My mom summed it up best tonight when she said, “It’s like we have drifted into an alternate universe.”
I learned (more) shocking news this evening. My beautiful, intelligent, and college-bound cousin was senselessly murdered two days ago. When my dad told me the horrific news on the phone tonight, I felt ice water run through my veins. I was already numb. Now, I’m frozen. There are many details that I do not care to write, but you can find the unfolding story here. As my dad spoke of her and her grieving father, I immediately pictured sweet Lauren at my wedding when she was only ten years old. She had taken off her shoes and was playing in the field with my niece and some other children. They were laughing and running, pulling pink ribbons behind them like kites. They played together so happily and innocently for hours. It was a special memory from my wedding that I often recall when I think about that magical day at Windward Meadows. I will remember Lauren like this and pray that her soul will always feel free and without worry or fear. My heart just breaks when I think of my mom’s cousin, Malcolm, dealing with the loss of his precious and only daughter. I can hardly breathe when I think about it.
And suddenly, my perspective on Mary Hazel’s situation changes again. I’ve been a wreck all week thinking about her upcoming surgery and accepting that my one-year-old daughter has cancer. I’ve just gotten to the point where I can say it out loud. I’m mad as hell about it but I’m ready to fight the good fight. When I heard about Lauren, I realized that we are still lucky. We still have our daughter. And she is loved and adored and supported by all who know her. She has been embraced by friends, family, and even acquaintances who are cheering her on. There is hope! We cling to that hope every day, but it is alive and well. The potential for her to be better is real and within reach. We have a long journey ahead of us, but I feel confidently that at the end of it, we will have our perfect daughter back. I would do anything in my power to give Malcolm his daughter back, too.