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The Beginning of the Rest of Our Lives

As I transition from writing on Jane's Caring Bridge site to writing in a blog, I feel a little lost and uncertain as to what to write. Many things have happened in the last year and especially since Jane's and my dad's death that I often feel empty. In a way, the Caring Bridge entries were easy to write. In the beginning, I was writing so that when Jane grew up she could read about things that I had imagined that she may have forgotten. At the end, when we knew Jane's death was inevitable, I was writing so that her sisters and I would have memories that would last us a lifetime.

I feel so sad for her sisters that they are so young. I hope with all my heart I can do Jane justice and teach them all about her so that they never forget what an awesome sister they have and how much she loves them.

An, although there is a big crack in my heart that will always have Jane and my dad's name etched on it, I am lucky to have faith that they are in a better place. I believe that both of them are in heaven and cancer-free. Jane being very kid-like and painting magnificent sunrises and sunsets and my dad fishing his heart out.

My biggest fear as Jane's mom is that she will be forgotten. I worry that she left this world before she had enough time to really make an impact on others and leave this world a better place. But, it feels like everytime that fear makes a nest in my heart, there is someone that reminds me that my daughter touched many hearts. Divine intervention or a message from Jane - I don't know.

What surprises me the most is the variety of people that Jane influenced. It warms my heart that there are so many kids, young adults and older adults around the world that remember her and so many that are doing their part in raising money for the CureSearch oganization, raising awareness about childhood cancer or keeping her legacy alive by wearing orange in her honor.

It's funny to me that people consider me an inspiration to them when really it is Jane and the others who demonstrate their Jane-like qualities that inspire me daily. There are many examples of inspiration, and I hope that this blog is the place I can continuously journal their influences on me. A recent one that replays again and again in my thoughts involves WDC and Sebeka students and their basketball coaches, teachers and friends. Last week, our family was invited to WDC versus Sebeka basketball games. It was a varsity doubleheader with the girls tipping off the first of the two games followed by the boys varsity match-up.

I was told before the game that people would be wearing orange, Jane's wallets would be sold and that their would be an activity in between the games to raise money. What I wasn't ready for the overwhelming feeling of love that I felt in that gymnasium that night. I tried really hard not to let anyone see my tears. I was relatively successful, and I think the only person that may have noticed me crying was my youngest daughter Anna. She ALWAYS notices no matter how hard I try to cover it up. Nine times out of 10, my four-year-old, soulful young lady likes to announce my crying to the world - and this time was about to be no exception. But, I caughter her in time. I caught her before my tears were the subject of her conversation and announced to everyone within earshot of her cute, innocent, little kids voice.

Anyways, the reason for the tears was that everywhere I looked I saw the essence of Jane. And, as a mom very afraid of her daughter being forgotten, orange is my new gold. The athletes were wearing "Team Jane" orange shirts. And, even some of the girls on the opposing team had orange ties in their hair. And, what I can see everytime I close my eyes and think about it is a gynasium where athletes, fans (on both sides of the gym), students in the students section and the coaching staffs were wearing orange. And, it wasn't just the WDC athletes/coaches/fans, but the Sebeka athletes/coaches/fans too. And, just when I thought I could regain my senses, the boys came out for the second game of the doubleheader. And, to see all the young men shooting their warm-up shots in Team Jane shirts tugged at my heart. Bittersweet to say the least! And, to again see the coaches from both boys teams wearing Jane's shirts - needless to say I cried a lot that night. They were warm tears. Tears of love.

I feel so lucky and so blessed to have been embraced that night by many people who are inspired by Jane and are helping keep her legacy alive. The kids and the adults in the gymnasium that night are my inspiration. They inspired me to start trusting again and have faith that maybe she really won't be forgotten.

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