Today is one of those days

by Jun 19, 2016

Today is one of those days… where overwhelming feelings shower over me. Last night I saw a post on Facebook from my friend Toni that read “Everyone pray. NOW. Miracle is needed.” Something to that effect. 8pm. I immediately started to think and pray and wonder. I responded back to the post saying “Praying for you. What’s going on? How can I help? etc..” She responded, “Ana.” Ana is her daughter. Ana was 15 years old, a high schooler. My heart stopped. I knew something was wrong. I prayed and hoped. Last night I couldn’t sleep well. Ana was on my heart and mind.

Now, let me take you back to 2010… In 2010 I was in the show The King and I with her son Leo. Leo at at the time was in 6th grade and is now a senior. A great friend of mine. Those days we hung out a lot. Toni would drop him off to play rehearsal, pick him up, often with Ana in the car. This family became great friends with me… encouraging me and being such great friends. I had such great conversations with all of them.

I remember a year ago talking with Ana on Facebook. Encouraging her, giving her praise, doing life with her. It was a joyous talk. I could tell that she had such a gentle spirit and heart. She is a gift to so many with such a big heart who loves others. Everyone could learn a lot from her. She was so strong.

Going back to yesterday, I kept checking facebook trying to see what happend to Ana. What is going on? Was she sick? Was there an injury? Was she in the hospital? What could I do? I messaged Al, their father, whom I had gotten to know as well. I asked how she is. I am worried. Al responds to me “It’s touch and go.” Having no other knowledge than that… I knew something was REALLY wrong. I lay in bed praying, hopeful, with Ana and her family on my heart.

Today I get up and still nothing. Around 12pm, I see an update on Facebook from Toni. She states that Ana had taken her life. I was shocked. It didn’t really fully set in. I couldn’t understand and grasp what happened. I went to work and while I was at work… my phone exploded with a few good friends from this show asking me if I heard what happened, wanting to know my thoughts, etc. I had no words. As I tried to work, I kept thinking of this amazing family and the loss that we have. The loss for a daughter, a sister, and a friend.

Another thing to note is that both my friends Leo and Ana are my adoptees friends. My heart has a special place for adoptees like Ana. There is added complications with those who are adoptees. I know that she struggled with her identity for while. Adoption is such a gift, but sometimes makes it so hard. As I scrolled through Toni’s facebook today, I learn that Ana’s Gotcha day was just a month ago. Christmas was a month ago. Leo’s graduating in a few months. So many important markers and a loss. After my last kiddos leave the center, I start to cry. Cry for Ana. Cry for the family. Cry for the loss. Cry for her friends. Cry for a beautiful life that was too short lived.

Ana-You are loved and you are missed. My heart cries greatly for you. I wish you were still here. I know you are in a better place with no more pain. This world is hard and you were so strong. So strong. I so admired you. I love you.
October my parents and I were at Disney World. We were walking in Magic Kingdom in Adventureland and I pull out my phone. I got a text message from Colleen, my high school teacher and friend. It read “Marty died. Funeral is on Sunday. Please pray.” I let my parents know. We are in shock. That is all we talk about for a few hours. Reflecting upon his wife and three kids whom I am all friends with from high school. Marty died. How? What? Why? Really? No! No…. he can’t. Marty had health complications that led to his death. Livi the youngest is too young…. only in 10th grade. Jay is a junior in college and Ali just graduated with her masters. He is too young. I loved talking with Marty at shows. His smile lit up the room. It was contagious. He was a great encourager for me and always told me to follow my dreams. Good for you. We were going to fly home on Sunday and literally arrived home 30 minutes before the funeral. We arrive in time. Streams of tears roll down my eyes as all three kids and mom speak upon their love for their dad. A dad whom I knew and loved.

Marty-Thank you for being such a great dad to three amazing kids and an amazing wife/mom. You inspired me and encouraged me. I always loved talking with you. You left here too soon. I love you.

Ana, Marty, and others… death. It is real. I miss you.

I’m grateful for the lives you have changed including mine.

Depression in the case for young Ana is real. I’m grateful for Facebook as a tool to letting people know what is going on. I also am disappointed with Facebook with how it can destroy others as it is so easy to get bullied through the internet. If you need help, please get help. Please spread the word about mental health issues. Please stop bullying others. As Ellen says “Be kind to one another.” This world is too hard and not kind. I encourage you to be thankful for those in your life. Help others that need help. Sometimes we can’t help. Be kind to others. Love on others. We all need each other.