

The mother expressed devastation at her daughter's prognosis.

"She doesn’t deserve this lot in life. She has been the easiest baby, the sweetest toddler, the most loving and energetic, curious little girl," Krings wrote. "She has brought so much love and happiness into this world and has made such a positive impact for so many. To see her slowly slip away from us in a body that is defying the light of her soul is devastating. The only solace we can hold close is that we are doing everything we can to keep her pain free as possible, surrounded with warmth and love to spite the evil taking her from us."

Delaney's cancer — Diffuse Midline Glioma — has "very little positive response to any current treatment available," according to Krings’ update.

"We, as a family, can only find solace in the fact that in the 4 and a half years we were blessed to have with her, that we gave her the best life we could have. Loving family, great school, adoring siblings, adventures to the Farm and the Lake, fairs and festivals and water parks and even Disney World," Krings wrote.

Krings finished the letter with her heartbreaking wish for both Delaney and her fellow parents.

"While I wish, from the depths of my shriveled little heart, we could have given her more, I hope what she has seen of this life has been good and happy. By the grace of God, I hope she knows how much she is loved. Now and forever," she wrote. "Hug your people, love your people. Tomorrow is never guaranteed."

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