I’m thinking of two classmates from high school today: Anne Wallace-Demenkow and her husband, Shawn. Their daughter, Emily, would have turned 13 this week.
She died from cancer at age 6.
I know from my brief Facebook exchanges with Anne that this was a terrible loss for her family. What could be worse than losing a child? I don’t know the answer and I hope to never find out. But I’ve lost a sibling and I saw what that did to my parents.
I bring this up because there are a lot of ways this kind of loss can ruin a person. Some people are eaten alive by the pain and others learn to keep living despite it. Anne and Shawn found a way to keep living.
I never knew Emily and, truth be told, I’m not close with Anne and Shawn. We’re just connected on Facebook because we went to high school together. Anne was in my shop. I didn’t think much of her back then. I’m sure the feeling was mutual. No big deal. We just hung out with different crowds.
But on reconnecting via Facebook a few years ago, I’ve seen what a dedicated Mom Anne is. She has shared the pain of losing Emily, but the joy she feels over her other kids, her husband and her community shine through daily.
You can tell a lot about a person by the stuff they post on Facebook. Some people troll, whine and brag. Others simply share their joy and gratitude over being alive, even if life has been cruel at times.
I stay connected with the latter crowd because I need that positive energy to rub off on me.
I want to thank Anne for sending that positive energy, despite what she’s been through.
May her and Shawn take comfort in knowing their little girl is looking out for them from Heaven.