Hi Everyone,

Frankie, Hannah and the girls left this afternoon. We had a very good visit. Corey unfortunately was not well this morning. She was sick twice as I gave her medications. I’m not sure if I flushed her feeding tube too quickly or if she was not feeling well. We were planning on taking the girls to the Candy Store (Elfine with her British accent calls it the “sweet shop”) but Corey couldn’t join us due to her upset stomach. We had a nurse today for 4 hours. Corey stayed home and I took everyone to the “Sweet Shop” before they headed to NYC.

The Candy Shop is in an old building built in the early 1700’s. It’s like going back in time. After the purchase of our sweets, we went to the side yard to sit at the picnic tables and enjoy them. Speaking of going back in time…As we enjoyed our treats a woman approached me. She asked if I was Corey’s mother. She introduced herself. Her name is Marian and she was the nurse that was one of the first responders to the scene the night of Corey’s accident.

Marian tried to contact me a few months ago via facebook but I wasn’t emotionally ready to respond to her messages. I’m guessing the universe decided the best time was today. There has been a part of me that didn’t want to know what happened that evening at 1:08am. For me everything began at 3:44 when the phone rang. She shared the details of the evening from the first “sound” of the accident until the helicopter took Corey to Christiana. Marian wanted to hear about Corey’s progress. I thanked her because had it not been for her holding Corey’s head from the back seat of the car, she wouldn’t have had the chance to make any progress. The doctors told us that had “the person” holding her head not been there, Corey would have died at the scene. Our chance meeting was very emotional.

Today was an emotional day anyway. I always cry when family leaves but it has also been difficult because tomorrow the Avon Grove Seniors graduate from High School. Isn’t it ironic that I meet Marian as I’m trying to emotionally prepare myself for tomorrow? Today is one of those days that it’s difficult to breathe because the sadness is so consuming. My coping mechanism is to focus on Corey. We had a quiet evening, went for a walk, exercised, watched America’s Next Top Model (which was a usual Sunday ritual for us) and ended the evening with a spa night.

Dear Class of 2011,
Throughout the night I couldn’t help but think of the senior year Corey missed with all of you. But I also concentrated on the year of achievements she’s had while she’s been away. I thought about her, her interests, her dreams and all of you, her friends. The main thought was your summer reading book, The Last Lecture. Although the author was dying of pancreatic cancer the book was not about dying. It was about the importance of overcoming obstacles, of enabling the dreams of others, of seizing every moment (because “time is all you have…and you may find one day that you have less than you think”). It was a summation of everything Dr. Randy Pausch had come to believe. It was about living.

I’m not sure what you thought of this book but it profoundly affected Corey. Most of you have grown up with Corey since kindergarten and you can attest to the fact that not only did Corey not like to read; she never read nor would talk about books. The Last Lecture was different. Now that you are graduating AG some may say that it is the first day of the rest of your life. I disagree…today is your life. Take the time to enjoy each day. Challenge yourselves to try something new, do not focus on fear, let go of what is not important and spend time with the people you love that make you laugh.

Corey highlighted a few quotes in her book (not to worry, it wasn’t a library book). I hope you all will hold onto these when you are frustrated by challenges you may face.

~ “We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.”

~ “The brick walls that challenge us are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something.”

~ “Go out and do for others what somebody did for you.”

~ “Focus on other people, not on yourself.”

This is a special day in your life. Congratulations and Enjoy it! xoxo