A little while ago, I posted about Stella, a tiny girl with a huge life, who was diagnosed with a completely untreatable brain tumour 15 months ago, and who has outlived her prognosis by well over a year.
One of the little “moments of grace” in my day before I sleep, most days, is to check the daily update about Stella posted by one of her moms on her blog. A few weeks ago, it looked like Stella was truly slipping away, and many of the followers of the blog and the closely interwoven network of her family started lighting candles. Stella rallied, started eating and drinking again, peppered her world with smiles, being part of a family of five with her two moms, 10 month old brother and 4 week old new brother. Part of a huge, loving village.
This is mine, last night, lit after I finished cleaning all day and making my home feel warm and open to me.
I don’t really know Stella’s family, just her grandmother, who is one of my clients, and whom I’ve watched shoulder the pain of losing a grandchild, be strong for her own daughter losing her daughter. The story is unbearable, and because of that, I’ve felt called to witness it, just be a faint voice in the comments of a blog, be a flicker of a reminder to Stella’s moms that there are people holding themselves open to bear witness to their pain. The family has an extraordinary village of concrete support, and I have also felt that knowing that their story is being heard is ineffably important. So I read every night, make short comments, reflect back the humanness that is so raw.
It’s a moment of gratitude for me for what I have, a moment of human connection, a deep well of learning about what is possible for people to bear, to be present to, to hold. One of Stella’s moms writes most of the posts, and she is an extraordinary writer, present to all of the rawness and hope and mystery of what it means to love.
Stella’s candles are that for me — that reminder to find that thread of love where I can, every day.