Last week was a tough one. If you’re reading this, you likely know that my day job involves a mission that started with a little girl with severe epilepsy that found success and life with a cannabis oil years ago. Last week, we lost her.
I’m going to share what I wrote on my social media accounts, and below that, I will share a hopeful update…
Devastating news to wake up to.
I first met this little girl at a backyard party a few years ago at Joel Stanley’s house. I was having a beer and chatting with friends when I noticed her sitting quietly a few feet away, just taking in all the social interaction around her. The conversation I was in ended and I found myself alone for a few minutes. Typically not being very good with kids, and very aware of Charlotte’s fame as the face of the world’s cannabis-as-legitimate-medicine movement, I actually found myself slightly intimidated by her presence and avoiding eye contact as she gazed curiously at me. And I don’t get intimidated. Ever. Yet here I was, being reduced to nothing by a 9-year-old’s stare.
After standing alone hanging onto my beer for dear, insecure life, hoping someone would come back and save me from Charlotte’s inquisitive watch, I finally caved and made eye contact.
Nothing happened for a minute. But i already felt stupid, so I decided that I wasn’t going to lose a stare-down with this damned kid. Our eyes remained locked for what seemed an eternity, and with every passing second, my resolve steeled and my confidence returned.
And then something magical happened. Charlotte’s seemingly blank expression made an abrupt right turn and a radiant, goofy smile erupted onto her face, completely disarming me, and letting me know that it was indeed funny, even if I hadn’t gotten the joke we’d just shared. Now, even more than before, I felt really stupid about how I’d just reacted to the previous 60 seconds, but the image of that silly, playful little smile was now burned into the backs of my eyelids and I didn’t care. My icy heart was completely melted, stripped of it’s protection. She gave me one last patient look and turned away, searching for someone new to observe.
Charlie, I didn’t know you as well as many, but that isn’t really the point, is it? Your impact on this world was felt far and wide, and you created a path where there was none, providing a hope for people who desperately needed one. And you also gave people like me, with no real dog in the fight of “alternative treatment,” something to take up arms and fight for.
You may be gone now, but we will all remember you, and the cause you represented. But maybe more personally, I’ll always remember that time you gave me a mental ass-whooping without even saying a word. You may have been given a tiny, feeble body, but I saw only a towering giant.
*UPDATE* : last night a large group of people parked their cars outside of Paige’s (Charlotte’s mother) house, raising up mobile phone lights, glowsticks, and candles from the safe distance of each person’s automobile. Unaware of what was happening, Paige and her husband came outside to see well over a hundred people directing their love, support, sympathy, hope, and positive energy to Paige and her family. Overcome with emotion, Paige and Greg approached every car individually (maintaining proper social distancing) and thanked each person through tearful smiles.
I’m not going to elaborate much, but the moments I got to share with them are some of the most raw, authentic, and painfully restorative moments I’ve experienced in my life. My heart was broken wide open for them, but even now I’m not quite able to articulate my feelings. Loss is such a powerful wave, sometimes all you can do is let it take you.
But I also came away from the experience with a sense of healing, and positivity, and hope in humanity. The fact that so many people were willing to suddenly and creatively venture out and show their support and love, especially in such dark and perilous times, is something that I desperately needed to see. And Paige, with tears on her face and a humble smile, I could still feel her fiery courage beneath the visible pain she was experiencing. It had a renewing effect on me. It reminded me of how important and beautiful and powerful that little girl was, and how this lioness of a woman had fearlessly fought for her, against every law, doctor, and politician that stood in the way. It reminded me that every sacrifice, though small in comparison, that I’ve made to work alongside this cause has been completely worth it. Thank you Charlotte, and thank you Paige.