Feb 18, 1993. 25 years ago this amazing person came into our world, but was only allowed to stay for a short 16 years. This day hasn't gotten any easier over the last 9 years, it's a bittersweet pulling in the heart of wanting to celebrate all the joy and happiness she brought into our lives against the drag of all the heaviness of grief that time cannot lighten.
So today, I want to share some of her gifts. Her smile, and the spark in her eye that hint at all her joy, humor, and exuberance. Even if you didn't know her, you can tell this is a girl who you would share laughs with, who could make the mundane fun, who was filled with energy, gentle kindness, and bold spirit.
To those who did know her, I hope these photos of her smile remind you to listen for the echo of her laughter mixed with your own -- around a table, in the hallways of your younger years, mixed in with the smoky scents of a summer bonfire, and rising above a quiet Saskatchewan backdrop on the crisp air of a quiet afternoon or a twilight summer sky.
And may we also remember the times beyond the laughter. When tentative dreams unfolded into plans, the times we cried, the times we learned from each other, and maybe just the times that seemed like they meant nothing at all -- laying on the floor listening to music, watching a movie on the couch, going for a drive -- not knowing that those times really meant everything. Because in those times, you were content to quietly hang out and invest in each other the most precious commodity any of us have -- time.
Today, as we remember the start of this precious life, and how much she meant to all of us, I hope we also remember how much she loved her friends, and family, and the true warmth of being loved by her.
I remember the sound of her voice so clearly, the strength of such a big presence, even as a very young girl. The laughs, the silliness, trying not to laugh when it wasn't supposed to be funny but it was comically dramatic (who can forget the classic sign on the door one day that read "keep out. i've been having a bad day for 3 days now"). I remember how she hovered over her little brother when he was small. I remember the seriousness of a 12 year old girl who wouldn't drive the seated lawn mower around the yard even though it looked fun because it came with a manufacturer sticker that said children less than 16 shouldn't operate it. The toddler I had to pick up and run through the crosswalk with to cross the street when they visited the city because she had been instructed as a farm kid that she must never go into the road (and she wasn't going to let me do it either). I know she felt her emotions so deeply. I watched her friendships blossom, and watched her go from a little girl who drew horses into a girl who loved the artistry of her camera and computer, and wanted to study graphic design. I smiled as she told me how she loved volleyball, and wondered how the years were going so quickly when she met a boy.