Makayla, your life was a blessing…
Some people come into your life, and just when you think you are there to teach, help, or inspire them to be greater than they believe, they teach you something even greater.
I met Makayla when working with my teammates of Strive4 years ago. She was quiet and shy in her own little way, like I was when I was a child.
I noticed her amongst the crowd of kids and I guess she noticed me. There was just something about her. I would later come to realize that this young girl would have a story and strength that would teach me a great lesson in life.
I sit here crying as I write this because the world lost Makayla to her battle with brain cancer this morning. Her mom just wrote me. The fact that on this day which may be the most horrible of all days, she even thought to send me a note, has touched my heart incredibly.
I wanted to make her smile. I wanted for her to feel no pain. I thought of her often and prayed for her but never did I imagine that the strength and positive energy I felt and saw from her would not be enough.
I remember the game I put her name on my glove and played solely for her. I told her I was doing it, took a picture and sent it off to her. The response made me feel bigger than the game.
Sometimes as an athlete, we get wrapped up in the winning and losing, yet in moments like this, the “WHY” is so much greater than the outcome, it inspires you on a whole new level.
You see as athletes, we may honestly take that word of ‘role model’ too lightly. Or the power of one autograph or one moment. The day I had met Makayla, I had no idea that years later, I would be siting here crying over her passing.
I guess what Makayla showed me is the power in a moment. I go through life trying to make people smile and in the end what happens is so many people end up making me smile. When I found out she was sick, all I wanted was to create a few more moments of happiness over sadness for this girl that I truly believed would make it.
Makayla, wherever you are, today we lost you in your fight, but I thank you. I thank you for allowing me to understand even more that no encounter or moment with a person is ever worthless, and they all count for something.
I am sure your presence did the same for so many others and we are all better to have met you.