Tori’s friends all graduated from high school a few weeks ago.

They are moving on with their lives, and I am so sorry to see them go. They meant so much to her, and did so much to step outside of their comfort zones and give of themselves to cheer her up, and make her journey more pleasant and filled with love.

These kids mean so much to me, because they meant so much to her. I am so sad to see them go, because their friendship with my daughter imprinted them onto my own heart.

As they prepare for college, and many of them begin to leave on two-year service missions for our church, I mourn their loss from our family’s lives. They were such a part of our experiences of the last three years.

A few of them live in the neighborhood, or are the children of my friends, so I will see them again, but I will always follow them and their adventures, because through them I can hope to see what might have been if this cruel disease, MLD, had not stolen my precious daughter’s life away.

I witnessed these amazing human beings transform from silly middle schoolers to confident and able-bodied adults. Sure, they have so much more to learn, but I am so proud of what they have become, and how they treat other people.

It has always been a mystery to me how the gangly, self-conscious awkward preteens morph into the young adults that have the power to do so much good in the world. These now young missionaries and college students have done so much to impress me. What has to happen to mold them into these workers of miracles?

Their frontal lobes go through some tremendous changes, but there had to be more than just developing some executive function skills. I didn’t get to see for myself what changes Tori would have gone through, but like a time lapse photo of a flower bud opening, I was able to see the metamorphosis her dear friends have made. Not seeing them every day like their own parents do made each development appear more pronounced.

I love these kids, and I’m not sure how I’ll relate to them in the future. Is it weird to have your dead friend’s mother pop into your life occasionally to ask how everything is going? I don’t know; I guess I will find out. I only hope they can keep being generous with their experiences and allow us to peek into their lives.

Every parent who has lost a child has the gnawing fear that their beloved daughter or son will be forgotten. It is unbearable to think that the precious life you have created will fade out of memory. Through watching Tori’s friends’ lives unfold, I honor her memory, and keep her alive in my heart.