I pulled into the school parking lot those first few weeks of the new school year and kept noticing a new car. What stood out to me was an Arizona State University decal on it, my alma matter, but I also noticed it was a military family from Virginia.
I finally met the mom with the Sun Devil decal, we are both alums and her son was new in my daughter’s class. Her husband is a Marine and they were just stationed here from Virginia. We started chatting and she mentions to her son that my youngest reminded them of their baby Millie. I asked “Oh you have a little sister too?”
His reply knocked me to my knees.
“Yes maam, but she’s dead.”
I quickly responded that they also had a sibling that was a special angel and tried to leave it at that.
I’ve since learned their story. Jayshree shares it better than I ever could but grab your tissues.
It’s more heartbreaking than you can imagine. It reminds me of a line from the broadway show Hamilton – “There are moments where the words don’t reach. There is suffering too terrible to name.”
I know there are days that must be punishing under the weight of their grief. Yet they are finding strength not just to get out of bed each day, but to do so while raising a very kind and happy boy whom my daughter draws pictures for each morning before school.
What I am in awe of though is their resilience in the face of this tragedy. Their determination to make Millie’s legacy into something far greater than her short time here on earth.
They’ve started a foundation.
In less than a year, they’ve raised about $20,000. All while getting ready for a deployment.
Their goal is to increase pediatric cancer funding. Currently, it only receives 4% of all cancer research funding. Jayshree said it best, if someone kidnapped or killed our child, we’d go to the ends of the earth to find them. Why aren’t we doing that with pediatric cancer? #morethan4 is their hashtag rally cry.
They are building Millie’s legacy and putting one foot in front of the other each day, demonstrating tremendous strength and courage with grace and fierce determination. Showing all of us how far a mother’s love can reach while getting through the unimaginable.