As I lay awake tonight I kept thinking one particular thought, which came to me yesterday as we stood in the line waiting for our final run, as a group, at the St Jude Benefit. There were so many people there, all for one purpose. Yet, in my soul, I knew that there were those among us whose passion for this effort runs deeper than anyone could ever imagine. These were the parents whose children have fought and suffered because of childhood cancer. They are parents who raise their fists in protest at the ugliness of child illness and death. Some of these parents probably knew victory over this disease in their child's life and want other parents to know that same victory. Others are left with that ever present hole and recoil at the thought of any other parent living with the same grief. Regardless of the circumstances, those parents were there, I just didn't know which ones they were. The stories of heartache were written on the hearts of many but I didn't know those stories. In the same way, there were few among the thousands that could possibly know that, while I cannot begin to understand the pain of watching my child suffer, I do know the grief of saying good bye far too soon. I spent the entire day running alongside of people who had no idea that we have lost a child.
Laynee's is a story that, as time goes on, will be told with less and less frequency. As new events and experiences fill up our lives and ultimately, identify us, Jalayne Grace Holmes and her memory will begin to fade into history. New acquaintances may never know that we have 6 children, 3 daughters, a little girl with Down Syndrome or that we have a child, our daughter and sister, who died suddenly and tragically. I suspect that, even now, there are people with whom I work, those I did not know until this year, who do not know about Laynee. As Jamee begins to enter into the college phase of her life, most of the people she comes in contact with will never know the story of her littlest sister. As I have accompanied her to meet with some of her potential college advisors, I have heard her tell, when asked, that she has 5 siblings. The rest of the story remains untold. As a general rule, in everyday conversation, we do not make a point to tell others about this pain of ours. So it is, that as we move along with the steady progression of life, Laynee's impact on this world will become lessened.
While those close to us, perhaps even all who faithfully read here, will never forget that Jalayne was and is a huge part of our life, there are those who will forget. Though it seems impossible that anyone, regardless to what capacity they know us, could forget such an event, my eyes were opened to this probability a few months ago. In December, I wrote a post about the foster child that lived and died with us when I was a teen. After writing that post, I was amazed by the number of people who told me, "I had forgotten about that," still more people never knew about it. This has been a heavy reality for me ever since. My mind cannot fathom that anyone who knew even a glimmer of my little girl, could forget her. However, I suspect that somewhere, sometime, somehow, someone will forget.
I know that, in the big picture, this really does not matter. Laynee has and will continue to touch each and every life that she was meant to touch. The fact that some may forget or never know about her does not make her short life any less meaningful. Those who love and support us will never forget. I know that with absolute certainty. Perhaps the thing that bothers me most about this is knowing that anyone who does not know about the priceless treasure of Jalayne's life or our horrific encounter with grief, can never truly know our hearts. While I do not want to be forever remembered as "the one who's child drowned," neither do I want anyone to forget her. I want everyone to remember, to treasure, to cherish her.
Please do not forget the prettiest girl
her pure love
her complete happiness
her utter joy
her perfect simplicity
her stunning beauty
REMEMBER HER ALWAYS