How Am I Doing?

I get asked that question a lot. It's a hard question to answer. I never answer it well. I think people want me to say things are better, and in some ways, I am a better person. I'm more compassionate, more focused on what matters, in the moment and appreciative of my family, colleagues and friends. But, in other ways, I'm not better.

I've learned to live with heartache. I think that's part of my answer.

Today like many days is hard. I miss Naya a lot. I miss my girl who loves the outdoors and would be on the golf course riding the cart with Hank and Zak. She'd be asking me things about her future, listening to Prince with us and dancing to his music. And, she would be planning her birthday party.

What would she be like now? Smart, tall, pretty, funny, happy. Soon she would have turned 13! Wow, a teenager. It makes my heart ache to think of what she didn't get to be. It kills me to know her dreams will never be realized. Going to a prom, having a boyfriend, going to Stanford, having kids, being a wife. But one dream hasn't changed. She wanted to change the world. She is fulfilling that dream and I hope she knows it.

So, back to "how am I doing?". I turn a lot of my attention to her foundation. I get a lot of joy from it, even though the pace can be so frustrating. I've met truly special and gifted people that I never thought I'd meet - people dedicated to children's health and lives. So many people are selflessly helping us. The texts, emails, tweets, conversations and posts fuel my day and my conviction. I know so many people are pulling for us. From strangers to old friends - so many are helping us change the world.

When I think of the answer to "how am I doing", I don't want to speak only about my heartache. Naya didn't deserve to be remembered in that way, and wouldn't want that for me. So, here's a stab at an answer...

I live with the heartache of losing Naya every day, but I also live with precious gifts she gave me. The gift of her unconditional and deep love. The gift of the mother-daughter relationship I always wanted. The gift of a life's purpose to help others. The gift of having her with me for almost 12 years, and in my heart forever.

I'm doing okay, and maybe better than okay. I'm just not ready to say that yet.

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