She was born with profound physical disabilities. Her childhood was fraught with challenges and horrors mitigated by the love and devoted care of her mother and brother. She had undergone more than 20 major surgeries in her relatively short lifetime, and her world had been endless cycles of pain, sickness, hospitalization and hopeful recovery.
She had outlived her life expectancy by a good decade.
And this weekend, she finally died.
I was related to her distantly, through marriage. She and I had met only three times, and most of those times she was too sick even to sit and visit very long.
Her story is not her own, though; it is deeply intertwined with the lives of the people around her. People who are close to me. People who are important to the people who are close to me. People whose emotions are still raw and whose pain is both bittersweet and unprocessed.
I don’t have enough facts to write a fitting tribute to her spirit and her struggles. And I don’t feel I knew her well enough to presume she’d want her story told here.
But I do want to think I can perhaps use this space to make sure she is not forgotten. At least for a moment. Even if it is by complete strangers who don’t even have enough details to picture her mentally or locate her geographically.
And I’d love to think she is finally free of her physical limitations, running and skipping and laughing in whatever elysian fields await us when we leave this earth.
And I leave you with this: Life is short. It’s not always fair. It’s not always happy. Make the most of what you have. And thank the people who make your life richer. You may not have the chance tomorrow.