Day #16: A picture of someone who inspires you.
There are a lot of people who inspire me: Ylaria, Christi, Kayla, Erin. And so many more. But if I had to pick one of my inspirations to share with you today, it would have to be my brother Manny. It is through Manny, after all, that I met Ylaria and Christi and Kayla and Erin. It is because of him that I care so deeply about pediatric cancer and want to raise awareness for this important cause. It is because of him that I take more time to tell everyone how much they mean to me whenever I can. I learned through Manny that you should never wait to tell someone that you love them. There's never enough time to tell someone how much they mean to you.
My brother was the first person to really show me how to be strong when you're feeling weak, how to appreciate every moment, how to fight until the very end. Manny was the first one to make me realize that your body can only get you so far-- it's your soul that houses your strength. Manny was the first one to point out how beautiful the crickets sound on a warm summer night. And, he was the first one to really make me understand that just because you die, it doesn't mean your life ends. It's why I look for him in the sky, and it's why I smell his scent when I am walking down the street, and it's why I still see him in my dreams. He's not gone at all.
If you heard his story, it would be easy to think he "lost" his battle to leukemia. But he didn't lose. He won. He didn't finish his work or his purpose. He's continuing it through the people that love him. The ones who wake up every day missing him and loving him and carrying his spirit into the world. He lives in me and in the love I share with him and for him and because of him.