“Remember me with smiles and laughter, for that is how I will remember you all. If you can only remember me with tears, then don’t remember me at all.”- Laura Ingalls Wilder
As I grow older, certain memories have stayed with me lingering as questions. I replay them over in my head, wondering why something that seems so ordinary, has somehow snuck into my mind as a meaningful memory.
One of these memories involves a very special little girl named DeLeigh. DeLeigh belonged to the same church as me as a child. She was two years older than me, and had been diagnosed with MPS III or Sandfilippo Syndrome, at a very young age. Due to this, DeLeigh needed someone to be with her at all times. While I have no memory of how many times DeLeigh sat by side while her mom was in church service, or how many times we wandered the halls together both unable to sit still for a full two hours (or longer/ louder if the Spirit was EXTRA strong in Brother Rigdon’s coffee that morning). I have never been able to describe the kinship I felt to DeLeigh during those days. I felt like we had a secret language no one else knew. I truly believe she heard EVERY word I said, and I hope she knew that our friendship was true.
DeLeigh has remained in my heart and in my mind since those early days. I replay the walks through the halls and I can still see her face beaming back at me laughing and smiling with Joy.
One day not too long ago, my mind went to wandering, as it often does. This was around the time I was feeling a little lost and overwhelmed in life. (See: Today, I Quit My Job) I was searching for reassurance that I had chosen the right path for my life, and that I was living in a way one should be proud of.
All of the sudden, my mind stopped cold. Amongst the slur of thoughts and confusion, I saw one face smiling back at me; laughing like I had asked a stupid question, and reassuring me that I too was special. There was nothing ordinary about that memory, because there was nothing ordinary about that little girl.
Special people, start with special parents. Darla Corzine, is one EXTRA SPECIAL mom. She raised the most innocent, compassionate and special human I have ever come in contact with. I immediately got back in contact with Darla unsure of what I had to offer, but certain that I wanted her apart of my life.
Since that day, Darla has become a part of our beautiful staff here at Altered for the Altar. And every day, she is given the opportunity to “mother” our brides. Though she will never get the chance to walk her little girl down the aisle, she is thrilled to get the chance to be a part of every clients big day. DeLeigh was built by the most selfless person I have ever met, and there is no one else I would rather be surrounded by day-to-day.
Like Mother, Like Daughter.
So Dear Darla, THANK YOU! Thank You, for your daily “Darla Hugs” not just to me, but the entire staff as you enter the door. Thank You, for genuinely asking how I am doing every single day, and taking great interest in the answer. Thank You, for raising one of the greatest friends, I have ever known. And, THANK YOU, for looking at me every day like I am anything BUT ordinary. We may not share DNA, but you have treated me as your own since day one. And, Darla Corzine, I have nothing but a daughters love for you.
This Blog is dedicated to the memory of one SPECIAL LITTLE GIRL. DeLeigh lived to see her 26 Birthday, the same one I will soon celebrate in June. Never take anything for granted, and always remember the ones who got you to where you are. Behind every great daughter, stands a selfless, even better MOTHER!
On behalf of everyone at Altered for the Altar, HAPPY MOTHERS DAY Darla, and to all the other special Moms out there!!
**Wink, smile, and a tiny little laugh** I love you, dear friend.