It’s Maya’s 18th birthday today. It is a big one.
I am sitting in the room, where Maya was born. I remember the feeling, waking up that morning that, “today is the day.” Five hours later, she was in our arms.
Some say, “how fortunate; you were blessed with such a quick labor!”
I would remark, “yes, as far as time goes, it was short. Please note, short doesn’t mean, ‘easy.’ It may have been short, but it was intense!”
This can be a metaphor for my daughter’s life. Perhaps not only “intense,” but so very full. Maya threw herself into many experiences with her full self. She did so with her sense of adventure, sensitivity, creativity, silliness, kindness, social justice, compassion, beauty, nurturing friendships, intelligence, curiosity and love. In the process, she had a tremendous impact, touching the lives of many. She came into the world so quickly, and she left us all too quickly.
One by one, Maya’s friends are off to college. They no longer have the safety net of being at home, where friends and family understand and share in their deep loss. These friends have chosen to grace their dorm rooms with precious reminders; a gift that Maya once gave them, a photo of Maya, and more. They continue to hold Maya close. I am touched knowing this.
Words from Rabbi Jonathan during the heartbreaking moments at Maya’s burial stick. We look at a gravestone and see, “2000-2015.” Our hearts weep as we reflect on how short her life was. “It’s not the dates,” he remarked, “it’s the dash that counts.”
Today, and every day, I do my best to embrace the dash. Happy birthday, Maya!
Photos taken September 1, 2000 and 2004