Two years ago, today, I said, “You are loved.” It was followed by Britt drinking the prescribed medicine that carried her into the next realm. It’s a day that is painfully etched in my mind. Painful, because I knew that I would never again see that smile, hear that laughter, or see the sparkle in those eyes. Yet, I also remember it’s beauty. Beautiful, because Britt was able to slip peacefully into the next realm. She was not in pain. She was surrounded by those she held most dear. She did not suffer. I found comfort in the fact that we, as family and friends, had listened to Brittany’s needs and desires. We did our best to understand that this was her battle and these were her needs and her wishes. We supported what was right for Brittany. That brings me much peace.
One year ago, today, Gary and I vibrated like tuning forks to Machu Picchu, as Brittany wished. She had said to me, “Mom, You go to Machu Picchu and you’re going to know I’m there.” She was absolutely correct. I felt my girls presence, everywhere. I cried all the way down the mountain. I heard her say to my heart, “Don’t you get it, Momma? I’m always with you. Yes, these ancient ruins are sacred, but so is our love. Nothing can separate a mother and daughter, not even death. Not spouses, or friends or foes.” Machu Picchu’s sacred, mystical healing powers grew like seeds within my heart. My girl knew. She knew where to meet me. She knew what I needed. She pushed me out of my comfort zone. She knew the only way to get me to Machu Picchu was with her promise to meet me there. She kept her promise. She was there. So, I continue to keep my promise to her.
Today, I offer up a book about her Wild and Precious Life, her bravery in facing down her disease, and her legacy for all terminally ill patients. I continue to speak, as she asked me to. My heart is full of Brittany, today. She is so present. She surrounds me and is with me in everything I do. The bond between mother and daughter can never be broken. I’ve learned that through this difficult process, I am stronger than I ever believed. While, I carry the pain with me each day, I am very much aware that my baby girl is always by my side. As promised, I have mustered up the courage to continue to spread awareness and advocate for all terminally ill patients that want end of life options. I know that she is proud of me. I know that I’m doing what she asked of me. “Speak up, Mama. Even if your voice shakes. Even if it’s scary. Speak up for those who can’t.” Today, I continue to do my best to honor my baby girl.