Honoring Rosie, Lindsay, and The Bumpus Family
Have you encountered people in your life that have taught you so much about truly living?
I have had some incredible teachers so far in my life who have shown me what grace, light, love, and beauty truly look like. Today, I honor the Bumpus family and their two beautiful daughters, Rosie and Lindsay.
The Bumpus family are some of my greatest teachers.
In March of 2015, I attended Jen Pastiloff's workshop in Atlanta. That is where I met Vicki Bumpus. During the workshop, Vicki talked about the loss of her beautiful daughter, Rosie. While listening to Vicki share her story, I felt so connected to her and Rosie.
Brittany Rose Alma Bumpus (a.k.a. Rosie) passed away from cystic fibrosis on June 17, 2013, eight days shy of her 26th birthday.
But it wasn’t her death that impacted me the most. It was how she lived. Rosie lived every moment.
"We are One. We are Love." ~ Rosie
In December of 2012, Rosie underwent a double lung transplant. Everything was going well, and she was healing. Jen Pastiloff went to visit Rosie in the hospital and made a video blog with Rosie about having a “rosy outlook in life and being your most authentic self no matter what is going on”. In the video, Rosie shared her dream of running once she was healed. I still tear up every time I watch this video because I see such radiance and love in Rosie.
I was so moved by Rosie’s beautiful soul and the joy and life she lived every day even when facing incredibly difficult moments.
After March 2015, I started building a beautiful relationship with Vicki over Facebook. It is amazing the connection you can make with someone with whom you barely spend physical time. The more I learned about this beautiful family, the more I fell deeply in love with all of them.
I knew I wanted to run the 2016 NYC Marathon in November of that year to raise money for brain cancer research in honor of Steven. To get myself in shape, I decided to run the 2016 Publix Half Marathon in Atlanta. As I thought about the half marathon, I kept thinking about Rosie and her dream of running.
I reached out to Vicki and asked her if I could run in honor of Rosie. Vicki shared with me how much this gesture touched her heart. Awesome enough, the weekend of the half marathon coordinated with another Jen Pastiloff workshop.
Vicki, her daughter Bridget, and son Josh decided to come to Atlanta for Jen’s workshop and to cheer me on during the half marathon.
The race was held on March 20, 2016. It was such an incredible experience. While I ran, I carried a picture of Rosie on my back, wore her flower piece in my hair, and a pin she made on my shirt. Vicki had shared that she, Josh, and Bridget would be waiting around Mile 3. As I came around a bend on Mile 1, I saw this GIGANTIC banner that said “65 Roses”. As soon as I saw it, I felt Rosie’s beautiful spirit saying to me, “I am here. I am running with you.” As I approached the sign, I realized it was an organization focused on cystic fibrosis. My mind was blown away.
When I got to Rosie’s family, I shared with them about the huge sign and how I could feel her spirit...that she was there with us. Josh said to me, “I feel her too.” We quickly took some pics, and I ran on.
I had not trained properly for the half, so as I approached Mile 9 I was really starting to feel it. I told Rosie, “My legs are your legs. Help me get up this hill!” At that moment, I looked up and there was a man running right in front of me wearing a “65 Roses” shirt. I smiled and teared up knowing this beautiful girl was with me.
Every step, every breath, every heartbeat, every bead of sweat in those 13.1 miles were for Rosie!
After the race, I sent the family Rosie’s medal. It now hangs with her picture in their home.
As you can imagine, that event deepened my connection with this beautiful family. To me, the most incredible aspect of the family is Vicki. This beautiful mother has faced the loss of children yet remains so beautifully open to life. She not only experienced Rosie’s death but also the loss of her infant daughter, Kelly. Kelly was also a cystic fibrosis warrior who graced this world in a very short amount of time.
Vicki mourns. Her heart bleeds. But she also continues to see beauty in everything...in every moment. And she honors her beautiful girls and family every day.
I do not know the details of what occurred at the end of Rosie’s life. And I do not need to because, you see, it was not her death that defined her. It was how she lived!
"Everything is beautiful, and nothing hurt." ~ Kurt Vonnegut
In February 2017, Vicki reached out to me. Her beautiful daughter, Lindsay, was approaching the end of her brave battle with cystic fibrosis. Vicki knew about my experience with Steven and hospice. She shared with me the challenges her family were facing and asked if there were any insights I could share with her, as she did not have much experience with hospice care. I was so moved that she reached out to me not only because of the trust I felt she placed in me in that difficult time, but mostly because Vicki is one of the most beautiful women I have had the honor of knowing. I share more about this moment with Vicki and what I shared with her on my blog, My Calling.
Early on the morning of March 20, 2017, Lindsay Michelle Bumpus Conde passed away. Her brave battle had ended, and, as her family so beautifully shared, she was “now pain free and soaring high reunited with her sisters Rosie and Kelly.”
“i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)” ~ E.E. Cummings
Interestingly, I awoke very early on March 20th. I have found that when I quickly wake up in the middle of the night there is a reason. I sat pondering on why I was so wide awake and felt I should check Facebook. That is when I learned that Lindsay had passed.
Because of the small role I played for Vicki in her journey with Lindsay, I was led to the full realization of my life’s calling.
To simply say that this family has made an impact on my life feels like such an understatement. I do not fully understand my connection with the Bumpus family nor do I need to question it. I am so grateful for the grace and beauty they continue to show in their daily lives.
When I ran the half marathon on March 20, 2016, no one knew that just a year later Lindsay would leave this world.
Today, March 20, 2018, I honor and remember Rosie and Lindsay.
I Lived by OneRepublic truly captures the heart and soul of both Rosie and Lindsay! Please watch this video and honor those in your life who have made an impact on you. May we also honor all of the cystic fibrosis warriors!!!
And LIVE this day!!!
To learn more about cystic fibrosis or donate in honor of Rosie and Lindsay, click here.
"We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand." ~ Randy Pausch
(Thank you to the Bumpus family for providing beautiful pictures, quotes, and allowing me to share your story!)