I started this morning feeling rather cranky. Job issues, personal issues, mostly because Amanda (my young adult daughter) has been awol for almost two weeks, with no word from her, and I feel torn up inside, although I TRY not to show it. (TRY being the watchword...give me a little grace...)
We all feel like we go through times when we can't bear much more, don't we? I'm sending you this, not to make you or I feel sad, but to help you and I remember just how blessed we are.
I work for Ronald McDonald House, and it was here that I was privileged to meet a little girl named Elizabeth. Last Saturday, eight year old Elizabeth lost her three year battle with rhabdomyosarcoma. This was mom's eulogy for Elizabeth this past Wednesday. It's a little long, but sometimes, we just need something that will put our own lives in perspective, don't we? I believe this will do it for us.
Mom got up at the service for Elizabeth, and without breaking down, celebrated the joy that was Elizabeth by sharing her heart:
I have to tell you about this little girl named Elizabeth. Elizabeth was a gift to me, a gift to the world. I was chosen to be the mother of this amazing, smart, beautiful, brave girl. That is what I called her, “My Amazing, Smart, Beautiful, Brave Elizabeth.” I stand before you as the luckiest mother in the world. Elizabeth was extraordinary in so many ways.
Her happiness. She was always happy as a baby and as she grew into a young girl. She had the unique ability to see the reality of life as a child. She grabbed at happiness like catching butterflies in a net. She found joy in every day. She was able to make others smile and feel the love of everyday just by being in her presence. Remember to find happiness in each day.
Her bravery. Elizabeth was the bravest person, not child, but person, I think most of us will every have the honor of meeting in life. She and I consciously decided how we were going to fight this battle early on. We said we could be miserable about this, or we could choose to find the good moments in it. We chose not to be miserable. We chose to fight grandly, steadfast. Thru all of her treatment, procedures, surgeries, scans-there was not a complaint. It was what we had to do to get to the next step, which we hoped would someday be a cancer free life, a true childhood, a growing up. But alas, that was not to be. Instead, we held hands with our eyes open, and forged ahead thru all of it, together, gathering strength from each other throughout the years. That is what bravery is. That is what it is to stay the battle. Remember to be brave in your lives.
Her years. Her years were few but as some of you know, years were irrelevant when you were with Elizabeth. Most people felt like they were talking to an adult instead of a 5, 6, then 8 year old. She had the unique ability to understand profoundly, with all empathy, her situation and those of others. She spoke like an adult. She had the mature feelings of an adult. She accepted things as an adult. She fought like an adult. She would have made a great adult. Remember to look at those around you for who they are, not by their years.
Her artistry. Elizabeth could paint for hours. It was her outlet and joy. It was a reflection of her true self. She would paint cranky. She would paint joy. She loved to copy the great masters, always trying to achieve perfection. Often frustrated by the limitations of her age and skill, she had it in her head but was challenged to let it fly free. Her dream was to travel the world and paint it. I would have loved for her to do that. What stories we would have gathered and shared. Remember to find beauty in your world each day.
Her love. I will miss this most of all. Her boundless, limitless love. Her hugs that reached inside of you and warmed your soul. She and I were inseparable. We enjoyed each other’s company truly. Our relationship was unique. Our love for each other, without boundary. There was just love encircling both of us, sharing the same circle, sharing the gift of time. I told Elizabeth the other day, that these 8 years with her, have been the best years of my life. I had the most fun, the most love, the most life, in those eight years I shared with her. In that way, I cannot see tomorrow. I cannot feel tomorrow. But I would rather have had her, my Elizabeth, for just 8 years, than any other child for a lifetime. Remember to share your love each and everyday.
I was the lucky one. I was given this incredible gift that was my baby. I gave birth to my soulmate, our hearts forever intertwined. Now I give her to my mom and dad, leaving her care with them. Elizabeth was excited to meet my mom and happy to see her Pa again. She was not scared. She was never scared to die. Just sad at all that she would miss; all that she would not be able to do. Sad to leave me. So Mommy, take care of my girl and we will all be together soon and what a grand tea party we shall have.
In the Cleft of the Rock,
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