In Multnomah Village, in a little house with an apple tree and a garden of sweet peas, roses and lilies– a terrible, nagging pain in my daughter’s side became cancer. Alexandra was three and I was 26. And our family fell down the proverbial rabbit hole.
It wasn’t a curable cancer written on the pages of Alex’s young life but a stage 4 metastatic, less than 5% chance of survival type of cancer.
Getting a diagnosis of that magnitude was like entering the dark magical world of Harry Potter – it was evil and frightening and we were lost. But in these darker moments of our family’s story, Alex had a way of clicking her ruby red slippers to take us back to joy. Make believe, music and silliness ruled our long days. I remember our life back then – it just had more colors and songs. Stories and dress up were the medicine we loved best.
Sadly, for Alex, there was no wand or spell that we could find to save the day. I had no magical powers to keep her alive. She was just five and a half when she died in our arms. She was a benevolent princess in the lives of all who loved her, and she lived a short and beautiful story.
Alex taught me that in the story of our life, we may only get a few chapters. That when people ask, when life asks, good people say yes. Working with so many amazing individuals over the last 19 years has taught me we can’t do this thing called life alone.
So I ask you: how will you fill your chapters? I hope you to fill it with the things that lift your heart with wonder and make you happy. Make others lives better. Then help others to do the same. Today, you have an opportunity to FEEL JOY and DELIVER JOY.
Because everyday heroes are like that. You are unpredictable, you are courageous, flawed and precious and live in our midst.