Tuesday, May 20, 2014

What do We do Next? Learning to Continue to Live

(photo used with permission of Maggie's family)

This month, I participated in a 5k in memory of a very special child who recently succumbed to her battle with cancer.  Maggie Philbrook, gained notoriety in the now-famous "Roar" video (watch the CHAD "Roar" video here.), made by the staff, patients, and families at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center and by her appearance on Piers Morgan's show.  That's when the world noticed Maggie.  Here in Manchester, NH, she was already famous. Maggie was a daughter, granddaughter, sister, friend, community member, and so much more!

While Maggie's family, friends, and community try to get back to their new "normal," they have found ways to honor her memory every single day.  Maggie's father has spearheaded a "Mag-a-Palooza" event coming up in a couple of weeks (event information here), featuring the Adam Ezra Group. Maggie's mother has created a blog, "I Made my Kid Walk to School with Cancer" (see Moira's blog here). Teams have been formed in Maggie's name for multiple races.  A non-profit organization has been created (visit the Facebook page for "Maggie's Beat" here) in her memory .  Percussion cabinets were donated to the music department at Maggie's school (check them out here) People who don't even know Maggie are reaching out and recognizing her spirit for life on a regular basis.  In her short time here, she made quite an impact! Maggie's memory lives on through those who were touched by story. 

Having never lost a child, but still feeling the effects from the loss of other loved ones years after they have passed, I could see how one could want to shut out the world and stop living.  I am amazed daily by the families I see around me, not only surviving these losses but using that grief to bring joy and share their loved one's gifts with those around them.

Take time today (and every day) to appreciate those around you.  Remember that life can change in any direction at any given moment. I encourage you to read all of the posts in Moira's blogs.  They are touching, emotional, and truthful. I know those posts are helping so many people who are dealing with not only the loss of Maggie, but the loss of others in their lives.  Keep writing please, Moira!

Thank you to the Philbrook family for allowing me to share their story with you!

Diane Harrises, M.Ed.
Academic & Behavioral Consulting of N.H.
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