Hello. I am the mother of a sweet, beautiful, amazing girl named Natalia. Describing a girl like Natalia in words is nearly impossible… for she embodied my soul. Natalia left this earth unexpectedly on August 25, 2013. My life and the lives of our family have been altered forever. Natalia’s story that I will share with you of her special angels depicts the essence of her pure love and the beauty of giving.
Natalia Theresa was born on May 8, 2003. She was named after her aunt Theresa, who suffered from the effects of Leukemia at age 6 and passed in 1977. Natalia was a vibrant, loving child from her very beginning who clearly set herself apart. I would often recount myself saying, “There’s something special about that girl, I don’t know quite what it is, but whatever it is…she is surely going to do something amazing someday.”
By the age of four, Natalia’s radiant personality became even more evident. While there was a childlike essence and innocence to her, she possessed qualities that made one consider her an old soul. She was always thinking and contemplating, as if there was always a greater meaning to things. Natalia was the one who would brighten up any room and carry on a conversation with anyone, no matter the age. She had her own opinions and when she would talk, others would listen. She was always curious and imaginative, constantly asking questions and wanting to learn more. Natalia had an amazing wit about her and possessed an unmistakable quality of pure common sense and intelligence that left one wondering how a little girl could be so in tuned with others. She loved a good story especially her American Girl books which depicted themes of friendship, loyalty, integrity, all qualities that she exhibited in her everyday life. She listened to songs. Taylor Swift was her favorite among many others. Natalia had a knack of remembering lyrics and could hear a song once and sing it. And could she sing… At age 4 she sang “The National Anthem” at her brothers’ baseball game and continued to sing at other venues through the years. Natalia absolutely loved to draw and drew beautiful pictures that reflected her compassion and her “light”, all of people with smiles and arms wide open.
In March of 2010, at the age of six, Natalia was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. She had no symptoms and never showed any signs. It was devastating news… for Natalia was always so vibrant and full of energy… she had such a bright future and it was evident. Instead, she had 2 ½ years of chemotherapy treatment facing her.
By May of 2012, Natalia had nearly completed her course of treatment and her prognosis was very good. During that time, Natalia blossomed into a young lady. While still undergoing chemotherapy treatment, she found her new niche on stage. She never allowed anyone to know of her struggles, for she always portrayed a vibrant, beautiful person who encouraged others. I recall her backstage encouraging others and praising them, and oftentimes making them laugh. After all, she wanted everyone to be happy like she was. In that respect, Natalia was a transformer. She especially felt for those who were less fortunate and possessed an inner focus and depth of feeling for others, despite what she had been through. In fact, if someone was special to her, she would make a personalized gift, often using her own creativeness and insisting on using her own money. During her plays, she made personalized name bracelets for every cast member and oftentimes would buy her brothers special gifts because “they were good brothers”. She was always showing random acts of kindness.
In the summer of 2012, Natalia discovered an angel ornament that she had seen and wanted to replicate them as gifts for her friends and especially for the children who had to be in the hospital for Christmas. After all, she knew what it was like to be there. So, for Christmas of 2012, she made these angels for them. Natalia was overjoyed and simply beamed after receiving a call from a social worker thanking her and telling her how she made a difference to several special children. “Oh Mommy,” she cried out, “Can we make more next year, maybe we can even give out some even other places.”
Natalia turned 10 on May 8th of 2013. She was off all of her treatment. It happened to be her last birthday, yet we had no hint of that then. It was indeed a grand day with her best of friends and their dolls. But in the month following, she started having headaches and by July, it was determined that her Leukemia had relapsed. Natalia only had one year free from treatment. The night before her next treatment we broke the news to her and her words to her Dad were, “But it’s not fair. I only had a year.” Words that were heart-breaking but true… Nevertheless, Natalia’s spirit never waivered. She faced her next challenge of 2 ½ years more of treatment with courage and indescribable strength. For she knew that we would be by her side as always; she knew she had our strength, irregardless, as we told her so many times… And our family was prepared to do whatever it took to get through this next course of treatment. Until she, after her first round of treatment, came down with an infection which led to unexplainable multiple complications. Natalia passed from this earth unexpectedly on August 25, 2013. Never, did we imagine this happening. It’s still unbelievable and heart-wrenching…. especially since this sweet, beautiful girl had yet so much left to give.
All who knew Natalia loved and enjoyed her, for she was truly “one-of-a-kind”…not because she was my daughter either. There was always something SPECIAL about her ….unlike anyone. Natalia had a unique ability to bring out the best qualities in those around her, like a beam of light… the sun…. She truly was all about love… I believe, and I’m sure others would agree, a true angel on earth. We would often lie in her bed at night and look up at the stars in awe, saying how people on the other side of the world could experience the view as well. And then, we’d get talking and words would be, “Wouldn’t it be totally amazing to be someone like Taylor Swift and be able to touch the lives of people all over the world.”
So, this is only just a small glimpse of a girl… a truly amazing one… one that taught me that I can be more than I ever thought I would ever be. Natalia inspired me and continues to do so… to be more … to do more… My love for her is beyond measure, and I have no doubt that she knew how much she was loved. She always gave back ten-fold. As her mother, I can say that she taught me so much and continues to do so, a soulmate that has left me with a bond that is beyond words. I know that we will be together again someday…but for now it is my turn to give back and to continue what she started… in her honor… for I know now my purpose here on earth. Natalia would always say to me…”Mommy, what do you want to be when you grow up?” My answer would be… “I want to be just like you, Natalia”. I will do my best to do that.
I know in my heart of hearts, Natalia would want for the world to be a better place, to be more giving and be more loving. That is her message and her gift to this world. Please relish in Natalia’s angel, made in continuance of what Natalia had already set in place… to represent her “giving spirit”, an amazing little girl whose sole purpose was to spread her endless love. May you receive comfort and reassurance in knowing that a little girl angel is truly watching over you… May you, in turn, pass on that gift of true love and true giving someday…to keep alive the spirit of a beautiful angel girl named Natalia.
Always and forever,