Well, my girl, here we are again. Spring has sprung. Butterflies are beginning to flock to your grandmother's butterfly gardens. Life is in the air in more ways than one. And it is what would have been your 15th birthday.
Instead, today you have been dead 10 years and I am relying on fading memory & unrequited hope to imagine how you might be at 15.
I still can't decide if we would be super close or arguing like cats and dogs at this point in your journey through life. Something tells me it would be both. It was when you were alive, well, and yelling at, then loving on, me.
I have no way of knowing what kind of young woman you would be now. Straight laced? Wild like I was (God forbid)? Would I like you? Would you like me? Would you be driving your brother's friends crazy because of how damn good looking you are? Would you be a good or bad student? Would you be selfish or giving?
Would you know how loved you have been and are?
I will never know the answers to these questions. I have learned to live with that pain, becuase I know it is enough to know I love you today as much, if not more, as I ever loved you when you were with me wholely. I know there is not one moment that passes that you are not constantly on my mind. Some memories of you have begun to fade with the passing of time, but thoughts of you show no signs of decreasing.
I hope you have been paying attention and have seen all the good The ELLA Foundation has done. I am keeping my promise, Ella. I am making your death meaningful. Except for the time I took off to make sure your little brother Phoenix survived his heart issues, and the time it takes to mother both your brothers, ELLA has been, and remains, my number one committment in life.
It matters not to me how big ELLA is. You were not big, yet you touched so many with your love and warmth. ELLA will continue to help those hurt like we were hurt when we lost you and Paris, lost everything, as long as I continue and have the means to finance it.
ELLA will live on, because as long as somoeone remembers you, and your name stays on the lips of the living, some small piece of you will be alive in the here and now, and one large piece of you will keep others alive in the here and now.
I love you, Ella Lee. I miss you with every breath.
I promise to take that pain and I turn it into action that is, I hope, a memorial to everything you taught me in your brief four years in my arms: a little empathy goes a long way, a lot of love takes you even further, lessons painful to learn turn into beautiful lessons to be taught, and action is all we have left to right what wrong has occured.
You are alive and well in my heart and in the heart of all those ELLA has touched in memory of you. Carry on helping me to create as much life and love as possible Ella. Mama loves you - eternally - with everything I have got and with everything I give.
Happy Birthday, Ella Lee