How many of us have had a loved one die in our arms?
Precious little ones, with all the hope, beauty and innocence of the world radiating from within. Letting go was a pivotal moment in my life. I can remember watching the machine calculating how close she was to the edge of death, begging her to hold on, whispering and wailing all in one breath.
The doctors had already told me there was nothing else they could do, so I sat there, holding her hand and gently wiping away the trickle of blood from her tiny little nose in between sobs. At one point, the doctors put her in my arms and I remember rocking her and singing quietly. And then, finally, as a calm took over me, I told her she could go. She waited — we both waited — for her father who was stuck in a taxi in a traffic jam. Yet, her moment of passing, silent and still, happened with only me in the room. Within minutes her father appeared at the door, signifying the moment when our journey began as bereaved parents. A journey long and dark, drowned in tears, yet pierced with moments of light when she felt close. But as months went by, her presence faded and with dull resolution, we returned to normal life.
That was three years ago. We are still on this journey, but the scenery is different now. Her memory brings more tenderness than tears, and she now has a brother who brings joy and laughter into the house. It was but one week ago, that our grief took on a new and different meaning. We realized that we wanted to honor and celebrate her life by giving back.
Everyday, I work to bring music into the lives of at-risk youth. I am passionate about the power of music, and have been for many years. This dedication has taken me across the world and back again, fostering international exchange in Japan, sprouting local youth music ensembles in Tanzania and now bringing after-school music programming to at-risk youth in Michigan. So the idea of starting a scholarship fund in our daughter’s name became a natural next step in our journey. This fund will give youth the opportunity to shine and embrace their future through music; and if it resonates outwards, will bring together friends, family and maybe even distant strangers through a unified show of support.
If you would like to join us in our efforts to honor our daughter, Samira, please go to our GoFundMe site. Any contribution will be received with the utmost gratitude and will mean much more than words could ever express. Ultimately, we wish for hope and strength for all those who are on a similar journey and offer the assurance that the scenery on this journey does indeed change, for the better.
Photo credit: adapted from UnnarYmir | Flickr