The following song is what I envisioned myself someday walking down the isle to my future husband to… not saying that it won’t still happen, but Haylie has always been one to help me fantasize about my someday wedding day. This song makes me both happy and sad, which leads me to this story.
What you see:
A gorgeous young lady, married, two beautiful children. Happy and stable in her long term job. Infectious smile, knowledge to out stand your own.
What you may not know:
She is 34. With pancreatic cancer. She is married to a wonderful brave young man named Aaron. A mother to two young children, one embarking into another school year, and another, just learning to walk on his own with out a walker. What you may not have known is that her second child was determined to be a “vegetable” in the early stages of her pregnancy, but too bad, not for her, for anyone who thought the idea was crazy. You see, she had already felt her baby kick, which meant he was alive, which meant he deserved a chance. He was there and he was something special. He was Ben.
Ben was born with water in his brain, not sure of the right terminology but his spine did not develop the right way, he was predicted to be disabled and many lost hope from the first indication during an ultra sound. I first met him in 2011, he was barely 1 year old, couldn’t hold his head up but the sweetest little man I have ever met, full of smiles and laughs that resembled his mom and dad. He held my heart in his hand.
Natalie, everyone will tell you she is Haylie’s mini. Through and through. Gorgeous, adventurous, brave, smart, she is everything Haylie is, in a smaller size. She’s the smartest kid I know. She outwits me in insect facts, and the fact that she has attempted T-Ball has already out done my attempt in any sport.
Haylie told the doctor’s when she was pregnant with Ben that she felt him kick, so no matter what, she will have him and love him, with disabilities or not. Haylie has had funny stories about Natalie, but mostly it was her bragging about how smart Natalie is. How she can talk you through the anatomy of a bug or a plant.
What no one knows:
Is that aside from my immediate role models, i.e., my parents, siblings, and beyonce (jk) … She is my role model. She is the strongest and most bravest woman I know. She is facing life for what it is, unfair and beautiful. She has fought cancer for over a year now, and has made no sign of giving up.
She’s not giving up… she is tired, and physically weak, and who wouldn’t be? When doctors tell you they can suffice pain for now, and give you medication for now… do you blame her? She’s not giving up, she is brave. She’s mentioned how she didn’t want the babes seeing her this way, so, she has decided to get off treatment.
My heart sunk, my knees weakened when Aaron, her husband, walked into our work. I knew he had news, and not good news. He told us her decision, and why. He told us she’s not herself, and distant, so to please not text, call, or anything really. I’m not mad. I don’t blame her. It’s selfish… but I just want to say goodbye.
I’ve never seen Haylie dance, in fact I don’t think she likes to , but what I do know is that her smile makes me smile, her laugh is the sweetest and sincerest of laughs. When I’m happy I like to dance. So to make her happy I make myself look like an idiot by dancing. Plenty of times, I have walked into the hort office and have done a jig and have gotten a smile from her even on her bad days. So now in the toughest of times, through tears, I will dance. Not because Haylie liked to, but because her smile made everything an ease.
She secured doubts when she smiled, as if it was an approval that you’ve done right, or an approval of you making an ass out of yourself. I will dance because her smile made me happy. Because her moving right along is making me move along as well.
Haylie is the most beautiful, sincere, kindest, smartest young woman that was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She has a husband, two children, and a ton (this in in lbs) of people that love her. We will not forget that infectious smile, that sincere laugh. The gardens will not be the same without her, but we will always dance knowing that she is approving of our jack-ass-ery.
I love you Haylie, and this sucks. This, what you’re going through. I didn’t get to hug you goodbye on your last day at work, I didn’t get to tell you I love you like I would normally. But I love you, and you are a friend I will certainly miss. Ben will be my boyfriend until some girl steals him from me, and Natalie will be placed under our Volunteer roster during Butterfly month (she’s been wanting that position for a while). Aaron will be okay, not the same without you, but we will look after him. You are our family. I promise to kick quinceaneras off the floral clock, and dance. I love you Haylie, and even if you don’t read this, I admire you.
By the way,
We have never introduced ourselves to each other. So,
Hi I am Leslie, a cashier here at NCG, nice to meet you…
I love you Haylie.