Archive for August, 2009


Monday, August 24th, 2009

At night they looked like angels. Lost in a dream; quiet and peaceful. And I wanted nothing more than one last look at the two girls that meant so much to me. So tip-toeing into their room I would turn off the nightlight, cover them with the quilt that had been tossed aside moments before and kiss them goodnight. But before leaving, I would always lean over and whisper into their ears. “You are my princess. You are smart, you are pretty and you will do amazing things,” I would say as I softly stroked their hair before retiring to our room at the end of the hall.

With me, there was never any doubt. Elena and Gracie may have needed the reminder, but I knew that my daughters would always achieve where I had failed. They would stand on the shoulders of my family before them and accomplish the impossible. And Brooke and I would stand on the sidelines and be their biggest fans.

The day Elena died, our world was shattered. She and her sister would always be my princesses. They would be smart and they were certainly pretty. But Elena had only six short years, certainly not enough to do amazing things. Tonight I know I am wrong. In six years she accomplished the impossible and she succeeded where I had failed. Only this time, her role was to inspire and the journey was to be made by others. I see this not only in the efforts people everywhere coming together to cure cancer, but more directly in the letters that we receive still today that start with “you don’t know me but…” and then continue on to tell me how their lives were changed through her struggle to simply live.

Elena’s lesson is not one of death and cancer, instead it is one of hope and of living. She taught me how to live, how to love and how to laugh. I will never forget that lesson.

Tonight I continue to stroke Gracie’s hair and whisper into her ear, “You are my princess. You are smart, you are pretty and you will do amazing things.” I know she will. But before I leave her room, I touch the picture of Elena that hangs above the light switch and whisper, “I love you Elena. You accomplished amazing things.” She certainly has.