Dear Little Lights,
You never knew me. You didn't know that I existed on the same planet as you, you were too small to understand the scope of the Earth. You lived in your secluded and sheltered circle of friends and family, as children do, merry and healthy, bright and focused. Not one of you had even an inkling that there was such a great, wide world, ready to be explored, and now, you never will. Tragically, unlawfully, disturbingly, you have each one of you been removed from the painting, inked out and painted over before you achieved any of your hopes and dreams. You will not be able to close your eyes and wait patiently for the day you grow up, the day you will marry, the day you in turn will hold a tiny, squirming body waiting for a name, so their light may shine.
You were taken before you were able to create lives for yourselves. And while you'll never get the chance to meet me, never be able to allow me the pleasure of holding your hands, or listening to your favorite bedtime story as you read it to me, or giving me the opportunity to smile at you as you be just who you are, I will take the opportunity to create a life for you.
Charlotte Bacon, you will become a princess. You didn't know that, but you probably hoped for it in your dreams. You will wear a crown, such a glorious crown, and it will suit your beautiful red hair. Every dress you own can be pink, I promise you, everything you put on your feet can be a pair of boots. Your brother will become a Duke in his own right, your parents will be the parents of a dainty royal daughter, and your wedding will have been one to put the King's and Queen's of old to shame. One hundred white horses for you, Charlotte, and one thousand white doves.
Olivia Engel, you will grow up to build houses. You will design a gingerbread house, with marchepane siding and gum drop trees, and you will live there, and dream of reindeer. You will host dinner parties and show off your manners, you will dress all in white, you will believe that there is nothing in the world but good and you will be so, so beautiful. Your pretzel gates which lead to your candy cottage will never close.
Jesse Lewis, what can I say about you? You will grow up to have hot chocolate and sausage, egg and cheese sandwiches that your wife made every morning. You will have a dog, a house, a job you love. You will have a lake house, children, grandchildren - you will be loved. You will own horses, Jesse Lewis, and you will teach others to ride them with you in to a golden sunset. You will always be full of life.
Ana Marquez-Greene...you will return to Puerto Rico a singing sensation. You will become a house hold name, your beautiful voice will hit every note, drown every heart in emotion. Perhaps you will marry James Mattioli, perhaps he will move with you, perhaps, perhaps, perhaps...You will also learn to dance. You will whirl and twirl and escape in to your voice and your dancing shoes and you will be an angel. An angel sent to Earth, to live on Earth, to help us and heal us and soothe us with the song which bursts free from your mouth. A songbird. Fly.
I struggle to envision for you, little lights, these scenarios. All of them which should have been yours to reach for, grasp, hold close at night after lights out. I want so desperately to make more of them. I want to cover all the ground possible, to create and weave and hold you up like a fine tapestry to the light. I want so badly to breathe life and color back in to each and every one of you. Daniel Barden, Jack Pinto, Avielle Richman, you will all be lawyers, you will all fight for what is right and just and pure, and while you may fail sometimes, you will never stop. You will never give up. Caroline Previdi, Jessica Rekos, Grace McDonnell, you will all marry and have children, you will all be artistic, you will all, every one of you, be sun beams, rainbows.
Dylan Hockley, maybe you wanted to be a hockey player. Now you are one.
Benjamin Wheeler, you're now a doctor. You've saved so many people in your career that they have opened a University in your name. You're a good man.
Allison Wyatt, nobody has ever ice skated like you do. You slice across the ice like a sharp knife through butter, your legs move so fast you are but a blur. A beautiful, glittering blur. You are famous.
Josephine Gay, you take fine portraits of movie stars. You wanted to be one, but you enjoyed being behind the camera more than you enjoyed being in front of it. Perhaps you will take up directing. You'll be a success either way.
Noah Pozner, you will develop the worlds most successful video game, and everybody who is anybody will want to know you. You've brought so much entertainment to us all, your smile lights up magazine covers and you give to the poor. You give, and you give, and you expect nothing in return. You are amazing.
And little Emilie Parker, you paint as if your hand is guided by angels. You've done murals and landscapes, you will paint anything as long as you're allowed to do it in the sun. You will make greeting cards and book covers. You will be brilliant.
Madeleine Hsu. Catherine Hubbard. Chase Kowalski. You will all be whatever it is you wanted to be when you grew up. You will be that, and you will be more. You will be something, to somebody, and you will always, always be remembered as being the best that you could be.
Your little lights, your tiny, shining stars, they do not blink out and fade away. They will not fly through the atmosphere and die in a brilliant explosion. They will float on, past the Milky Way, through the Big Dipper. They will land on the Moon, they will twinkle in the night sky as we look up towards the velvet. They will whisper, make mischief.
You're tiny smiles, tiny hands, tiny words of wisdom will never, ever drift off like a raft down a river.
Every word I write is true. Somewhere, somehow, you are all what you wanted to be.
You are all little lights.