|Birth: ||Jan. 31, 2006, USA|
|Death: ||Jan. 14, 2011|
Alexis Gina Agin
I have thought about this moment for far to long over the course of the past 33 months. Never once in my life did I ever imagine that I would be eulogizing one of my children. Yet, here we sit. Most individuals have a lifetime to build a legacy, and yet Alexis had 4 short years to leave her mark on this planet. In that all too short amount of time, Alexis left her mark on thousands of people on every corner of this planet. A legacy that will far outlive her and hopefully me as well. In this short amount of time, Alexis transcended the boundaries of an ordinary life and has been transformed into a hero. A hero, unwittingly thrust into this role without choice or say. All the while, she never complained and never questioned it for a single day. To me, she is a model for life, a living demonstration of how to endure the most difficult mountains thrust before us.
Born January 31, 2006, Alexis was our first child. Her given middle name, Gina, for my sister who tragically lost her life in an accident in August 2002. From the beginning, Alexis was stubborn, a fighter, a child who's will often won out over our reason. When she wouldn't drink from a bottle, we altered our lives in order to be at home, in a quite room, lights off singing songs to her, and she would drink. When Alexis wanted it her way, she often got what she wished for. She had the ability to ensure that we were always wrapped around her little fingers. With a smile, or the sound of her soft tender little voice, you were hooked. Certainly for me, this took place within a second after her birth. Alexis had a personality and sparkle to her that could draw you in with one sweet little look from her crystal clear blue eyes. In the hospital, at the clinic, wherever we went she commanded an audience. At one particular visit in December 2008, she ordered one of her doctors, an older man who was always very rigid, grabbed him by the hand and forced him to watch her dance on a stage in the middle of the hospital. I was never more proud as she brought him unwillingly to this endeavor. That was Alexis though. Nurses gained an instant connection to Alexis from the moment that they walked into her room. That was Alexis. But there was so much more to Alexis than the simple diagnosis that was handed down to her in April 2008.
Alexis was fearless, climbing, sliding, jumping all with the ease of any other child. Able to make friends quickly, she always wanted to be around those who she held closest, and quickly we had to tell stories of the three amigos, Alexis, Layla and Sophie. At school, right here in this building, Alexis wound her way into the hearts of her teachers, the administrators and those who spent time in class with her. Alexis quickly grew to enjoy the routine of going to school, even when interrupted by doctor's visits, MRI scans, and all that this disease threw at her. Walking into the building with her backpack, that was bigger than she was, we always looked forward to reading about what Alexis had done that day.
Alexis loved animals. She always talked about being an animal rescuer. Visits to the pet store became routine. For many months we tried hard to get Alexis to sleep in her bed with a stuffed animal. We tried to get her attached to either her elmo doll or a stuffed monkey, and ultimately with reluctance they were relegated to the foot of her bed. As the months went on though, something happened. As her collection of stuffed animals grew and grew, more animals were invited into bed with her until her bed looked like a wild jungle, no room to move but surrounded by literally hundreds of animals. Each trip to the hospital, each blood draw, a new animal would find its way home with us. From Washington, DC, to Philadelphia to New York City, we became regulars at hospital gift shops, exhausting the supplies quickly. Our trips to New York for treatment brought us to FAO Schwartz right outside of Central Park with regularity. At the end of each trip, Alexis would walk out of the store with a new family of animals. I could never say no though. How could you. The smile on her face would have driven me to any length. Our trips to each institution, each doctor became adventures unto themselves. We tried at every juncture to ensure that normalcy and fun were part of the routine. After each radiation session, we would routinely make our way to the parking garage past a gumball machine. You see, gumballs were not for chewing in Alexis' book. They were for collecting, and for tossing over railings, down stairs, wherever we could. She truly enjoyed this simple act, even when it meant that we almost took someone's head off with an errant throw. So too was throwing eggs for Alexis. Yes, eggs. Always interested in mischief myself, I taught Alexis that there were times when it was enjoyable to take an egg and give it a toss. Thus, when possible, we'd head around the neighborhood to back areas and give a few a toss. With a smile and a laugh, there was no encouragement necessary for me. To put a smile on Alexis' face in the shadow of the horrible disease that took over was the simple goal of every day. We may not have been able to smile ourselves, but if Alexis' mouth opened widely in that beautiful show of teeth, it was all worth it.
In Alexis' short years, she became a seasoned traveler. Early on, she spent time in St. Maarten, Aruba, and "botels" across the east coast. Alexis couldn't say hotel initially, so instead she referred to them as "botels." Always the same routine when we got to the room, she would hitch a ride on the luggage cart, get off and immediately run around the room frantically, smiling and laughing. She would find the phone, pick it up, start talking. Find the tv, turn it on, and simply make herself at home. Alexis loved swimming. Whether away while traveling or here locally, she had no fear of the water. Often running to the other side of the pool where we were not, to try and jump in without our aid. She had an absolute zest for life that far outweighed the devastation that was being thrust upon her by this disease. She loved her art projects and our house literally overflows with hundred and hundreds of paintings and pictures. She loved stickers, markers, play-dough, crayons, clay, paints, anything that she could leave her mark with. We are blessed with colors surrounding us, works that will live on visually beyond the short life that was taken.
That is the true resolve that Alexis demonstrated on a daily basis. Even as we knew the horrible prognosis, Alexis continued to take what life threw at her and enjoy her days. This was Alexis.
In the end, Alexis has inspired thousands. Her journey, and not the destination, have proven to be valuable for those who are fighting this same disease and many others. She is an inspiration beyond the stature of her small frame. Able to captivate, motivate and make those in this world aware of the toll that this disease and others take upon our children. She did not ask for this, yet in the time that she spent fighting, a more amazing spokesperson could not have been available. I would give anything to not have to realize this. But I take solace knowing that Alexis gave so much. She will live on forever and ever and her memory will never fade. As time moves on, we will begin to remember the days when this disease was not present in our daily lives. And what I am certain we will find, is that Alexis was simply as amazing a person prior to the diagnosis as she was while she lived with it. Stubborn, precocious, happy, beautiful and amazing, she will remain so for all eternity.
We love you Alexis, you are our heart and soul, and we will never let your memory fade. We will instill in Gabriel the knowledge that for a short period of his life, he co-existed with the most amazing person, his sister Alexis. Forever you are with us.
Thank you all yet again for your continued support.
Thank you to Sherri for sponsoring Alexis's memorial!
King David Memorial Gardens
Plot: Section 45, Plot 357-1A
Created by: Marie K
Record added: Mar 14, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 66898798