Friday, January 29, 2010


When our kids were very young, we didn't leave them very often. When we did, we chose their sitter carefully and stuck with them. One of these special people was a girl named Emily. Her little sisters were in preschool with our daughter, and we were friends with her family. It was a perfect match.

One summer day between "double day" workouts, Emily was killed in a terrible car accident. She was one of those kids everybody loved, and our community was stunned. I remember moms at the store in our small town, walking like zombies, hugging each other wordlessly. What was there to say? It made no sense. Our beautiful, talented, hilarious Emily. Gone.

Her family, while devastated, amazed us all. They somehow managed to survive. That in itself is incredible, but they did so much more. They celebrated Emily's memory in many ways. She was a gifted athlete, so they helped girls go to sports camp. Emily's older sister wrote a moving article about her in a running magazine. Her parents honor her every time they reach out to other parents. Her father Sam writes, "I feel that as someone who has experienced the loss of a child, that I have a responsibility to call and talk to friends or aquaintances that have experienced similar loss. For me, It is just making myself available to talk, but not "forcing" myself on them. I like to call on the anniversary of the death to let them know that I am thinking of their lost child and them. My biggest fear is people forgetting how wonderful a person Emily was."

We will never forget Emily. Shortly after she died, we moved to another state. Her mom graciously sent us a picture of her with her little sisters and my daughter. It hangs on our wall, and people often ask who is that beautiful girl? We tell them all about her.

Who do you miss? How do you honor their memory? What will you do to make sure no one forgets?


  1. She was our mom. She was the strongest person I knew. Or so I thought. While I had always thought she had everything completely under control, she didn't. She was able to hold things together enough when my sister and I were kids, but as we grew older, and started our own lives, it just became too hard for her. Unfortunately, she turned to drugs. I will never understand that choice, since she was the person that taught me NOT to do drugs. EVER. It just was not an option for my sister and I. She always talked to us. We knew the truth about drugs. We knew the horrors of taking drugs. She always believed in us, and our friends. She was the mom that anyone could talk to, and she would tell you the truth.

    When my mom passed, I could not make sense of it. She should not be gone at such a young age. I should not be without a mom at such a young age. My first born son was only 18 months old. How would he ever know his grandma? How could I make people understand that my mom was special, and not just a drug user that died? How could I honor her?

    I have been a Just Say No advisor for the past 9 years. I love working with kids. I always try to be a positive influence on them. I have been honored to have been able to help some kids, and I have met some truly special kids. My own sons have been affected by my work. They see how important the fight against drugs is to me. I just hope that my mom would be happy, and would understand that I do this to honor her.
    Tanya Boyle

  2. Wow. I can't imagine doing anything more meaningful in someone's memory. Thank you so much.


When someone dies, (other than attending the service), I do this for the family-