Thursday, January 18, 2007

Happy Sweet 16

Taylor would be 16 today. She would be tall and thin. She'd be learning to drive, making her mother crazy. I'll bet she'd have brown eyes and long lashes like her brothers. I hope she'd have the thick unmanageable Johnson hair. She would be my parent's oldest grandchild. She'd be my first niece, one of only two girls in a family full of stinky boys. She would undoubtedly have her father wrapped around her finger.

We had her for only 11 days.

Last night Kim and I talked about her life and our hopes that it would be always mean something. I spoke of my wish to do something today that would honor her, a random act of kindness.

This afternoon our crew went to Fire headquarters for class. Paula, our training officer, asked me to take a pamphlet to Brian (my captain who was not with us). On the front was a picture of a baby. On the inside cover were these words:

‘Following the death of my infant niece Alexandra, Alexandra’s House was born in my heart. It is named in honor of her pure and heroic life. Alex was born with a rare and severe genetic defect that took her life in just over 40 days.”

My niece Taylor Marie was born with a rare and severe genetic defect that took her precious life in only 11 days.

I read the paragraph and the hair on my arms stood up.

I’m not sure where this day will lead. I only know that Taylor was listening to her mother and me last night, eavesdropping as young girls do. She made sure today I read those words.

Alexandra’s House offers residential care for families and their terminally ill babies, grief counseling, memorial and burial planning and many other things that my sister and her husband needed 16 years ago.

Right now I know that Alexandra’s House needs a bathroom painted.

I can paint…


Rebecca said...

Wow!!! You really made me cry here. Sixteen is a hard one. I love you and Kim and Taylor and all of you.

You are a fantastic writer I might add.

Mags said...

A beautiful post...a beautiful way to remember.