Hope and Shi

Like a comet
Blazing ‘cross the evening sky
Gone too soon

~ Michael Jackson

Two girls on opposite sides of the country.
Two girls with big smiles, big laughs, and even bigger dreams.
Two girls I never met but would come to know.

Hope is forever twelve.
Shianne is forever nineteen.

In 2003, Hope’s parents, Stuart and Shelby Stout got the most devastating news of their lives. Their happy little redheaded fireball had a rare and aggressive form of bone cancer. A few short months later, Make A Wish asked Hope what she wanted. A trip to Disney? A swim with dolphins? Name it. This little girl who loved kittens, stuffed animals, and cheerleading decided she had everything she needed. Her wish was that every kid on the waiting list in central and western North Carolina get their wishes. That’s a lot of wishes. That’s a lot of money. When word of Hope’s wish spread, more than a million dollars was raised.

Wishes granted.
A legacy of Hope secured.

Shiny and sparkly
And splendidly bright
Here one day
Gone one night

Shianne Soles was an energy source that, if harnessed, could easily power all of Washington State. She excelled at everything she threw her passion into – volleyball, running, dance, cheerleading, and shopping. As she grew up, she became focused, driven, and brave. She only wanted to serve and serve she did. She joined the Navy as a Corpsman. Her life was just getting started. She was barely 19 years old when a man she knew violently took her life.

Tragic.
Unimaginable.

She left home to make an impact.
She came home draped in an American flag.

Hope and Shi.

I met Hope’s parents when they wrote a book about her.
Shianne was in boot camp with my daughter. I call her mom my friend.

Not a day goes by that I don’t think of these extraordinary young girls. I dunk my Wendy’s fries in my Frosty like Hope. I listen to Marshmallow like Shianne. I see my daughters with different eyes. I’m quieter. I don’t let too much of life get to me. My patience for things that don’t matter is paper thin.

Hope and Shi.
I hear their whispers.

Never waste a day.
Grant a wish.
Be a cheerleader.
Serve.
Laugh.
Live.

Shine like Shi.
Wish like Hope.