Welcome to Sasha's Web
Sasha was diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML M5) on July 17, 2003. She went through five months of chemotherapy and after a short remission her illness relapsed in January 2004. Further chemo failed to induce remission, and after some surgery to remove life-threatening infection the chemo failed to get her cancer under control without destroying her body.
Thank you everyone who had given her platelets and blood, she would have never lasted as long as she did without you. And please remember that there are many more still at the hospital fighting, support them by giving blood when you can.
Sasha passed away at 10 am on April 11, 2004.
This is still too soon for me to tell you about what happened that Sunday or describe the funeral, but maybe I could offer you some comfort by posting the eulogy I wrote for Sasha. I know she was right there with me every second helping me get through that day and that speech. I hope you will forever remember the lessons she taught us.
Funeral services were held on Wednesday, April 14, 2004 at 2pm in the
Kagan-Rudy Chapel at Emanu El Memorial Park, 8341 Bissonnet (Bissonnet at
In lieu of flowers please consider making a donation to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
(http://www.leukemia.org) in memory of Alexandra "Sasha" Dvorak.
There is so much I want to say and I don't know if I'll be able to get it all out. If I can't continue, maybe Andy could read it for me.
There are a lot of thanks to give today. First and foremost, thank you for being here. I know how helpless we all felt for all these months. In grief and in mourning don't ever fear to say something wrong for you just being here with us is an act of unselfish kindness and respect.
Before I speak of Sasha, I know she would want me say one thing first. Well, maybe two. Cool bikes, duuude.. and - Thank you. There is nothing we could ever do to thank everyone enough for what was done. And I don't think all these good deeds were done with an expectation to get something in return. But it is extremely important for me to know that everyone of you understands this - we knew of all the good things you've done for us, selfless things, painful things, uncomfortable things, thoughtful things and above all life-saving things. We know and we appreciate, now and always. There are just too many names to name.. from family to complete strangers who dropped everything they were doing to come and offer help. I love every one of you. I will never ever forget this. Thank you.
I do need though to point out two people many of you may have talked to but have never met in person. Kelly Battle, an amazing lawyer and an even more amazing human being, put what must have been hundreds of hours in making sure Sasha got the blood she needed to survive. Peter Richard, a dear friend, worked hard to raise awareness of Sasha's illness and blood shortages despite losses and hardships in his own family.
And all of you, from close to far, did something very important for me too. You have forever changed my opinion of humanity. You gave me faith that people are good, that the world is a worthwhile place despite all the suffering and pain and anger.
I am very lucky. I am so fortunate to have had her with me for seven years. My mom always joked that they forgot to cut the umbilical cord connecting us at her birth. We did everything together, and I know there must have been times when people thought I was a crazy parent - but Sasha always said I was cool, and that's the biggest compliment I could ever get in my life.
I have always rushed to live thinking that maybe my days here may be short, how wrong I was.. but in that rush to live, really live, she got to live an amazing life too. She traveled more than any kid I've ever met, been to three continents, rode a camel, made friends with astronauts, football players and world champion motorcycle racers, and never met a stranger. She rode on the back of my motorcycle, blasted around on a four-wheeler until the cows came home, rollerbladed and ice-skated like she was borne to do it, played soccer, and remained the unchallenged queen of the monkey bars. I've always taught her that there is nothing out there that she couldn't do - just because she is a girl. For some reason she believed me. She wanted to be a vet, and maybe a teacher.
And you know, she was a teacher, because the biggest lessons I've learned came from my own daughter. She taught me many things. I think she taught us so many things.
She taught me that you can love somebody unconditionally with all your might, and fight with them and get upset with them and still love them with every cell in your body.
She taught me that kisses last forever and never ever go away. Often she would hug me and start covering me with dozens of kisses and say, Mommy, you know you get to keep these kisses forever and ever. And I would laugh and start smooching her in return, and she would giggle her head off.. She saved all her money during the year to buy us presents, and one Mother's Day she gave me this beautiful silver heart pendant with a small rose in it.. She told me - "this is my heart, Mom, it's for you, now you'll always have it, and if you miss me at work you just have to kiss it and it will be just like you are kissing me.." If she only knew..
She taught me that there is nothing in the world more beautiful than coming into your child's room to watch them sleep and see a tiny smile on their peaceful faces because they are probably dreaming of something wonderful.
She taught me that you should never postpone the important things in life thinking there's always tomorrow to do it. If you can make them laugh today, don't wait. If you can make them happy now, don't wait till some special time or better time or just other time, what if there won't be any?
She taught me that it's ok to spoil your children because you never want to regret a missed opportunity to see them happy. It's a lie, you can't spoil them, you can only teach them how to love with all you've got and they will love you right back with all they have.
She taught me that courage is not absence of fear, it's continuing to live your life fully despite of it. She never once complained, and only once, after her disease came back on February, did she cry and said that she did not want to die. I wish I knew then how to teach her not to be afraid.. She taught me to fight till the end and never give up hope, even when everybody else did.
She gave me the wisdom (or maybe just took away all restraint) to always tell her how much I love her and how proud I was of her. Every day, every hour, I couldn't help it, and she always repaid me with the same. I don't have the regret on not saying it enough, because I never stopped telling her that from the day she was born.
She taught me that sometimes you get strength even when you think you have no more. Maybe it's because you don't have a choice. Or maybe it comes from her, or from the love.
She taught me the meaning of all those words we have been abusing for years - words like 'love', 'hope', 'courage.' We use them with such abandon.. Understanding these words comes with experience, and oh it is such a hard way to learn.
She taught me what love and a will to live can do. And I think she may have taught that to a few doctors on the way.
And most importantly she taught me the meaning of life. It is very simple. It's today. This minute. This second. Now. It's not about living for tomorrow or living in the past. Life is about where we are now, and the wisdom is to appreciate what you have now. Not to think how much more other people have, but to feel fortunate about how much you have and how your life can change in the blink of an eye.
Maybe Sasha was meant to teach us all how to live. Loving the people with us every second, parting with them like they may never come back, even if it's just for a moment. Appreciating each day we get with them. Please don't forget that.
There is someone else I need to speak of. Two people who got me through the hardest times of my life, whom I both love with all I have. My mom and Andy.
Andy - I don't know if I have the words to tell everyone how lucky I am to have you in my life. You gave Sasha so much, you made her live, spoiled her rotten, loved her and she thought you walked on air, she couldn't wait for you to get home every night. And you pulled me up and carried me through my darkest times, you saved me, you were there for us every day and every night in the hospital, holding her hand and holding me up. I don't think people know how much you did for her and how much you meant for her. I hope I can spend the rest of my life doing the same for you. I love you.
Mom, I'm so sorry for how hard this has been on you. I'm sorry I may not have been the easiest person to be around. You need to know that I've appreciated everything that you've done and are doing, now and always, and I love you very much. I don't need to tell you how much our little musya loved you.
Sasha - I've loved you from the moment I knew you were part of me till your last breath - and forever on. You died in my arms and I know you'll forever be with me now. I need to believe you are in a good place and I hope you will let me know one day. I don't know if I have the faith, but I have the hope. Now that I know what those two words really mean. I can't wait to see you again.
Friday, October 22, 2010 5:37 PM CDT
Happy birthday, my beautiful girl! You would have turned 14 today. I can hardly imagine. Miss you every day.
Read Journal History
Patient Room: PICU Bed 30, West Tower of TCH
Texas Children's Hospital
6621 Fannin St.
Houston, TX 77030-2303
http://lls.org/all_chap Leukemia & Lymphoma Society