Hi Sweet Girl,
Hard to believe it has been 2 years since you went to Heaven. Today we celebrated your life, your friendships and what you meant to a group of kids and to our community.
Your friends are all growing up so much. The gang is all turning 13 this year. Steph drives me crazy on most days, apparently red-headed hormones are the worst kind of spice and let me tell you....mama's getting old trying to raise this one! But as spicy as she gets, she misses you, and when we talk about you, her voice is soft, her smile is big and her heart is full.
I see you everyday in your friends and their friendships. They are all so close. I don't remember ever having such a big group of friends when I was in middle school. They text A LOT and make the most ridiculous Instagram posts with odd quotes under them and most of them are of their backs with them staring in the distance...I don't get it, I just want to see their faces!
See what I mean? They are always touching and hugging, except for maybe Hailey who apparently Steph calls "Hailey who loves hugs", but really hates hugs?! I don't know, I stopped trying to understand. You'd be so happy to see those two friends again. I wasn't sure it would ever happen, but much to my surprise, they are pretty close....Did you have something to do with that?
The crew is huge and spans schools. They love going to the dances together and seeing each other when they can. Your girl Kiana is pretty fun and is probably one of Steph's favorite friends. Except every time she comes over, there is some sort of cooking or slime project that makes a mess. But she gets away with it because she just laughs that contagious laugh and then I forget. She's a good one. Your glow radiates through her.
Bella, 2 years ago I wrote that, you made my drama queen, calm. You made my sassy redhead, kind. You made my, at times selfish child, selfless. Well, your friends learned from you what it takes to keep the lessons alive. The person you were, taught all these wild and crazy kids how to instill those qualities in each other. You are with them always sweet girl.
With love and peace in my heart -
Bella's Bench - March 8, 2018
The first year I worked as a Child Life Specialist, I worked in the playroom covering most of the sessions. With that I knew almost every kid that walked through the doors, I really was known as the "Play Lady" and I was totally OK with that. I often had a group of teens come by late in the session and do what teens do, socialize and hang out. I knew that a few of them were nearing the end of their lives. But I just let it roll and tried to pretend it wasn't really happening, because honestly I had no idea what to do when it did happen.
Then one day, my co-worker came to me and said, we are getting close for our friend. I just looked at her and said, "I don't know what to do," she said "follow me" and we went to his room. She walked in with confidence and I stood in the doorway hoping that the family didn't see me shaking. She looked at me and gently took my elbow and said, "we just sit". OK, I can sit.
Spending time with a child at the end of their life, was not something I ever thought I would do when I decided long ago to dedicate my life to working with children. But now I know it's part of the package and I can handle it.
I can handle it because I had help, I can handle it because a Child Life Specialist before me knew what to do, I can handle it because since then I have had the same talk with Child Life Specialists who came after me.
It means more than you know to be a part of a team. It means more than you know to have a group of colleagues who "get it" when you give them that one look. It means more than you know to have work partners who find humor in the most ridiculous and sometime inappropriate times. They are quite a crew in a dysfunctional family kind of way......and I wouldn't trade that for anything!
Happy Child Life Month to to all!