I am both sad and happy to report that after weeks and months, and sometimes even hours and days, of great suffering our beautiful angel returned to her Father in Heaven this morning. My sister told me her passing from this life into the next was peaceful--a wonderful blessing after the months of suffering she's endured
She has been so brave, enduring what would be difficult even for adults with grace and dignity. Her courageous battle, along with her that of her mom and dad, has touched so many lives. Perhaps we can't see it now, in light of the grief, but perhaps doing so has been part of her mission in this life. Perhaps it has encouraged people to re-examine their priorities to remember what is really important and to hold onto their families all the more. If so, it has truly been a life well lived. If not, it's still been a wonderful life.
My own heart feels broken right now, but I know that it's no worse than what my sister and her family are experiencing. I am eternally grateful that our merciful Father in Heaven has finally ended her suffering and called her home again. It gives me peace to know that. But my heart aches at the thought of never seeing her again, of never watching the expression come over her face when she said something sassy to me, of never meeting her at her favorite restaurant, Chuck-a-Rama, again when she came to Salt Lake for her doctor's appointment.
I'll miss all the little compliments that she would always send my way from telling me how beautiful I am to how much she loves me or that "my money doesn't work here" when we met for lunch. (I'm pretty sure that legacy comes from her wonderful father.) I'll miss the hugs she always gave and the fact that she loves everyone, even people who are difficult to love. I'll miss her cute little stories about silly things her brothers have done, told from the perspective of a benevolent older sister. I'll miss watching her crank up the music and jam with the best of them. I'll miss all the dramatic little things 12-year-olds do just because they're 12.
But most of all I'll miss the special connection that I've always felt with her. We are aunt and niece, but I loved her (as I do all my nieces and nephews) like she was my daughter. I was so very excited to be an aunt, and she was the first grandchild who came along. Her life has never been easy, but she endured it well. I haven't had the experience of being her mom of worrying and watching over her every day of her life, of caring for her as her body began to shut down. But I think for the 12 years she was on this earth that there was seldom, if ever, a day when she wasn't included in my prayers, when I didn't think about her or when I didn't feel such a strong love for her.
Farewell beautiful angel. Your family still here on earth loves you very much and can't wait to see you again someday. Please watch over us and know you'll never be far from our hearts.