Letter 22: Letter from Maryellen

Annie,

Thank you for your life and the lessons you taught me, little sister.  I think

back to all of my memories with you and I can’t think of a single time

where I didn’t feel deeply or see you live your life richly.  When we were

little, I was mad quite a bit and a little jealous, but as I got older, my life

with you as my sister continued to bring a depth to my life that I would

not have without you.  That is what made you special, the person that entered the room and captured the intellect and attention of the people around you.  You looked special and everyone that met you, left the conversation knowing that you were special and different than most people.  That is what you brought to my life.  A great example of this was how you walked through a party we had at our house.  Everyone you met remembered you and when you left, there was a big hole in the conversation.  You just had that way about you. 

As my little sister, you taught me to live outside of the rules (mom and dad did not fully appreciate that gift at the time).  You also taught me courage to be different than the mainstream or normal people – in such a beautiful way.  We both played high school soccer, but you decided to skip practices sometimes.  I would not even conceive of doing that.  The lesson I got out of that one is, if it’s not your thing, don’t waste your energy on it.  Very important as you get older and more and more opportunities open up. 

You also taught me to be present and live in the moment.  Mom always says that you had your retirement in your late twenties/early thirties and she was absolutely right.  Personally, I would not have the courage to cash my college tuition checks and go shopping.  On its face, that seems like completely the wrong thing to do.  But, when you look from the perspective of living in the moment, giving gifts to others, and focusing on what makes you happy, it makes total sense to me.  I now donate more, try to be more present with my children, and I am helping others with my nutrition and human performance knowledge – all things I would not have learned if it wasn’t for you.

You also saved my life.  I do not say that lightly.  I was sick with Lyme disease for over 10 years, living everyday feeling like I had the flu.  Most days I would work and go home to bed.  With a full time job and a family, I missed many important experiences.  One of my most memorable moments of sickness was when I had to go to bed in the middle of Elise opening her Christmas presents when she was two.  I now play and coach soccer, work full-time and make time to see friends again.  I can stay up all day without a nap, even during the weekends.  I was getting great western medicine treatment (with some alternative treatments thrown in), but I was just holding steady. 

After your death, I took charge of my health because after looking at the medical reports from your doctors, I began to fully realize that no one cares more about your health than yourself. 

 

Love,

Maryellen

National Center for Health Research

1001 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 1100

Washington, DC 20036

(202) 223-4000

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