Friday, June 22, 2007
My Eulogy to My Lovely Daughter, As Read June 21, 2007
Our dear daughter has slipped the surly bonds of Earth to touch the face of God. She leaves a huge emptiness in the hearts of all of us who loved her, many who were her friends, and even more who just had a glimmer of her through our family.
It’s cliché, but Brianna was truly beautiful inside and out. You could feel her energy when she was near. She was 17, bubbly, outgoing, vivacious, funny, silly at times and just simply like no other. She wanted to try all things new and was not afraid. Brianna enjoyed life and was eager to taste all that it offered.
We planned to go to Paris, as part of her Make a Wish. She wanted to see Alaska and she would have loved to experience Japan. She liked almost anything that had an Asian flair, and loved sushi. While she was in the hospital, we made plans for the family to go back and visit Memphis to enjoy her favorite sushi restaurant. Also, she wanted to bask in the sun while sitting in the lovely backyard of our dear friends and neighbors Alissa and Steve.
I’m telling you these things because some of you only knew Brianna through me and didn’t get a chance to be impressed by her, like so many were upon first introduction. Those of you who did know her, realize that we will miss her laugh, her funny little squeals, and the sparkle in her big blue eyes.
She had a wide taste in music from Johnny Cash to Green Day. She loved to dance and to to concerts. Brianna’s love of art varied from large scale stencils and street art to abstract and the masters. Her room is a collection of Hello Kitty, quirky signs, doodles from friends and her own hand and different little things she found interesting. She had a knack with her camera and would take candid pictures of friends and even herself. She made so many, many friends in her short life.
Brianna really had it all. She was beautiful and smart and warm and caring. She would have been deciding this summer if she were going to attend an art school in New York and follow her passion of creating hand crafts, sewn bags, stenciled clothes, journaling or painting. Or, if she would take the more practical approach and head to MIT and follow her love of math and chemistry.
She and John shared a close father/daughter relationship. They had similar personalities looking for adventure and a willingness to move to new cities and see the world. Brianna would turn to him for advice about school, college choices and career. He was the champion of her dreams. When she was worried, she’d go to him and he’d calm her fears, ending their conversation with a hug and “I love you baby.”
Brianna loved her brother Trevor immensely. She shared a special bond with him that only comes from being close siblings and close friends. You would hear them talking together in one of their rooms, or exchanging knowing glances and laughing about something, and relying on one another when alone. Every night they told each other I love you before going to bed.
Brianna and I shared a closeness that only a mother and daughter can. We laughed together and cried. She loved to create almost anything and I indulged her. We’d go shopping and she’d find yet another purse to bring home and add to her growing collection. She began to take more of an interest in vintage clothing and antique items, and we’d go to the antique market or thrift shops together looking for unique treasures. I would often turn to her for an opinion on a piece of art I was creating.
Brianna and her friends Chelsea and Nina would come over and hang out in my studio and make jewelry, painted shirts, altered tees and whatever their hearts desired. Or, they’d be in the kitchen cooking up a new recipe Brianna found and wanted to try. You’d hear them all giggling and sharing stories. Brianna would always make more to share with the rest of the family. She was so considerate.
Most importantly, Brianna was brave, courageous and strong. In the hospital, she made plans to start a garden and begin a regular exercise program when she was well. She crocheted a frosted cupcake and donut with beaded sprinkles, and she met the winner of last year’s Suvivior series. The doctors, nurses and other care professionals were touched by her sweetness and fortitude. And they saw her willingness to do what had to be done to get well, often called her a “trooper.” Really, she was a warrior.
She lived only a short 8 months after her diagnosis of MDS, and of those four were in the hospital. She fought with all her might after undergoing a bone marrow transplant and getting a lung infection in February. I stayed with her sleeping in the room until two months ago, when Brianna was admitted to the intensive care unit with pneumonia. She was unconscious for almost the entire time. I held her hand often in the hospital and stroked her brow, massaged her feet, encouraged her, talked to her and told her I loved her. The cruel part is that she was so close. Just a week and a half ago, she was communicating with me and the nurses picking music to play and pointing. Then, last Tuesday her heart temporarily stopped from bleeding in the lung. By Thursday, it was evident she would not recover and on Friday I held her hand, pressed it to my face and kissed her for the last time.
I want her near me, to feel her cheek pressed against mine and her arms wrapped around me squeezing me like she did, and say “Mom, I love you. I’m so glad you’re my mom.” Or when she hugged John and I and said “I’m so glad you’re my parents.” We strove to give Brianna roots and wings, we just never thought she’d fly so high, she would soar beyond our reach. My dearest darling, we will miss you forever and can’t wait for the day when we can be together again to laugh, share, hold each other and say I love you.
Brianna has gone into the light and is now free.