Tomorrow will be one year since Lily left this earth. In the 364 days since she has been gone, much has changed and then again so much hasn’t. Her family has faced every holiday, birthday and day without her but that doesn’t mean that when they face them again in 2016 it will suddenly be easy. And they still have to face tomorrow. Tomorrow marks one year since the last day they were able to hold her and love on her and it represents so much for them as a family. It is the day they said goodbye, the day she took her last breath, the day that changed them forever.

That day and the months leading up to Lily’s death also changed FGP and me forever. That experience taught me so much which was intentional on her mom’s part. Her mom invited me in, wanting me to see what pediatric cancer does to a family at the end. And I did. I saw things I will never forget, felt and saw grief I never knew existed and learned that end of life is difficult and more support is needed. I learned that it is hard on every member of the family & community no matter how distant. I learned that there is a ripple effect of pain because while an uncle or a grandma is mourning their niece or granddaughter, they are also hurting as they watch their brother, sister or daughter mourn the loss of their child. Grief is hard, and is always complicated to sort through but when it is because of the loss of a child, it is beyond description. Seeing this, had an impact on me, just as Lily’s mom anticipated it would. Loving and losing Lily showed me that FGP had to provide more support to these families during such a difficult time in ways that would go beyond what hospice provides, beyond what other organizations provide and really meet the family’s needs.

And so, in Lily’s honor, we started The Lily Fund which funds a program that supports families at end of life and beyond. In 2015, we raised $18,130.00 for this program. Tomorrow we will share the specifics of the Lily Fund and how Lily continues to impact others. If you would, join us tomorrow and light a candle or turn on a light for Light for Lilybug. Come back here tomorrow to learn how we are helping families in our community through the Lily Fund.