this has been a strange week. but I’ll take strange. wholeheartedly. with open arms. and be glad. because while my week has been filled with introspection and taking stock and appreciating the people in my life, people I know are having a tragic week. a week filled with loss and sadness. affecting them personally and profoundly, while it only touches me peripherally, if at all. separate stories of strangers. car crashes. boating accidents. hit-and-runs. news stories. friends of friends, a friend of some family. gone. all of them young, taken shockingly. abruptly. it’s not like it isn’t always happening, but sometimes it brushes up closer than you’re used to. closer than you’d ever like it to be.

in 2009 Jen Newman, owner and creator of Lillibands, started LilliCares in memory of her younger brother, Ret, who lost his battle to Ewing’s Sarcoma in 2000 at the age of 15. he asked his family to “give back” and help children and their families fighting these terrible diseases. in june, a group of children from Avondale Estates, GA spent the afternoon packaging up and delivering Lillibands and Ninjabands to Egelston Children’s Hospital. they spent time with the patients and were able to learn first hand about what it means to be fighting cancer. I was lucky enough to be a part of this, and to have Intern Christina with me to capture some of these images.

I see bewilderment and anger and oh-so-much sadness all over my facebook newsfeed. from so many different corners. and I see love. love love love. so much love flowing. through remembrance. through words, stories and pictures. my cousin wrote this about a dear young friend of my west coast family who was killed in a hit-and-run on her 30th birthday on monday:

“it is true.
good-byes are always hard.
but they’re the hardest because the hellos were so wonderful.
the great pendulum of life.
this is a little fall of rain compared to all the sunny days Claire Rose gave you.

blessed are we who feel the light in all these storms.”

I see Jen and her family talk about Ret. always laughing and smiling and remembering all the sunny days he gave them. and all the good and happy and love? they send it out into the world, and give it especially to those who need it extra much. because he asked them to. and because that’s the kind of people they are.

I know that all these stories are ultimately not at all about me, but I do what everyone does when they are reminded about how ephemeral life is. I look up out of the busyness that is everyday and stop taking it for granted, if only for a moment. I appreciate it all. I hold on to it and embrace it while I can. I squeeze my husband’s hand. I hug my kids extra long. I kiss them as they sleep and whisper in their ears of love and sweet dreams. I cross my fingers and my toes. I close my eyes and make a wish to keep those that I love safe. and I feel the light in the midst of all these storms.


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