The Neverending Story

'The finest steel has to go through the hottest fire.'
--John N Mitchell

We set up this website in late October for our wonderful, inquisitive, loving Aiyana. Yana is our eight year old daughter, sister, cousin, niece, friend and granddaughter who was diagnosed with an extremely rare form of leukemia (MPAL).

Aiyana had an amazing life and we are filled with hundreds of heartwarming memories. May all of us take to heart how much a little girl from Lockeford, CA, impacted the world and be reminded and inspired to never let the sun go down without living each day all the way through.

Her Spirit is in every Butterfly.


She Will Live On

Well we have been busy here! Meticulous designs have been brought to life in wood and purple and pink butterflies have been painted with a mommy smudge for good measure. The endplates were designed and created and readied for the books which had been ordered with money collected from the chubby little hands of children at the school (and from other places, too, and lots of adults).

It wasn't just us: At Washington Elementary, the teachers were busy sorting and organizing hundreds of books, strewn all over the library tables by the time we arrived to look at them and put on the endplates, 271 of them, some of which Aiyana had time to read in her short life, and others that her friends and classmates will read in her honor.

The school dedication ceremony was in the works for May 20th, which began gently with a slide show of Aiyana's 'other life', the one she lived at school with all her friends, doing the thing she loved most to do which was learn-read-sing-play-grow. Her father spoke next of her courage and unyielding spirit to master just about anything life threw at her. We all hope for a little of Aiyana in our lives, don't we, that remarkable quality especially in one so young and so generously shared with everyone she knew.

And then there were performers: kindergarten first, the 26 friends song about the alphabet and then a reader's theatre poem in iambic pentameter chanted by teams of first graders going faster and faster and keeping in step and making us breathless! Second grade read In the Pages of a Book which included a skit with active performances by a pig and toad, followed by preschoolers sitting butt to butt squeezed together on the bench and tucked behind and all around, with a hysterical rendition of Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed. The Song of Peace was Aiyana's favorite song and so the third grade classes wrapped it up with that, all her friends and friends-to-be, singing and signing it, too, for the hearing impaired.

Last of all, Aiyana's sisters stood up, Morgan and Brandi, with their mom, and asked the children for some help with the parts of the book that required singing, and they read I Love You Forever, and everyone sang, even the adults and teachers, with eyes brimming with tears.

At our very core, all we ever really want is to be remembered fondly and that our life made a difference. And today in this place, every person there - students and teachers and families and friends - got the rare privilege of witnessing the powerful impact of one small life on the world around it. Aiyana made a profound difference. There is absolutely no doubt she will live on.


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