My Daughter, My Friend
"On August 30, 1995, our daughter Stacey was taken from us suddenly and tragicallly in a traffic accident. She was struck by a car while she was jogging. She was 18 years old, a superior athlete, a top student and loved by so many. She was beautiful and had a special gift of relating to people in a way which enriched them and herself. She didn't just live life, she devoured it. There didn't seem to be enough time in the day to do all of what she wanted to accomplish, but what she did accomplish in her brief life amazes everyone. She had set her sights on a career in medicine and would have entered university next year. We who knew her well have little doubt that she would have succeeded.
All of this sounds like a movie script which was written to evoke sadness and despair. As her father, I wish to God that it was a movie script. But in all of our grief we have come to realize that there is a message in how Stacey lived her life and how we were as a family, which may be of some comfort and inspiration to other parents and teenagers. We are able to find the strength to carry on, because our hearts are devoid of regrets or anger. We could not have spent any more time with Stacey, hugged her, kissed her or told her we loved her more than we did. These were daily occurrences. She gave us back double of what we gave to her.
By striving to be the best that she could be, by willingly receiving love and giving love unconditionally in return, Stacey filled her life with joy and meaning and left us with a store house of wonderful memories. Her greatest legacy to us is her poetry, which she began writing at an early age. Her poems show a sensitivity and wisdom well beyond her years and serve to comfort us in our time of sorrow. We intend to publish her writings, so others can enjoy them and benefit from her insight. The following poem was written when she was 12 years old.
ENCOUNTER WITH DEATH
I saw death the other day.
I had a meeting with it at 9:00, at it's office downtown.
I was expecting to see a dark shadow with sharp teeth and claws.
But, when I got there I was met by a kind, old woman.
She smiled at me and brought me to her office.
It was like she could read my thoughts, because right away she said,
"So, you want to know about the other side".
"yes", I replied. "Please tell me about It".
I listened eagerly.
"Well it's not what it seems, as you've probably already noticed", she said calmly.
"Death is not evil with devils, nor kind with angels. It is simply me taking you in
so you can fight through another life much like you do now".
So I smiled and said, "Death really isn't so bad after all. So what if I die?
Everyone's greatest fear is death, but not for me anymore. Now I can live my life free. Free from the fear of death. I guess coming face to face with your fear and talking it out really does pay off".
As I got up to leave I said, "Thank you Mrs. Death, and I'm sorry but I can't stay any longer. I now have an appointment with guilt".
That poem and the following poem, which she wrote at the age of 9, were read at her funeral.
"I Am a Rose
I am a rose
I drink the purest of waters.
I stand big and tall in my brand new vase
and when people walk by
they stop and gaze
at my wonderful yet delicate
petals of red.
Then they totter off swinging
And with a backwards glance
they run down the aisle
in a skip or a prance!"
She was my dive buddy, my tennis partner, my roller blade pal, my soul mate, my best friend. I have been told that the amount of pain I feel is the measure of the love I have for Stacey. If this is true, I love her more than any words could possibly describe. Thank you for listening to my story.
Her father, Ned.
You can send email to Ned at firstname.lastname@example.org
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