As the disease progressed, Ladybug became more secretive
about her art and spent most her time drawing her storyboards. She was deeply worried
about her mommy who had lost many things during this fight with cancer,
including her husband. Her mom’s eyes were dark and the pain from this long
ordeal was etched all over her face. As I got to know her better, I truly respected the
love and commitment she had to her beloved daughter.
When Ladybug passed, her mother finally got to read the storyboards made just for her. They started with the diagnosis of Ladybug's disease and gradually worked toward detailing the last few months of their journey together. Then, as tears ran
down her face, the mother saw the drawing of her daughter buried next to
flowers, trees and a big beautiful sky. Standing all around her were cartoon
stick people representing family members, even Daddy.
The next page showed Ladybug well and happy. She was
jumping in the air with her arms spread, surrounded by her drawings and her
drawing table. Grandma and grandpa were with her too and they were all smiling. The scribbled
caption explained that nothing could keep her down—all was safe now in heaven.
Then, the last page of her script was for her mom. It depicted Ladybug holding a present, beautifully wrapped and glowing. She wrote to her mommy that life is a gift and
it’s full of joy, laughter and love. Choose to live it. Please.
Her mother found peace in that art. With the help from
family, friends and the dedicated people at Ronald McDonald House she would gradually
put her life back together. She would come to realize the great secret that many people fail to grasp in life and her daughter powerfully taught in her death—life is a gift.
I was recently with a group of designers who were dealing
with the everyday issues they face in corporate life—the good and the bad. Some
found themselves buried in politics and forgot why they even became designers. After I told them about Ladybug, they began to remember back to the
why and saw past the rest.
Do you remember the why? Sometimes I forget too. For me, it
was because toys are cool and come to think of it, the kids who play with them
are pretty cool too. What we do is less about the internal gears and more about
the wonderful magic that a toy is to a child—how it makes them feel and the
enjoyment it brings.
Ladybug taught that nothing could keep you buried unless you let it. I encourage you to embrace your creative gifts with the time
you have on this celestially challenged bouncing ball. Be the best you can be. What
you do matters—you matter.
A few days after my little friend passed, I spent an evening with family and friends
at a fire works display—my healthy daughter bouncing playfully on my lap. I thought about how special a person Ladybug was and how she
always celebrated life, creativity and toys. How fitting my memories of her are mingled with the Fourth of July which celebrates our freedom and living life to the fullest potential.
During this holiday, remember what that little lady taught us all—don’t let any person or situation define you and no
matter where you find yourself personally or professionally choose to celebrate
life—because life is a gift.