Happy Birthday Stef.

Today I watched a three minute talk on TED by a women, Stacey Kramer, that was very fitting for this weekend.  On Sunday, Stefanie would have turned nineteen.

As usual, it’s, quite frankly, a crappy time when all the “if onlys” start playing in my head, and the reasons they can never happen creep into my nightmares and day light hours as well.    I’m not complaining; it’s just a fact.

During her three minute speech (and I encourage you all to watch it) Ms. Kramer talks about a gift, one that brought her all the best life has to offer but almost cost her, her life.   She refers to being loved like never before, being overwhelming by adoration and admiration, enjoying a more united family, recalibrating what’s important in life, redefining her sense of spirituality and faith, meeting new people, being challenged, inspired, motivated and humbled.

Part of me wants to scream, “That’s easy for you to say. You survived and you’re beautiful and healthy. Big bloody deal!” Still, her message is not lost on me, and I know, of course, that her experience is a huge deal and only my sense of “what’s fair” is what wants to kick and scream.

As I reflect back, save for a few of her examples, I can appreciate similar gifts I have received, albeit unwontedly, in the aftermath of Stefanie’s death.

On Sunday, my family will gather at my sister’s home and enjoy each other’s company and they will envelop me in their arms (literally and figuratively) in support as they have done during every step of this journey.

I have been blessed to be on the receiving end of adoration and admiration, not always warranted, but always an honour I am grateful to receive.

Without a doubt I have a healthy sense of what’s important and hope I am creating a full life for all of us.   I have been inspired and motivated to rise to this challenge and humbled by the amazing people I have met along the way.

Honouring Stefanie’s memory is my measure and my guide.  Do I miss her more than life itself and feel deeply sad? Of course I do.  Would I trade all of the above to have her back? In a heartbeat.

But because that isn’t possible, I have to appreciate what I do have and what gifts I have been given as a result of her death.

I echo what Stacey Kramer said at the end of her talk when she said, “So the next time you’re faced with something unexpected, unwanted and uncertain, consider, that it might just be a gift.”


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