November 2014 while I was finding out that I was pregnant with Rowan there were millions of other women in the world getting the same news. Out of those millions of women in the world only about one hundred joined a group on Facebook called ‘Sunflowers’ for us girls that were all due about the same week in July. I cheated a little because I was actually due August 1st but since I was early with Jaxson I knew this baby would be too and man am I so glad I cheated!
You see, these girls in our group have became a sisterhood. Although we all live miles and miles away and have never met in person it’s a special connection we all have. This may sound a little crazy to some but I feel closer with these women I’ve never met than I do most people in my everyday life. We all just have such a strong bond and connection! When we first joined it wasn’t an instant connection, it was something that over two years has grown into something beautiful. It started with “hump day, bump day” which we would do every Wednesday and post a picture of our growing bellies then it went to posts wondering if maybe we were in labor. Then it went to ways to induce labor because we were all so miserable together being large and in charge and we all could not wait to meet our babies!
We went through it all together and still are going through it all together. One of our very own Sunflowers lost her battle with cancer this week. I remember reading her post telling all of us in the group that she was diagnosed with brain cancer a few years ago and it made me feel sick. My heart ached for her and her baby girl and her whole family. I couldn’t fathom living day to day wondering when my last day with my daughter would be. Although no life is promised, with a diagnosis that is terminal like hers it just makes it unbearable to think about. After knowing her story, I paid a little closer attention to her. All of her posts were always so loving and inspiring. When I had my miscarriage a few months ago she was one of the first people to send me love in a time of need. This woman was so amazing and she really got around! So many posts about her traveling for work still and pumping breast milk for her daughter in airports. Running marathons!!!! Yes, you read that right. Marathons. She also co-founded a company named ‘Glam Runner’ that make tutu’s for a non profit organization called ‘Girls on the Run’ and I’m sure there’s so much more that she was doing for others that I don’t even know about. She had a way of lifting others. As I read over all of the comments left on her Facebook page and in our group it really just proves how incredible she was. This woman had so much strength and showed everyone how unstoppable she was. Brain cancer wasn’t stopping her from life and she was proving that.
My heart aches for her daughter who will grow up not being able to hug her and kiss her good night. However, I know just how lucky she is because she will always carry her Mother within her. Monika was a special woman and for me to know that from only knowing her through our group on social media I know it was an honor for the lucky friends and family of hers to of known her in real life. Tonight, and many more to come I will go to bed with a heavy heart for all of those who are hurting and missing their sweet friend, Monika.
We hope to see you again sweet friend we never met.
Photo Credit: Medtronic
Here are a few words from our Sunflowers who will also be missing her:
“She made me feel like if she can overcome a brain tumor than how could I sweat the small things in my life. She just embraced each day she had and it made me start feeling more thankful for the small things/accomplishments in my life.” -DustiJo Verret
“Monika and I made a connection after she posted in the Sunflowers group about anyone needing crib bumpers, she had bought a set that didn’t fit her crib correctly and she wanted to give them to someone in the group. I offered to pay her, but she refused. After that we became friends on Facebook (beyond the group) and I learned about who she was. As I snooped on her profile that day I was in awe of this person who was just down to earth and a normal mama, even through her adversity she was kind, gentle and just a sweet person. Our little talks, and her posts always had a way of brightening my day. She truly was a hero.” -Whitney Perea
“Monika was more bold, brave and beautiful than any other person I’ve ever known. I never met her in person but her courageous heart leapt out at me from word go in our mom’s group. She made me want to be a better version of myself!! I can only hope and pray to be the kind of mother she was and show my children the strength and tenderness she showed hers!! For a woman I never even got to shake the hand of… she touched my life in a way she probably never knew!!” -Casey Kerzee Ebbett
” I remember when we first joined the group she made a comment about being on The Katie Couric show and I had to snoop. I checked her out on the internet and instantly felt in the presence of someone great.
I am not sure I have ever felt respect for someone like I do her. Anyone that runs marathons WHILE getting chemo is a super hero in my book.
Her hope inspires me to think about all the good in the world. I will think of her every time I strap on my running shoes and look forward to running my next race wearing a tutu in salute to this amazing soul.
The love she has for her sweet baby girl was palpable in the posts she wrote and responded to. My wish is for Eva to know how deeply she was loved by her mama and how much we love her. On that note…I’m going to strap on my running shoes and hop on the treadmill for Monika:)” -Johanna Harris
“I’m so saddened to read about Monika. I’m sitting here crying. I can’t even imagine what she went through along with her family. One of my biggest fears is something happening to me or my kids and not being able to see my children grow up. My heart goes out to her family and friends especially her sweet baby girl.” -Vanessa Boye
In loving memory of our friend, Monika. XO