A couple years ago my father and I found one of our family members that had survived Auschwitz during the Holocaust. Her name is Lili. Her sons did a search of our entire family and they found us. Soon after, my father and I flew to Budapest, Hungary and met the rest of our family. It was the moment I met her that I felt I had known her before. When I first met her, she looked at me with such joy in her eyes and enormous love in her heart. She immediately took me in her arms and gave me a huge, tight hug.
She had faced genocide and survived. She lived through the Holocaust as Hitler murdered most of her family and put her through the labor camps of Auschwitz. She had seen pure evil up close, had escaped from death, and she lived to see her great-grandchildren brought into the world.
It was through her that I truly learned the meaning of unconditional love, happiness, and family. As I see her hug and kiss her kids, grandchildren, and great grandkids, I realize that the universe had an enormous plan for her. In her eyes I saw a reflection of triumph over oppression. She is the strongest, most courageous and loving people that I have ever known. That day when I met Lili I truly understood the meaning and importance of family and how one woman’s escape created generations of life, including mine.
There are different people who cross our paths throughout our lifetime and sometimes they have a huge effect on our lives. I have been blessed with true living examples of women rising above oppression. I have seen their triumph over seemingly impossible odds, to stand before me, their eyes filled with their story, their strength and love. Lili’s life has taught me more about my own life and about happiness and joy. Happiness truly comes from within. To feel joy is powerful and freeing and something we can all experience in our daily lives.
Sometimes in life we come face to face with darkness. But from the many stories I have heard and the lessons I have learned, one thing in this world that no person can take from you is your innocence. They cannot take that innocent, inner child you were born with. They cannot take your happiness that we can all create internally, and they cannot take away your spirit. It is sacred and it is yours.
Thank you Lili for the love and joy you bring to your family and to the world. I am proud to be related to such a tremendously strong woman. Her strength and love inspires me every day to continue empowering women world-wide. I love you. XOXO