I want to share with you my happiness and my pride in having the most wonderful child, my daughter Katerina—a gift from God. Although she is not with us any more, not in the earthly way, she lives on and I feel enriched, invigorated, overjoyed just to think about her. We had our deal of hardship and suffering. But through it all, Katy brought a sea of happiness and radiance to our lives.
Katy was born on March 27, 1992, and she died on August 9, 2004, after two years of fighting rhabdomyosarcoma—a very aggressive cancer. I feel a great loss now, but I also feel the world is better and more beautiful for Katy’s presence here. I find it very difficult to describe all the amazing qualities my daughter has. Katy’s courage, the strength she showed in the hardest of times is beyond words.
She was a born leader and a warrior. Whatever I say will not be enough to describe her zest for life and her beauty – physical and spiritual. I have this unforgettable picture in my mind: Katy organizing a contest with her girl friends, riding her scooter, the wind blowing the tail of her head-scarf. No one could have guessed that she was terminally ill.
Katy had a gift for writing and a strong passion for books. Once she asked me "Mummy, how much does it cost to publish my own book?" Her works speak for her—her compositions, letters, e-mails, and the diary that she keptduring the most difficult period of her life. After painfully trying to express everything that Katy is to me, I decided to describe her to you through excerpts from her own writings—little gems of wisdom, joy and beauty. Here is a glimpse into her character—from her last book.
Thank you for stopping by and reading about my Katy. I hope you like her works and you can find some courage from them. I wish everyone peace and great strength in all the sad times. May you have God’s blessings.
Emma lived with her mother, her father and her older brother in a flat right across from her school. Her mother worked in the school library. Her father was a lawyer and a professor of history. And her brother worked as a sales-clerk in a flower shop in the town center. You can guess by these professions that Emma adored reading like the rest of her family. Her room was full of all sorts of books and schoolbooks. Everything Emma did, everywhere she went had to do with books. She would quote Shakespeare and read books, which no one her age would even touch. She was in fifth grade. The teachers had absolutely given up trying to examine her or catch her unprepared. She went to school and found all subjects delightful. Her classmates looked at her askance thinking, "she must be crazy to like school so much". If there was anything in the world that Emma treasured more than books, it was friendship. It was difficult for her to make friends, because she was too shy, but once she made a new friend, she treated her very nicely and valued their relationship very much. She would do anything for a friend. She never quarreled with a friend, but if something went wrong, she always blamed herself. Her best friends were Starla and Vanessa. She always went around with them. She would never part with her books, as she would never part with her friends. If they happened to be separated for a while, she always kept in touch – they were on the phone all the time, wrote messages to each other and sent long endless letters.
Katy loved going to school, she adored her teacher and liked her classmates very much.
The First Day of School
It was a sunny day. The sunrays gently caressed me and woke me up. I was in high spirits. During the long summer holidays, full of fun and play, I did not see many of my dear classmates. And now I was going to see them all, together with my kind and charming teacher. I was excited all day long.
Friendship meant a lot to Katy. These are some of her thoughts.
Friends are the most wonderful thing in this life.
Friendship is the real magic in life.
A friend asks for help – you respond. You find a friend and you make new friends. Family, friends – it sounds fantastic. Life without friends is impossible.
My daughter was very wise for her age. I am more and more amazed at the depth of her thinking.
Through the magic of books we can fly, reach a new galaxy, become invisible and feel happiness from the slightest thing.
We all possess the quality of magic, we only have to discover it.
We all hope for something and can achieve our hope through the magic of books. In our imagination we all have a longing for magic or wonders.
But when you watch the news or read a paper, you realize that awful things are happening in the world. The only thing that gives you hopes is the belief in the good to come. The power to help and to love – this is real magic.
Katy had a very rich imagination.
In Beetle school there are a lot of tiny beetles, roaming the corridors, playing at "beetle eyes", jumping on a rope or studying their lessons on a shady bench in the yard. In class the tiny beetles sit at desks, hanging from the ceiling. The pupils climb up a miniature silvery ladder. This is a trick so that the floor could serve as a storeroom. You can find all kinds of school things on the floor – pens, schoolbooks, sponges, water-bucket, pieces of chalk and a lot of other useful stuff. From time to time the beetle-teacher would send a pupil to fetch the sponge and he had to climb down and rummage on the floor, until he found it. The teacher lowered a basket and the pupil put the sponge inside. The teacher then hoisted the basket back up and the child climbed up the ladder to his desk.
In Beetle school there is also a snack-shop with all kinds of delicious stuff. Whenever you go there it is always full of pupils and teachers talking in lively tones.
Life in Beetle land is happy and fascinating. All the beetles are very proud of their town.
She was a vivacious girl, who loved life and filled every second of her time doing interesting things.
In the Amusement Park
I saw some kids and we went to play with the balls. I felt naughty. A mischievous idea cropped up in my mind. Secretly I took a ball and threw it at one of the kids. I suggested starting a ball fight. Every one went crazy and we started aiming at each other. Balls flew in all directions. I could not see what was going on, everything span around. It was a hailstorm of balls. You could hear screams and shouts all over the place. I was very happy to get away, because I had enough bruises already.
Katy saw the beauty of life. She is my inspiration, my strength and my will to live.
Spring Is Here!
Spring is a sunny season. The honey loaf of sun up in the sky shines bright and warm like a mother’s kiss. The brightly-colored flowers, dressed in merry frocks and shorts, burst into blossom and adorn the endless green sea. Beauty Spring has embroidered her green dress with gaily-colored flowers. They seem to invite you "Smell me and enjoy me!" Small creatures walk proudly in the glades hoping the weather will stay like this forever. The heavenly vault is adorned with lovely tiny creatures and if you look more closely you will notice many little dots flickering in the air and you can hardly trace them.
Every creature in the water world is wide-awake. The hot rays of the sun make playful fish and other sea residents swim happily out of their homes.
The forest inhabitants do not fall behind. You can see prudent mother-bears dress up their little ones. Bees buzz and make honey. Naughty squirrels jump amid the sleepy branches and remind them Spring is here. Smart foxes with a hungry look are on the prowl for hens round country barns.
There are no words to express the joy of every creature that Spring is here at last!
V3N4 ESUN Copyright © 2006 Liddy Shriver Sarcoma Initiative.