Faithís Gifts

by Marilyn and Jeffrey Altbush

We have had the time throughout this journey to question the meaning in Faithís short life. Clearly the value of a life canít be measured in time alone. The value of a life canít be measured in terms of money or power or position, for we all seem to value children most of all. We all seem to mourn their deaths with the deepest sorrow. Yet these innocent young people have none of the trappings of success. What endears them so to our hearts?

My daughterís life had a purpose and a meaning. Her gifts to us were happiness and love. She reconnected us to the magic of children. Her beauty was a constant reminder of the beauty of life. Like a magnet, she drew people to her and to each other. Faith had a simple gift: the ability to bring joy into peopleís life. Sometimes the most important gifts are the simplest ones.

Again and again we would hear "We love Faith because she is such a special little girl." Throughout her illness, we kept hearing this said but perhaps did not fully understand the meaning and depth of feeling of the words. She was full of life and love and joy. So happy that you couldnít help but be happy along with her. So funny that you couldnít help but join her in her joke.

Children donít carry the emotional baggage that we adults do. They can derive joy out of just being alive and being with the people they love. A childís needs are really quite simple. Give them love and they return love. Faith faced every day by giving love. Every single caregiver was inspired by that love and always gave their love in return. You couldnít help but feel that you wanted to hug such a brave little girl. She was the most lovable person I have ever known.

Faith was childhood at itís best. Her world was playful, trusting and secure. She was energetic, happy, loving but most of all joyful. She could fill a room with her presence and her laughter. Her giggles were both refreshing and contagious. Her teasing was good-natured and light-hearted. Her playmates were whomever she was with. When she laughed with you it was her pure love. It came from the heart and it was a joyous gift from Faith to you.

She captured the true essence of childhood. Her delight was apparent in her constant smile and infectious giggle. She loved jokes and teasing people. Everyone enjoyed her teasing and joking because it was so clear that she was having a great time of it. You couldnít be in her presence long and not get drawn into the joke. You couldnít help but be delighted with her laughter and spirit.

How could you not love her? How could you not love to share in her happiness? She was the one that made you happy you came to work today. She was the one that made you laugh out loud. She was the one you remembered when recounting the daysí events. She was the one that made it all worthwhile.