Flying across the Pacific Ocean, the little girl looked down onto the cotton clouds below her and said to her mum, "We're closer to Aaron up here."
That was two years after her mum's best friend had come to her with the news that she could not bear to say aloud. "Leah, Aaron is in the hospital, and he's very, very, very, very sick." Leah could visit him in the hospital when he was better. Anything beyond him getting better had not even occurred to the little girl.
The following few days were a blur in the little girl's mind. A murky sea of flowers, cards, visitors, condolences, tears.
Now looking over the clouds, the girl couldn't imagine the rest of her life without him. Would she survive the first family holiday without the cheeky, playful, energetic, laughing, loving brother she had known to be the cherry on top of the perfect family they had always been? How would anything ever be the same with him just looking over them, not actively participating in this life?
But he was participating. Through the lungs that breathed precious oxygen into another. Through the heart that beat inside another's chest. Through the eyes that saw a brighter, more magical world.
Seventeen years later, the knowledge of what those gifts brought to the mystery friends, keeps the little girl (me) going. Aaron's beautiful soul is no longer in need of a vessel, and he was able to offer many gifts of life - I passionately believe that this is the simple duty of all human beings.