By: Liz Scott, Alex's Mom
Earlier this month I celebrated my 52nd birthday. Every year in the days surrounding my birthday I find myself reflecting on my life. I try not to fill my reflections with regrets, but instead focus on all that is good in my life and the people I am grateful for. I feel like the luckiest person in the world, so choosing just one person to be grateful for is like trying to choose a favorite star in the sky.
Some people seem surprised when I say I am lucky. My beautiful, amazing daughter, Alex, died when she was 8 years old from neuroblastoma. She was sick for nearly her entire short, sweet life.
Of course, there isn’t a moment that I don’t miss Alex. There is nothing lucky about the hard life she had or the grief my family lives with. I wish she was healthy and she was here, and I regret with all my soul that she didn’t get the chance to celebrate more birthdays. It is complicated—mixed emotions, ups and downs and a constant missing person at our family table. But, overall, when I take account of the life I live, I know that I am incredibly lucky.
So much good—a long, long lifetime worth of good—came from Alex’s life. She inspired us, loved us and is the best daughter I could ask for. She spent too many hours and days and weeks in the hospital and in the oncology clinic just trying to get better; while also thinking about what she could do to help other kids also facing cancer.
Alex once told Jay: “I am happy for the things I have; not unhappy for what I don’t.” I think about that a lot.
There isn’t a day that I don’t miss her, nothing diminishes that, but I allow myself to be happy for the loved ones and amazing people I do have in my life: my parents who have given me a lifetime of love, support and guidance; my three sons—Patrick, Eddie and Joey, who bring meaning, love and joy to my life; my husband, who is my best friend, who works alongside me, pushes me and makes my life way more interesting; my eight siblings—who are treasures in my life; and my friends who make me laugh like I am a kid again.
There is also the ever-expanding circle of moms I have met through childhood cancer. We lift each other up, we cry for each other, we celebrate each other, and we support each other (even though many of us only know each other through social media!).
Of course, I am also grateful for all the people who help us continue forward in this fight by contributing to better cures and family support—our stand hosts, chef hosts, donors, corporate partners, board members, researchers, and staff—many of whom have become friends. Indeed, my circle of gratitude grows and extends with each passing year, I suppose that is another gift of aging.
My birthday reflections this year were even more meaningful as I shared my gratitude on social media through our latest campaign. It gave me a chance to really think about the people I have in my life and thank them in a new way. I encourage you to give it a try!
Share who you are grateful for and tag #MakeAlexslemonade on social media. For every public social media post shared by November 25, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation partner Northwestern Mutual will donate $43 to help kids with cancer by funding critical services for families and research grants, up to $50,000