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May 8, 2021 / JustinKays Porter


In the past, when I’ve sat down to write, the words have always been there for me. But this time is different: for the first time I can remember, the words seem to be just out of reach. This may explain why I haven’t had the heart to put my heart on paper (or a screen, to be more accurate). I’m still not sure what I want to say or how I want to say it, but there are things that need to be said. And because words are failing me, I’ll start with the truth: my sweet Millie lost her battle with MLD on March 23. She fought until the end, and we did everything we could to make her short time with us as happy and comfortable as possible. But what we had to give, what anyone could have given her, wasn’t enough.

I wish I had the confidence or certainty that so many of you have shared with me about where she is now. But it comes down to a simple fact for me: wherever she is, the pain is gone. In the end all we could do was love her. Wherever she is, she knows she is loved. So very loved. By me and Justin, by Nate and Flo, by our families and close friends, but also by all of you. I like to picture her in a field of wildflowers, smiling and carefree, with this Tom Petty song playing softly:

You belong among the wildflowers
You belong somewhere close to me
Far away from your trouble and worries
You belong somewhere you feel free

I’m sure a lot of you are wondering how we are doing. And I think you can understand how difficult a question that is right now. Sometimes we’re fine. Sometimes it’s all I can do to go about my life. I feel Millie in my heart and I carry her with me everywhere, and those feelings sometimes bring me joy and sometimes a sadness I don’t have words for. I know she would want me to keep adventuring, to smile with my whole body, to love so purely that it can be seen and felt by everyone, to not give up and be the best version of myself. Those are things she gave me, and I’m trying to pay it forward in her memory. Between the tears, of course; and there are many, many tears.

There is a Millie-shaped hole in my heart. I try to rearrange the pieces of my life to round out the corners of this hole every so slightly, to encourage the hole to slowly heal into a Millie-shaped scar. Never to be forgotten, and a beautiful reminder of a life cut far too short.

We knew the end was coming well before it arrived, and Millie gave us lots of time to accept what was happening and grieve with her. Looking back, it was a beautiful gift she gave us: to be able to tell her how loved she was and say our goodbyes without hurry. To know she heard every word we had to say, every song we had to sing, felt every tear we had to shed. It wasn’t easy, but it was such a Millie thing for her to be able to do. She always wanted to make sure that we were happy, that we were proud of her, that she was doing the right thing. I’m so glad we could tell her all those things and so much more.

The week Millie left us, every purple flower in my garden started blooming. Some right on schedule, some far earlier than they should be blooming. And no other color had yet popped out. You may say this is a coincidence, maybe it’s the California drought making some strange things happen. But I think it was Millie: telling me she’s okay, showing me that life can and will go on with fresh starts, giving me a garden awash in our mutual favorite color.

And would you look at that? It seems I did have the words. These words are big and scary and full of emotion, but that’s honestly how our life is right now. I’m fortunate to be able to share with you all, and I hope that together we can all keep Millie’s memory alive. She was beautiful, sweet, loving, strong: a fighter and a lover. She was everything I could have ever hoped for in a daughter.


Leave a Comment
  1. Pau Feldman / May 24 2021 5:45 am

    I had to let my eyes clear before writing a comment. That was such a beautiful, heartfelt and inspiring blog. Itโ€™s unbelievable what life brings on both sides of the spectrum and we get shaped by all of the experiences. I love how you wrote about Millie shaping your future and the significant part she had and will continue to have in your life. Her life was way too short but what a huge impact she leaves!! Kay, Justin, and the entire Perry and Porter families remain in the Feldmans thoughts and prayers!

  2. Kris Pleimann / May 9 2021 6:46 pm

    You are heavy on my mind today Kaysea, knowing the terrible loss you all are surviving. Iโ€™m sending light and love … there are no words …

    Kris Pleimann

  3. Roni Hartley / May 9 2021 4:42 pm

    Dearest Kaysea, I can only imagine how difficult this Mother’s Day is for you yet you wrote a beautiful heartfelt message and your words made me feel better. There will be a day when our tears stop and our hearts heal. Thank you. Love you. Roni

  4. Todd Perry / May 9 2021 11:50 am

    Beautiful. Thank you.

  5. Ma / May 9 2021 10:27 am

    Sending hugs and kisses. Much love to you guys๐Ÿ’œ
    Miss our sweet Millie. No more pain for her to bear. ๐ŸŒบ๐ŸŒธ

  6. Dirk / May 9 2021 9:28 am

    Beautiful and heart felt
    Love Dirk

  7. Shelley Witkowski / May 9 2021 8:32 am

    Kaysea, Your words were so beautiful! Your strength is incredible! Millie was a lucky little girl to have such a wonderful mommy on her side to fight for her when she could not! The picture of Millie is so sweet, her big blue eyes & her beautiful smile bring such joy!
    Peace & love to you, Justin & Nate๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’œ
    Love, Jim and Shelley

  8. nancy mcelroy / May 9 2021 7:31 am

    Kaysea, You have beautifully expressed her pure spirit and heart-piercing love and reminded us all of what matters ๐Ÿ’œ

  9. nancywporter / May 8 2021 11:57 pm

    Drowning in thoughts of Millie in her garden of purple flowers. I love your strength and love for both of your babies (and my son).

  10. Mom / May 8 2021 9:24 pm


    • Mom / May 14 2021 6:30 am

      Sorry it says mom because I have a page for Brielle. This is Lauren Lee

  11. Anne Williams / May 8 2021 9:03 pm

    Kaysea, you have done a beautiful job of helping us to see (not to understand, as that is impossible) what letting go of Millie from this world is for you, Justin, and all of the family.
    The photos are beautiful — I am most moved by the smile that Millie maintained, even when she was in pain and suffering. And she had the best of BOTH of your features!
    We give our love and our continued prayers,
    Anne and Jeff Williams

  12. Mary Wurster / May 8 2021 9:02 pm

    Just this morning I was thinking about JustinKays. I find you and your sweet Millie on my mind often. I know Millie is so very proud of her mom. Proud that you know what she would want for you – “to keep adventuring, to smile with my whole body, to love so purely that it can be seen and felt by everyone, to not give up and be the best version of myself” – What beautiful words that I know where inspired by Millie’s spirit. I will continue to hold you and your family in my heart and wish for peace in your sadness.
    All my love,
    Mary Wurster

  13. Jane Eyler / May 8 2021 6:52 pm

    Yes, you found beautiful words, Kaysea, to express your thoughts and feelings! Thanks for posting this update for us all.

    Love, Jane an John

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