I received an email from a girl I went to high school with back in August. I hadn't spoke with her since high school graduation I believe. She started off her email with an apology because she was contacting me to make a request.
A request on be-half of a family that lived in her community, who was struggling with the biggest battle of their lives. Their 17 year old daughter Jordan was Diagnosed in 2009 with Stage IV Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma and the odds were only a 7% chance she'd beat it. Well this tenacious girl did it, but it had recurred. This time the odds were even more grim.
Jordan had started a bucket list. On this list was "going to the renaissance festival and participating in costume" or something to that effect. My classmate had contacted me about this item, because she knew I was involved in the festival.
I agreed to help immediately. I believe we are all here to be in service to others. That is what this life is about. Not about making the most money, and getting the most "toys". But giving of yourself, walking through this journey with others, helping when you can.
I read her caring bridge, and decided just a dress and tickets in wasn't going to be good enough.
I have worked with the festival since 2000, starting as a wine wench and over the years I learned that it holds many amazing people that do in fact give of themselves readily to help others. I have seen the Renaissance "family" gather together to help others through battles of disease, or other hardships. I knew that together we could make this "EPIC".
I sent out a plea to the cast, and the response was exactly what I expected. People readily jumped up and said "I can do ______ will that help?" I was so excited. We were able to provide them with an amazing day at festival where Jordan was Queen and her whole family was able to participate.
The family is amazing. Jordan is amazing. I had someone tell me that it takes all of 39 seconds to fall in love with Jordan. I think it's even less. The whole family was quickly adopted into "our" family.
It didn't stop at the one event. They were able to come out at least one day of the follow weekends of this past season. I was grateful to see them each time they joined us. They all gave everyone around them so much laughter and joy.
Last night we said our final goodbyes to Jordan. The disease beat her body, but not her spirit. She left us on Dec. 4th 2001 at 12:30am.
We were all around her bed while her mom held her in her arms. I imagine much like she did when Jordan was first born. Her father and her brother each held one hand. The pain that they were going through at this moment was unbearable. But they are all so strong. So strong for Jordan and each other. It was easily the hardest part of my journey so far. And in saying that I feel like the most selfish person on earth.
Really Nixie? The hardest part of YOUR life? Self centered much?
In saying that..it being the hardest part.... I wouldn't do anything differently. There is no place I would've rather been then right by her side as she left this journey to go to her next. It is the highest honor. It is pure love. It's the LEAST I could do for her. For her family.
I've had people thank me for doing what *I* did for them at festival, and in the days since.... and every time someone says that I feel sick to my stomach. You see it's not that I don't appreciate people saying thank you, but it feels so selfish to have someone "thank" me for doing something that is so necessary, so needed, like breathing. A thank you for being someone's friend.
If I would've walked away from this family I wouldn't hurt like I do now. But I also wouldn't have LIVED like I do now. I am blessed by knowing them. By being able to be in Jordans life if even for a short time. She has made me a better person.
Like I said last night, in my weak attempt to pay tribute to the Amazingness that is Jordan:
Jordan is my hero. She has taught me the true meaning of strength, of fortitude, and of kindness. What it means to never give up, to care for others more than yourself, to stand at the edge and shout to the heavens I will not give in without a fight.
There is no thank you needed for being someones friend, for doing something out of love for another human being.....
Funny thing is that said... I feel I need to thank the people that deserve it.
Jackie, my classmate for contacting me and reaching out, and being involved helping others, without you I would've never met them.
Jordan's family.... mom and dad for sharing themselves and their wonderful daughter with this world, brother for being just as amazing as his big sister even though he doesn't believe it yet, little sister, for carrying that sassy attitude forward, I look forward to watching her grow.
The Renaissance Community.... for always being there and being ready when someone sends out a plea for help.
You see, I didn't do anything that wasn't exactly what was planned out for me to do, I did not have a choice but to love. Because that is my belief. We are all in this life together, and helping one another through it is our greatest purpose.