As this month comes to an end, A month that is dedicated to raising awareness to pediatric cancer I can’t help but think. We have been living in this for over a year. We don’t have the firsts anymore. We lived through the year of firsts. So what about now? Something happened the other day that literally almost dropped me to my knees. My phone shows those daily reminders of photos taken “on this day”. There were my three beautiful baby girls leaping into the pool. I sent my mom a message and said it’s so hard to believe this was last year. After I waited a few seconds I froze. Wait! Nothat was two years ago. I literally think my heart stopped. How? How is it possible that she has been gone for two Septembers? Then it broke me. This is forever. This isn’t firsts. This is always. The year of firsts was hard. I mean brutal. But moments of forever can rock you to your core. How can I possibly do this forever? As this month has gone on there have been some amazing signs of Melina. Our foundation has been hard at work. In that process I have talked to a lot of people that don’t know me personally, but know my loss. I continue to hear the words “Michelle you are so strong”. Yet I crumble. Grief is such a joke. Some days you are okay and then the next moment you lose you breath and can’t come up air. Then you realize how much time had passed. So this is when I decided something. I experience grief. I feel it all the time. Do we have happiness? Yes this I promise. But we have bottom out moments too. We have bad days. In the end I am missing a piece of my heart. But this is where Melina saves me. I realize I experience grief, but I live for Melina. Yes I feel grief. But I live for Melina. I live for her Joy. I live for her sisters. They were Melina’s world. I live for the next cheeto find, and today that might be seeing a total stranger in a Melina shirt. I live to see my girls smile. I live to watch my husband be their dad. Because I know that is what Melina wants. Melina would never want her family to fall apart. Melina would never want her sisters to have anything less. Because Melina was the most selfless child I have ever known. So as September ends, our fight won’t change. We grieve because of this horrible disease. But Melina wasn’t a brain tumor. Melina wasn’t cancer. Melina was our baby. And Melina was our JOY. So my response when people ask how we are doing, is “we live”. We experience grief, but we live for Melina. Simply… We Choose Joy for Melina, always.