If you are regular reader of my column, well hello there, thank you so much for hanging in there with me through thick and thin. If you aren´t a regular reader of my column then I suppose you may not have heard of little Ellie Wilkinson before which is a shame as she was quite a remarkable little girl, from an amazing family.
Ellie, beloved daughter of Candice and Jason and adored little sister to Cleo, passed away two years ago this week on Friday January 25th 2011. Ellie died from the ravages of a genetic disorder called Mitochondrial disease; she wasn´t quite four years old. Ellie, and her struggles against the illness which finally took her away, struck a chord in the community here in Mallorca. Ellie ´s illness unwittingly brought us together as a caring community in a way that I had never experienced before.
So far in my life I have had a pretty easy ride of it really. I haven´t had to deal with personal tragedies, I have more or less always had a job, (although I can´t say I´m flush) and I have always bounced back from knock backs and failures, or sometimes I´ve bounced sideways depending on what´s happened. So the death of a loved one, especially your own flesh and blood is for me one of the most difficult things to comprehend and I don´t know personally how I would cope with it. I have the utmost respect and admiration for the Wilkinsons who endured a terrible period when Ellie was seriously ill, and now they have to bear the loss of her.
Candice, Ellie´s mum, has said that the void in their lives will never be filled but that they are learning to continue living with Ellie in their hearts. Watching how the Wilkinson family have managed to cope with the enormous grief and sadness that must have engulfed them has been inspirational to me and many other people here on the island. They continue to be lovely people to be around, and they continue to push themselves and to grow: Candice has said that they all owe it to Ellie to keep trying their best and enjoying their lives as much as they possibly can.
And that is part of the legacy that Ellie has left behind. We want life to be fair, but it turns out that it isn’t. What has she taught us? To try to be humble, to be more grateful, to see the funny side in things as frequently as possible. Life is precious, and short. Don’t waste it on little dreams or things that don´t make you happy. Whatever you are doing with your life, are you doing your absolute best? Make an effort for Ellie’s sake, to live your life to its fullest potential because she didn’t get the opportunity to.
Some people may say that the ´least said, soonest mended´ approach to bereavement is the best. But Candice disagrees : to mark the passing of their little girl the family have asked for people to change their profile photo on Facebook to a photo of their precious Ellie. You can participate in this if you wish in two ways. If you are Facebook user then visit http://www.facebook.com/pages/In-loving-memory-of-Ellie-Brooke-Wilkinson and you will find some photos there to choose from. If you don´t use Facebook but you would like to mark Ellie´s “Angelversary” then please wear something on Friday with the colour lilac in it. Just like thousands of other little girls, Lilac was Ellie´s favourite colour.
By Vicki McLeod. First published Euro Weekly News 24th January 2013