Trish and I used to work together and I remember when I met her...she was happy all the time and had such a beautiful smile on her face in spite of any stressful situation she may be in. She is still that way today.
I remember when her husband proposed to her. It was right around the time that Farm Boy proposed to me. And I remember how happy and excited she was.
We swapped wedding info and talked and planned together. She got married the weekend before I did and we both attended each other's weddings. Her's was Greek, mine was Catholic. Both were lots of fun!
I remember her saying that she and her husband Peter wanted to have children right away and I remember thinking how brave they were to just jump right in with both feet.
I remember when she found out she was pregnant...she was ecstatic!!
And then little Maria Anna surprised everyone on July 29th, 2006 coming 7 weeks early. She was so very, very tiny but she grew stronger and went home with Trish and Peter after just 3 weeks in the NICU. Even from the start she was showing the world who was boss.
All was right with the world until Maria's six month check-up.
Maria's doctor had some concerns so he did some blood work followed by a spinal tap and bone marrow test. The test concluded her doctors fears and precious little 7 month old Maria was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Pre B on February 23, 2007.
Tragedy, horror, and utter heartbreak.
Maria received one treatment after the other until March 3, 2008 when she rang a bell at the Jimmy Everest Center to tell the world that she was cancer free!
It was the miracle that everyone had been praying for and it brought joy and elation to Trish and Peter!
One month and nine days later Q-Tip was born. It was a wonderful day that resulted in my baby being in my arms.
But Trish did not have that and I thought of her.
And I have thought of her and Maria almost daily since then.
I think about how happy, healthy, and pain free Maria is now. I think about what a beautiful angel she must be. And I often wonder if she is Q-Tip's guardian angel looking down guiding and protecting her.
But even still...Maria's short life and Trish's grace and courage impacted me more than I can ever say.