I shamefully admit that I hesitated in writing a blog post about you again, because my blog now has more followers whom I don’t know in “real life” than I do. I decided it wouldn’t be a good place to ask for anything, since the majority of readers have no connection to you or your mom or your life. If I wrote and asked for help, it would look like just another blog with a sponsored post. I hesitated out of fear that people wouldn’t get it. Or respond to it.
I am so sorry.
Here’s the thing, Haley. I haven’t forgotten you. I will never forget you. I’ve known your mom for over 20 years, but I only knew you briefly. You were beautiful and brave and you deserved more. More laughter, more trips, more education, more experiences and more time. Your mom deserved more, too. She deserved all of that with you – and for you. You are her only child and sometimes when I think of that, my breath catches and I feel suffocated for her. I shrink back and remove myself from the pain she feels, because there is nothing I can do – I am helpless to heal her.
But I am NOT helpless in keeping your memory alive and helping other kids like you.
Days, weeks and now over a year has gone by. And as much as I know that you had an army of love around you while you were here and in the weeks after you moved on, I also know that time slowly softened the pain for some of that army – save for your mom and those closest to you. There is no fault in that – it’s natural, I know.
But we can’t let the softening of pain lead us into inaction or apathy.
I think of you and your mom every single day. That is not just something I say or write. That is the truth. I couldn’t forget you and your fight – who could? But I also would never let myself if I started to. I remember the moment your mom text me and told me it was cancer. I remember feeling like I was drowning. This is so big. What do I say? How do I help her?! And then I remember going into fight mode. We all went into fight mode. We all rallied.
And we rallied.
And we rallied.
And we rallied.
While you fought and fought and fought.
But somehow, after the battle was over and you moved on, the army became a little smaller. And a little quieter. And though no one has forgotten, the fight seems to not be so important anymore.
BUT IT IS. IT IS SO IMPORTANT.
I wish you were here to tell everyone how important it still is. To put your own face in front of them and say “This is what the fight is for! Do you remember me?! Do you remember my fight? My energy?! Do you remember how sick I was? How I suffered?! Do I have to be in front of you to remind you?!”
If you couldn’t stay here for more, then your mom is damn well making sure that other children will have a fighting chance to. And we all owe it to you to REMEMBER your fight and honor it.
I will never, ever forget you. I will never, ever stop honoring you. And I will never, ever hesitate in asking for help in your name again.
You were not here long enough for all you deserved, but you were here long enough to make a difference. To leave a legacy and a permanent imprint. That is more than some people are able to do in ninety years, Haley.
You did it in just nineteen.