Just a Girl?

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A few weeks ago I attended a writing retreat. One of the first writing assignments we had to complete was a fellow participant’s obituary. I know, sounds not only crazy, but also a little morbid. How can one person capture someone’s life in words, especially somebody you had just met? We all had a few minutes to sit down and interview our partner then write their obit. This made me think, how would I want to be remembered? Or for that matter, how do others want to be remembered?

Last night I accompanied my husband to a visitation for a person I had never met. My husband had known this person for many years and watched her career grow from intern in the entertainment publicity arena, to owning her own business. Needless to say the room overflowed with her family and cohorts. As I stood and observed the visitors paying their respects to the family, I realized the footprint this person had on everyone in the room deeply affected me. Who was this girl, I thought? I looked around and found myself riveted by the slide show on the wall. I felt a huge smile form across my face.

This girl, this lady, this person, embraced every moment of her short life. I was aware that she had cervical cancer and had begun ‘#TEALPOWER’, in support of raising money for the Princess Margaret Hospital foundation, but I was also struck by her determination and strength that she exhibited during her chemo/radiation treatments. This girl’s courage was unyielding as she beat her cancer once, only to have it return as an inoperable tumour, made me wonder, did this break her spirit? After listening to everyone’s stories about ‘this girl’, I believe her spirit may have taken a beating, but eventually soared as only ‘Alison’ could do.

Alison Salinas’ legacy will be different for every person who knew her. One of the many gifts she left her family will be the ‘#TEALPOWER team’ annual ride to conquer cancer. Now the grieving process has begun for those whose lives she personally touched. And for someone like me who never had the pleasure of knowing this ‘girl’? How will I remember her?

T = Tough

E = Empowering

A= Awareness

L= Love

P= Positive Energy

O= Overcome

W=Win

E= Education

R=Real

Thank you Alison for sharing your story and life with all you had connected with – you weren’t ‘just a girl,’ you were a lady with a huge heart and smile that embraced life with your unique essence – what else can anyone say?

Maybe we all should think about our own obits and how we want to be remembered? Maybe my obit writing assignment wasn’t meant to make me write, but to make me think… hmmmmm…

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