|Elea Frank is the one in polka dots. |
Her sisters are Emmi (left) and Ellie.
Mom's name is Vicki.
But even before they'd finished telling their tale, I had to stop them and tell them we'd have to pick it up later. I had somewhere to be. A funeral.
Her name was Lisa Nelson, and for several years she was my next-door neighbor. Beautiful woman. Full of life. She has a son the same age as my daughter.
Like so many others, Lisa lost a battle to breast cancer. Having seen her in the last few months, I could tell her fight was getting the best of her. And the other day, as I sat with my laptop in my bedroom, I watched an ambulance pull slowly up to her house. After being parked there for about 15 minutes, I watched paramedics wheel her out. Then the ambulance pulled away, again, slowly. And then I knew.
Her funeral was Monday, same day as my interview with Vicki Frank, the amazing mother of three amazing daughters. Hearing the story of Elea Frank -- her daughter with some severe health problems -- will inspire you. I hope you pick up a paper Saturday and read about her incredible journey. This is a little girl who shouldn't be alive today, but because of the marvels of modern medicine and maybe a little luck, Elea is still here, still a beautiful little girl with a full life ahead of her.
I can't pretend I knew her well. I didn't. But I knew her well enough so that, when she died, I thought about her. How young she was. How random cancer's tentacles are.
I guess all I have to say is that, when live hands you a moment to recognize how quickly everything can change in your life, take a moment to be thankful that, for now, it hasn't. Go for a run. Stop for a beer after work. Hug you kid a little tighter. You'll be glad you did.