Last week I was visited by an angel. It came in the form of a three year old dancing-never-stop-talking-whirling-dervish with sandy blond hair and a heart as big as…well, an indescribable big love. Her smile and laughter and hugs lit up the entire space within our home. I had forgotten the sweet, tender energy of such unconditional love in a small bundle. She was a light, and she lit the way for all of us in the four short days she graced us with her presence.

Her hugs were unconditional for everyone she met, and I became accustomed to being addressed as DeeWallace, as if it were one name. It was a name that she had grown to love, I think, even before she actually met me. She just came from love, and attached it to all she touched.

I had the honor of sitting with her as she watched her cartoons in the evening. But it was a very different experience than I had watched cartoons with Gabby. Those were simply cartoons that we shared joyfully and with carefree moments. Together. But with The Light of Zara, the cartoons served as a soothing distraction while she wore her “special vest.” It attached to a very loud machine, and would jiggle and vibrate her little body and we would laugh at her voice when she tried to talk while it was running. She held her breathing tube with delicate little hands, and mommy had her fingernails painted with special polish for “my visit to DeeWallace’s house.” Her small legs would bounce against the couch as she valiantly fought this demon called Cystic Fibrosis.

She didn’t know I was looking at her with this amazement and wonder and reverence. She didn’t know how deeply she touched me with the patience of how she bore this twice daily regimen. She didn’t know how I marveled at how full my heart was when I witnessed her joy, even in the midst of what, I believed, no precious little girl should ever have to endure.

When she crawled into her car seat to take the car to the airport, I whispered to her, “You’re very special.” She replied, “I know.” “You’re very smart.” She replied, “I know.”  “You are a bright light.”  “I know.” The disease had not defined her at all. She was a perfect specimen of self-love. As the car rolled away, tears came to my eyes. I would miss that little girl.  But The Light of Zara remains. I have been touched by it forever. May we all live life with her grace and love and light.

Blessings, Dee