I admit, I've been dragging my feet on writing this post, mostly because I'm not sure what to say that can really convey how this makeup session made me feel. I'll start from the beginning...
My best friend Sam works at the amazing Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital. She is a Child Life Specialist in the Hematology and Oncology ward and is given the wonderful task of creating trusting relationships with young patients and their families. I commend her for the job she does, as many of these children are terminally ill it is something I know I couldn't handle.
Naturally, these kids LOVE Sam, and she loves them just as much, in particular a sweet young girl Shaniece. Shaniece was admitted to Joe DiMaggio with a severe illness and even more tragically, her mother passed of a terminal illness earlier this year.
Sam and her team worked to keep her in good spirits, Shaniece even told her "you're like my white mom" :) Struggling with self esteem, one of the things she loved most was makeup but she really didn't know how to put it on. Sam gave it a go and played with putting different products on her but Shaniece felt she looked like a clown... her words, not mine lol. So before one of my trips to Florida, Sam asked if I could bring some makeup for her and see what I could do.
Manned with a ton of products, I went to the hospital with Sam with slight apprehension. What on earth could I say to this girl without making myself sound like an idiot? Would she be depressed? Angry? To my relief and admiration, I met a wonderful, funny, beautiful young woman who without the loss of hair and laying in a hospital bed, I would never know was sick.
Step by step, I showed her what she should do for her make up. She was so focused on everything I did and asked several questions to make sure she understood what I was doing. She was so gorgeous it was easy to make her look like a little model. When I handed her a mirror when I was done, she had a huge grin on her face and it was very obvious that she was so pleased with her new look. Sam told me that the next day she saw her, Shaniece said "you know how I call you my white mom? I think Alicia could be my white auntie!" That meant more than I can express.
Heartbreakingly, Shaniece lost her battle and passed away this summer, at 14 years old. I smile at the thought of her in heaven with her mother, and I look forward to the day that I can see her again. She is truly someone I will never forget and I am so grateful I had the opportunity to meet her. God bless you, sweet angel <3
For donations for the Love Jen Fund - helping families cope with cancer at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital - please click here.