Nothing is impossible. Maddie & I both live by those words; we cling to them with everything that we have because we see the world in a way that very few others do. We fight for what we believe in no matter the cost & do everything that we can to reach our greatest dreams.
When I met Maddie, it was through friends of my Grandparents. Having known about her struggle with Lupus for years, I would hear a lot about her & her aspirations. The look in the eyes of those who would talk about her was enough to make me eager to get to know this person - someone who could make light shine through people she'd encountered only a handful of times.
Our friendship began following an interview on this very site. I was incredibly curious to know what it was about her that inspired so many, & what I found was more than anyone could put into words. Maddie saw the world as her oyster - a place that certainly had its difficulties, but a place that had so much more good in it than most people realize. She saw every blessing, every thing taken for granted, every tiny piece of good within the people she met... With every answer to every question, I was in pure awe. Here was this young woman who'd struggled with so much over the past decade - telling me how much she loved life; how much she valued those around her. Instead of finding herself even the slightest bit bitter about what she was going through, all she could see was how lucky she was.
Maddie & I wrote back & forth for several months before I met her in person. She was my pen pal. We wrote about life, about the love for facing our fears, & about what we were grateful for. When one of us was struggling, we would send each other little gifts & constant encouragement. She was one of my closest friends before I even saw her in person & an ongoing reminder that life is good.
In the summer of 2014, I finally had the chance to meet Maddie. Her Grandparents, long time friends of my Grandparents, were coming into town for a visit & Maddie took the opportunity to catch a ride with them. I was so excited, but also slightly nervous. We had grown so close over the past year & I didn't want any awkwardness between us. Little did I know that my nerves were 100% pointless, as the moment that Maddie & I first met, it was as though we'd known each other since we were little kids. We couldn't stop talking! The weekend was full of laughing, paddle boarding, watching chick flicks & doing facials. We had the world at our feet that weekend.
The next few months went by faster than I ever thought they would - between the holidays, starting a new career & moving, only a couple of letters were shared between the two of us. I had no idea that things were getting rough for Maddie & her health - though, Maddie was one of the strongest people I've ever known. She focused on the future & what it held, not on the struggles that she was facing now. There was always a light at the end of the tunnel to Maddie, but what she didn't know was that she was the light. Maddie was the brightest light in my life & everyone should know this.
Last night the world lost Maddie after an incredibly devastating week in the hospital. And while I was only blessed by Maddie's glowing presence over one fun-filled girls weekend, I have a million little things that remind me - daily - that Maddie was one of the best people i will ever have the pleasure of knowing. She is not only survived by her incredibly loving family & friends, but within every positive quote, her drawings & sketches that she inspired us with on Lenox & Lucy, the 'Nothing is Impossible' ring that I wear daily, & the coffee mug that she gave me on her visit here.
Yes - the world will forever be dimmed without Maddie here, but with everything that she meant to all of the people in her life, the light is still shining through them. They carry the memory of her with them & so do I.
This one's for you Maddie. I cannot thank you enough for every ounce of inspiration that you have given me. You will forever be missed & never be forgotten.
Pay It Forward & support the Lupus Foundation where you can even make a donation in Maddie's name to honor her by selecting 'memorial donation', or purchase one of Maddie's incredible card collections at Lenox & Lucy. All proceeds from Lenox & Lucy will be going to the Lupus Foundation as well.