Two months ago today my world changed with a phone call.  Rather than dwell today about my loss I thought I would choose to tell you who Emma was to me.  Seems like a better use of energy.

The Emma Lengquist Memorial Puppy Parade

glitches and smiles

Brandon, Marie, Jake, Piper and Emma Disney World’s Animal Kingdom

Emma Lengquist, like all of us, had many sides to her.  She was a complicated young woman.  And like all of us she changed as she grew.  And isn’t that exciting? I mean, really.  As a parent, what greater joy is there than to watch your children grow? Nothing, I suppose.

Emma was pure energy.  Her smile would light up my world.  Her laughter would make this often too-busy-to-take-notice heart stop a beat.  Emma would walk up to any stranger and just start talking.  She’d want to know you. Everything about you.  Boundaries?  What boundaries?  She was an open book and expected the same.

She was creative in her thought…which sometimes was very much the opposite of good.  And she LOVED dogs.  Any dog.  Especially hurt and disabled dogs.  She would lay in the floor and our dogs would lay on top of her.  When she cried Bolt, our Siberian husky, would come and lick her tears.  How that is therapy I’ll never quite understand and yet when Bolt was done she would be calm and she would just embrace him.

She loved dancing.  At the inaugural Night to Remember special needs prom we had a “Teach me how to dougie” contest…oh, how she loved that song.  She claims she won.  I know better.

Basketball was another love.  The first day we brought her home we didn’t even have a hoop.  She found a basketball and stood outside for HOURS and dribbled and dribbled and dribbled.  The next time she came over to visit us, during the pre-adoption phase, I had gone out and got a proper basketball hoop for her and Brandon. They both loved it.

I need to be careful here because I can go on and on and on about the things I loved about her.  Her spirit.  Her determination.  Her passion.

Thank you to all who read my journey through healing and setting my path forward.  Thank you to all who reach out to share your stories and ask that I keep bringing mental health to the battlefield of public policy.  Thank you for all who have supported Inclusion Connections and PawsAbilities and who plan on supporting the Emma Lengquist Memorial Puppy Parade.

Simply, thank you.

And thank you to God for giving Emma to Marie and I if even for only fifteen years.  I can’t wait to see her again.  I miss my buddy.  That is my selfishness of which I freely admit.  She is whole now. She is well now. And she is with her real Father.  In many ways, I’m envious.  My work here is not done. He will let me know when it is. Until then, I will enjoy her memories and the lessons she taught me. I’ll enjoy the man I’ve become and continue to evolve into because of the doors she forced me to open; a better husband, a better father, a better friend and a better employee, leader, worker.  A better human being.