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.

9 Responses to “Whispers”

  1. mary schmidl says:

    So very touching. Struck me in my core. I am saddened by your loss but happy for the joy your daughters have brought you, both.

    Maybe, now, we will get a cure.

    with much gratitude

  2. Rod says:

    Reading your words, I cannot see how you failed. Elena is amazing (I say “is” as I believe she continues to lives through you, Brooke and Gracie) since her strength and wisdom has been drawn from you and Brooke. She has accomplished amazing things due to the experiences, knowledge and love that she has received. This means that you have not failed but has also achieved, with Elena, teaching the lessons of inspiration, hope and love.

    I am fortunate as I have a 6 year old girl who will soon be 7. I too whisper in her ear every night when she is asleep that I love her. I thank God for how luckly I am.

    Thank you for sharing a part of yours, Brooke, Gracie and especially Elena’s life with us.

  3. Amanda says:

    Thank you so much for sharing Elena with us, the world. As I dry my eyes, I pray that the cure is found soon. Cancer has left me nearly alone in this world. I am scared, not only for me personally, but for my 3 children…and their children.

    I hope that Elena’s notes continue to reach out, touching countless hearts along the way.

  4. Shannon Mejia-Flores says:

    God, as i read this, tears are rolling down my cheeks. What a beautiful and amazing child and such a short life. I have two small girls of my own, 2 and 4 months. Every night before i go to sleep i look at them and say i love you so much. I cannot imagine my life without them. I am so happy that you have decided to make her life a forever long legacy. Hopefully this will help save many other children. My prayers are with you both and your daughter. God bless that beautiful angel in heaven.

  5. zad says:

    very inspired story..im tryin to get a copy of this book, here in malaysia..

  6. Amanda says:

    I’m only 14, but I think it’s wonderful what both of you are doing. I want to buy the book and read it to help support The Cure Starts Now. What Elena left behind for her parents to read made me cry.
    Thank you for sharing the story with all the world!

  7. lee says:

    i also have a daughter and she’s very much like Elena… she loves to draw all sorts of things and telling stories to bring her imaginative characters to life… thank you for sharing us your Elena…

  8. hannah says:

    It broke my heart and am sorry for your loss. I have a 3 yr old daughter – she means the world to me, will go home and give her a big hug. Its just amazing what Elena has done. All the very best for you and your family. God bless you and your family. best regards, Hannah

  9. Denise says:

    I am going through my own crisis but it doesn’t seem so bad after reading about your family and getting to know Elena. She is a remarkable little girl!! I could not put the book down and it made me think that my situation could always be worse! I would have loved to meet her! I was deeply saddened when she passed on but I know she is still with us watching over your family and hiding notes in Heaven!! She’s truly an Angel!!!
    God Bless!!