I wanted to include a biography illustrating Hannah's vivid life, but I have to say, it is extremely difficult to write. There are so many aspects that defined who she was and many I can't even put into words. It may have been the twinkle in her eyes or the little hop in her walk. It may have been a look she gave that made us realize she was wise beyond her years. It may have been the way she spoke to someone with unbridled enthusiasm and true attentiveness. I am not sure exactly what it was that made Hannah so special and "vivid". It was so many things wrapped up in a beautiful and precious little package. She was uniquely Hannah Ray Geneser, and there will never be anyone else like her in this world. We know her spirit lives on in places we cannot see and in places we can. We recognize her spirit in all of us. She has given every person she touched a part of herself that can never be lost or stolen.
Hannah came into this life with a calm and gentleness that carried us through parenthood. I remember sitting on our deck holding her in my arms on a warm, sunny September day. I was talking to my mom and I said, "I can't imagine my life without her." As you can imagine, I reflect back on that day often. That was a feeling of pure contentment. She continued to instill that feeling in us for four and a half years.
Hannah had many friends that she loved playing with. Much of the time she was chasing after the boys to play whatever it is that boys play. She really enjoyed school at the Creative Center for Young Children, but boy, did she love coming home. As soon as she got through the door, the school clothes came off and upstairs she would run to her dress-up closet. She would soon reappear for the big reveal. She would put her hands on her hips, tilt her head to the side, and point one plastic princess shoe in our direction (so we could get the full effect). She would stand there, motionless, until someone commented on how beautiful she looked. And she did. She was certainly a sight for sore eyes. That was just one of the hundreds of ways she brought beauty and joy to our eyes.
In 2010, Hannah dressed up as Little Orphan Annie for Halloween (wig and all). At the time, it was her favorite movie. We bought the soundtrack and she and her little sister would belt out the songs on the way to and from school. Her favorite song was "Tomorrow." When we are feeling sad and hopeless, we remember her sweet and true voice singing, "The sun will come out tomorrow..." The next year, Hannah planned to dress up as Avatar for Halloween. She informed us of that fact two days after trick-or-treat in 2010.. She was ENTHRALLED with that movie. Who would guess a child her age would love, let alone comprehend, that movie. There was something spiritual and magical about it. I believe it was Hannah's "old soul" that was fascinated by that movie. I have her Avatar barrette tucked away with her other cherished items.
Hannah tried dance class for a while, but as soon as we introduced her to gymnastics, that was over. Our mover and shaker needed excitement. She loved everything about gymnastics. Jumping, bouncing, somersaulting, rolling, running and swinging made her happy. And we were happy, too. As much as she loved being energetic and playful, she also loved simply relaxing with a good movie. She did not go a night without her treasured "movie time." It was part of her routine that never wavered. She would sneak off to her bedroom where she was perfectly content laying with mama or dada. We just couldn't resist the opportunity to "yay" with her and look out the window at the moon and stars. She would offer to scratch our backs and we would hold hands and intertwine legs. Those were the most treasured moments for all of us. Our hearts were happy. If we happened to fall asleep until morning, we would wake to her eager, yet patient face - a huge smile and the adored words, "I love you (mama or dada)." Always. What else could a parent ask for? Her love and compassion were astounding. Once, a friend of ours came over in tears after a devastating break-up. Hannah sneaked into the room, crawled into her lap, put her hand on her face and asked, "Why are you crying?" I was so proud she was mine. We will always be proud of who she was and the impact she left on this world. She was an incredible little girl and she was happy. We all rest assured that whatever we did, we did right. Maybe that is taking too much credit, but it helps get us through the hard days. And they are all hard days. We miss her more with every passing day. 11 months later, the gaping hole in our hearts is larger and more raw. Nature's sympathetic anesthesia has gradually worn off. This is real. This is desolate. This is agonizing. But we will go on with her love in our hearts, slowly filling the hole and giving us hope for brighter days. We anticipate there will come a day when all these wonderful memories bring a smile to our face instead of tears to our eyes. Until then, we will face each day together and do our very best to honor her truly vivid life.