Happy Birthday Ryleigh


Dear Ryleigh,

Today you would have celebrated your 18th birthday.  A milestone that is typically a joyful time but as this day approached I was worried about how I might manage.  Over the past weeks I have been looking through photos, my blog posts, and your journals.  I continue to be inspired and astounded by your joy, selflessness, love, courage, and kindheartedness.   I look at your smile and sparkling eyes and remember how no matter what loneliness or pain you felt you would greet me with such joy and love — hugging me and reminding me of what is most important.

Ryleigh when you were with us, I was so immersed in the constant stress and trauma of our experiences.  I was so entrenched in doing all the things that needed to be done and looking forward to when we would be done with hospitals and you would be in remission.  I was not very good at slowing down and just being in the moment.  You were good at that…I should have learned from you.  I know your last few years were so hard  but upon reflection  I loved every moment with you.  I cherish our moments together when we would be in a hospital room- watching some reality show or criminal drama.  We would be waiting to hear about a test result or next steps, yet we laughed, talked, and spent time together that was meaningful.  I wish I had appreciated it more.

Ryleigh, I miss you so much.  Saying goodbye to you and missing you has been the hardest thing I have ever gone  through – there are days I wonder how I will endure the deep sorrow I feel. I endure my grief attacks because of you. I have moments when I am overwhelmed by your absence – bursting into tears, feeling lost, and wondering why. But I manage because I knew you wanted me to be happy.  You were selfless because you believed you were a burden.  Ryleigh, you were never a burden.  Your bright heart and joyful way of living even in the darkest times was something I admired and loved about you.  I wanted to give you a present for this birthday.

For your 18th year…

I will try to be more courageous and live life to the fullest. 

I will embrace each moment as if it is my last. 

I will hug and snuggle your sweet nephew, Callum, like you would hug me. 

I will look for joy and happiness in the smallest things. 

I will love with my whole heart and not be afraid to be vulnerable. 

I will eat black forest cake from the middle and enjoy each spoonful as I dig in. 

I will smile more and try to add some sparkle to my days as you did to mine.  

I will write more – share my thoughts and ideas. 

I will love myself and cherish each moment I have with hope, grace, and kindness.  

I will honour who you were the best I can.  

Ryleigh, you were never a burden – instead your are a true blessing and gift. Each day I treasure your gifts and what you gave to our little world.

Happy Birthday my Miss Merry Sunshine….I love you so much.






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