In life, if you are really fortunate, you have family that become friends, and friends that become family. I count myself among the blessed. I live in a “sorority”, as I like to call home, with four of my best friends and I have friends that over time have become family.
This week, I got to spend time with my “
It’s been difficult over these last few months for me to really talk about Ylaria. Not because I don’t want to or because it’s too painful, but because I am not sure it is entirely understood—my desire to talk about and remember her on a regular basis. My need to say her name. Even now, I feel that I am taking a big risk here, that there will be people who read these words and automatically assume I am sad or depressed. But, I can assure you that I am not. In fact, it is quite the opposite. I am sad in the moments when I feel that I cannot say her name or share her magic. Ylaria always made me happy, so incredibly happy (yes, Belen, even when she put me on a time-out.). Remembering her and sharing stories makes me happy. It’s been said that you only really lose those you love when you forget them. I firmly believe this. Talking about Ylaria and writing down my memories keep her alive and help her feel closer despite the distance. It’s actually impossible for me not to talk about Ylaria (as evidenced, no doubt, by the countless times I refer to her in my writing). She is so much a part of me that I see pieces of her everywhere I go. Ylaria is everywhere. And so, in closing, I am going to share another memory. A special one because it’s one I haven’t shared in its entirety before. It’s the story of how we met and all the magic that went along with it…
I have been asked a number of times how I met Ylaria. As Belen has said, the way we met was rather strange but the fact that we met was simply meant to be.
I found Ylaria’s caringbride page through another website some time in October 2007. I read the update and signed the guestbook. This sounds so simple, I know, but here is the part of the story, I have never told anyone and the piece of the puzzle that proves our meeting was planned well in advance of its actual occurrence. As I was leaving my message, I remember thinking to myself something like: “They’ll be in NYC, hopefully we’ll meet.” Now, I have lived in
Days passed, and I signed up for my first ever volunteer night at the RMH through Project Sunshine (another volunteer organization in NYC). The dinner was scheduled for early November (November 10th, to be exact). Now, here’s the second piece of our story that truly makes me believe in magic-- in the magic of our meeting. I was exhausted on November 10th. I had been at work that day and by the time I was leaving the office and getting ready to go to the dinner, all I wanted to do was go home and nap. And, I nearly did. I was about to get on the train home, when this little voice in my head told me to just go to the Ronald. And so, despite my hesitation, I went. I helped prepare and serve the dinner, and I did arts & crafts with some of the kids. At one point, I decided to walk around the dining room and make sure the families were ok. I walked up to this absolutely beautiful little girl and her dad and introduced myself. Gino introduced himself and Ylaria. (This is the slightly embarrassing part of the story where I screamed “This is YLARIA?!?!?!”) The rest, as they say, is history.
I can’t tell you how many times I visited Ylaria when she was in NYC. But, over the years, I became such a frequent visitor that the receptionist at the RMH would smile when I walked in and say: “You’re family is here!” And I really did (and do) consider them family. So to my