My friend Nicole died yesterday.  A little less than a year ago, she delivered her third baby a bit early.  It was then that doctors discovered a particularly agressive and incurable cancer.  Quickly, it became apparent that instead of a babymoon, Nicole would spend her baby's first year planning to die--and planning her children's childhood in a way few of us ever do.

She set about to leave her three children--a four-year-old girl, a two-year-old boy, and her new little girl--little pieces of heart for every occasion she could imagine.  She asked for my help collecting a huge assortment of books.  She wanted books for each birthday, books for each sacrament, books for the first day of kindergarten, of high school.  She tried so hard to think of every possible time in a child's life that he might miss his mother and to have a book for it. Stop for a moment and think of those books.  Which ones would you include--living books that would live on in your place? Each one, she inscribed.  Her bedroom began to look like an warehouse. And with every day, every box delivered, she weakened.

She fought so hard for the simple things.  A couple of weeks ago, she told me story of her little boy, who had gone for a walk with his dad to get ice cream and stopped to pick her flowers on the way home.  She cried as she said, "I just wanted to see him lick that cone. I'm not asking for big things; it's all the little things I want to have and hold."

Today, do the little things.  Pick your very favorite story off the shelf and read it with your child safely in your lap.  And then have an ice cream cone together.

Please pray for the soul of Nicole and for her young family.