"Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for Itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And they are with you yet belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
Which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
And He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
So He loves also the bow that is stable."
I have read these words of Kahlil Gibran hundreds of times over many years, and have shared them with friends, teachers and parents. Never have they had such depth or meaning than at present. Bernadette was and is a gift from God, not only for us her family, but for all in the world who knew her. Michael and Matthew spoke often with pride, of the strength and sense of freedom their big sister had. She certainly had her own thoughts, and most often these were directed along with her boundless energy, into making life better for someone she loved. A wonderful friend described Bernadette as having left little footprints on the hearts of everyone she met. Gibran when speaking of sorrow says;
"When you are sorrowful look again in your heart,
And you shall see that in truth,
You are weeping for that which has been your delight."
Bernadette was our delight and the delight of many. It is impossible to grasp the fullness of the love we have received as a family throughout the past days. Such generosity is overwhelming and words don't adequately express our thanks. We have appreciated the tears we shed together, and cherished the laughter and outpouring of Bernadette stories told by all. We never needed to ask for assistance, since someone always seemed to be a step ahead of us. The miracle of loaves and fishes occurred regularly on our table and in our fridge. Your love for Bernadette and us was revealed in the emotional, spiritual, and physical strength you shared. We tried hard to touch each person, but were not able to hug everyone as we wanted. We did so in our hearts.
Today Bernadette would be twenty-five years old. As a baby she smiled often and easily. Her joy was infectious, and her eyes danced with love, curiosity, intelligence, and a soon-to-be-revealed wisdom. She fit a lifetime of love into a few years. God saw her mark upon the path, and there is little purpose in us trying to understand or question the wisdom of the God who loved and was loved by her. Your prayers, flowers, cards, poems, songs, and stories, continue to keep her life and love in the present. This is our consolation. As we thank God for Bernadette, we thank God also that we were able to love her and know her and share her with you.
Thank You again and again!