A few weeks ago after years of following one families journey to live, love and give a gift of health and life to their youngest daughter Teresa, we found ourselves mourning with them as Teresa lost her battle to live this side of heaven when her body rejected her donor heart. I documented this in my post Tiara for a Crown. We, like so many others found ourselves grieving for this little dynamo in her petite princess body and for her family left to go on without her.
We've continued to follow and pray for the Bartlinski family as Ann has so willingly shared with all on her blog Our Place Called Home and her Pray for Teresa B Facebook page. She's been honest with the joy they had from having Teresa in their lives these last 3 years and how painful her absence has been. A group that is designed to aid families that have experienced loss, the Joy Hope Foundation asked them where they might like to go as a family as a means of making new happy memories. They chose to return to Disney World and meet up again with the Princesses that had met with Teresa during her Make a Wish visit in 2011, when she got to be with her favorite Princesses and live her dream of being a princess too.
Their youngest daughter Gemma had letters to present to the princesses to thank them for the support they had continued to show Teresa. When we found out they were in Orlando, Kevin emailed them and let them know if they needed anything we were here to help. Ann said if we made it to Disney they'd love to meet us. So dressed in our new " got love? adopt" T shirts ordered from a group holding a Tiaras for Teresa fundraiser (www.gotloveadopt.com) we headed out this morning to meet up with the Ed, Ann and their girls.
We met up as they were exiting the Soaring ride. It felt like the old days when you used to be able to meet friends and family at airport gates as we waited for them to emerge from the rides exit hall.
After some initial meet and greets we began walking and talking, and talking and talking. It was like meeting up with old friends and having so much to catch up on and not enough time to say it all.
|Getting to know each other|
Thankfully the park wasn't very crowded so we easily strolled along chatting and taking pictures until we reached Epcot's China area and waited to greet Mulan. Ann and the girls presented their letter and visited a bit before the girls posed for pictures. Hannah and Lauren joined them and Mulan had them all join her in her Warrior Princess pose.
|Mulan receiving her letter|
|Mulan with Bartlinski princesses|
|Ann giving Mulan a hug|
|Warrior Princess Pose|
|Hannah and Lauren getting Mulan's autograph|
|Mulan and our princesses|
|Kevin sporting his tiara|
We talked awhile longer as we strolled over to "Norway", where we had to say our goodbyes so they could attend their lunch and meeting up with Teresa's favorite princess Belle. Time went by too fast as it always does with people who's company you really enjoy. We're hoping to get together again before they have to leave for home next week.
Having followed their story on their blog for so long we felt like we already knew the Bartlinski's, but meeting up with them live and in person was a real joy. With so many shared areas of interest it seems appropriate to quote the line from Casablanca, "...I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship".