I had come home from college break one summer when my mother confessed she had always wanted to write children's books. She was an elementary school teacher; very well read, and extremely intelligent but it was her compassion, patience, and selfless love that made her an exceptional educator. I couldn't think of a better fit for a children's author.
I confessed in response, I had always wanted to write romance novels. My mother smiled and said, "We should write a book together."
I never brought up the subject again. But when my mother was very ill, battling Stage 4 Cancer, all sorts of thoughts swirled inside my brain, including my mother's dream to be an author. You see, I had to know the things she was feeling, what she would miss when she died, what I could do, who I should be....I had so many questions. I was too young to lose my best friend, my protector, my idol. And she was too young to miss out on her dreams. So I asked her, "Aren't you mad you will die?" I know it sounds silly. Why ask that question...but I needed to know. I needed to understand if I should be angry too. (Because honestly, I was.)
My mother responded. "No. I'm not mad. I'm sad for the things I will never do, the things I will miss." She paused and then said words I will never forget. "But Dana Claire, I am not mad because I will continue to live through you. I will live through your accomplishments, your passions, your actions. You are my legacy."
My mother died later that year and it broke me, in ways I still can't explain. It also strengthened me. Her death made me a better person, a kinder person, a more compassionate person. It also made me more determined and motivated. I wish every day for one more hug, one more "I love you" but I am grateful for what I have learned and experienced because of her death. She did not die in vain. She will live through my actions and love. This one's for you, Mom!
Love, your little girl