Tonight, Ella and I watched the sunset and she picked up a photo of Emma.
“Ella, who is that?”
“She is my sister who died.”
At only three years old, Ella seems to have grasped the concept of death. She knows she had a sister. I doubt she understands what that really means, but honestly, does anyone? A year ago today, I made a promise to myself to start living again. As I reflect on this past year, I can honestly say that I’ve pulled myself up by the bootstraps and regained the inner self that I knew existed. I continue to cherish each day with the veracity of hungry lion. At times it is difficult, but the insight I’ve learned has been invaluable. However, the cliche that “ignorance is bliss” really is true. Understanding who I am is not always easy – you sometimes don’t want to learn specifics about your inner self, as it can turn your entire value system upside down. I’ve had that happen more than once over the last year, but I am now able to make decisions honestly and genuinely without any regrets.
The pain I have felt from the last three years is still there. I doubt it will ever subside. That pain has provided an appreciation for life that I never felt before. As I watched the events unfold in Japan, Haiti, and the Middle East, I am struck with a sense of grief for the people there. I know what it’s like to lose a family member. I know the pain they are in. The incredible strength the survivors have is inspiring. Every day events like that remind me to appreciate the life I have – in fact, it forces me to take notice of my life and do whatever I can to make a difference in other people’s lives. That’s why I continue to run my charity, because the little things help. To date we’ve raised over $100,000 for families in need, and this is just the beginning.
As I spend today at Emma’s swingset listening to the Beatles, I will certainly cry and think of what could have been. Then, as Ella climbs on my back pulling my hair, it will be a gentle reminder to focus on what will be. Those of us who are still in this world are destined to reach out and help each other as well as ourselves. Back when I was blogging more often, my words tended to be more eloquent on this very subject.
We hope that people who were touched by Emma’s story will do what they can to become an influence on someone else’s life the way Emma became an influence on ours. If someone who only lived 4.5 months and never left the hospital can have this kind of effect on people’s lives, imagine what a full grown healthy person can achieve. Emma brought people together, even for a small instant of time for a reason. She wanted to share with us this lesson. A little love can go a very long way. You only have a short period of time in this world; use your most powerful tool to make a positive impact on other people’s lives.
Love is all you need.
Yes Emma, love IS all you need. Thank you, my little pierogie. I love you.