My daughter and I were in Ontario visiting family when I got the call that Nevaeh had died. My sister, her 11 year-old and my ten year-old daughter and I were out at a magic show at the time of the call and without thinking I leaned ahead – speaking above the noise from the appreciative audience –and told my sister the sad news; Nevaeh had died just days after her annual Lemonade Stand.
‘How could she die?!’
My daughter overheard and she gasped, then instantly her eyes filled with tears. My niece asked what had happened and she too looked as if she would break down. Both girls had attended Nevaeh’s Stand in the past and knew exactly who she was and what she had stood for. At the intermission, my daughter had many questions. I answered them as best as I could as she sobbed in her seat.
“How could she die?! She’s younger than me!” she sobbed at one point. My niece tried to offer comfort to her cousin the way a child knows best – by offering to share her Slushie. As the intermission ended and the show continued, my daughter finally stopped sobbing, but as doves flew and vibrantly coloured scarfs drifted – and a tiger even appeared where a cheerful magician’s assistant once stood – still the tears silently fell, one-by-one, from my daughter’s red and swollen eyes.
I felt terrible. I shouldn’t have said anything, I thought. I should have just kept the news to myself.
But as the show continued, and the magic became more and more captivating and, well, magical, my daughter reached for me and pulled me in as close as I could get to her at the venue. I held her tight as we watched in awe, seeing things happen before our eyes that shouldn’t even be possible.
After one mind-blowing trick; where the magician seemingly impossibly swapped places with a tiger in a cage, I whispered; “What Nevaeh did with her Lemonade Stand was like the magic in this show.”
While I didn’t elaborate, I knew my daughter understood what I meant. Her tears stopped and we sat watching as we held hands.
What I told my daughter was true. Nevaeh made the impossible possible. That a child raised over $235,000 for cancer via a Lemonade Stand was truly a miracle. She also inspired everyone she met – young and old. I personally know many young children who have gleefully handed over their birthday money to Nevaeh’s cause. In the age of must-have-everything-now, how is that even possible? Yet it is. And the why doesn’t matter because just like a really great magic show; there’s no need to explain, it just is. And that’s perfectly fine.
While I didn’t mean to make my daughter cry that night, I guess I’m glad she did.
Those tears were testament to two facts; One, my daughter has a kind and compassionate heart and that makes me proud, and two, Nevaeh and her pitchers of lemonade truly stood for something very important and that legacy will no doubt live on. And that’s something that should make us all proud