Abram Hale Smith

Lili’s brother, aged 18

I was blessed for 15 and one half years to have my heart touched every day by my beloved sister, Lili. She was the reason I smiled, and she was and still is my central source of inspiration. Lili possessed the most powerful and moving personality. One of her beautiful ear-to-ear smiles could cause butterflies in the stomachs of people around her and her gorgeous, bright, blue eyes could make people melt. She indeed was, inside and out, the most beautiful young woman I have ever seen.

When we were younger I used to bug her to her boiling point. In our house, we have two televisions, and one remote would work for both sets. I would sneak upstairs, as she was happily watching Little People Big World, eating a bowl of ice cream, and turn off the television. Then I would run back down stairs laughing. Lili did not think this was funny, nor did she know I was messing with the television. I would repeat this process two or three more times before she came running down stairs and into the living room for a confrontation. Next I would hide in my room and sneak upstairs as she came down to confront me. Thinking no one was home, she returned upstairs both annoyed and confused. Little did she know that I was now under the bed with the remote. I would then proceed to turn the TV on and off even more along with turning the volume up and down. Lili would get up and hit the television and I would respond by fixing whatever it was that I had changed. Once she figured out I was under the bed we would laugh for what seemed an eternity.

Behind my brotherly torture, there was a message I was sending her each and every time. That message was that she was 100% normal, and that was the way I treated her. Never for a second did I let her feel as though she was any different than any other little sister in the world, and she wasn’t.

Lili will be missed dearly by all of us. It is not real, and nearly impossible to accept that I will not be able to run and tackle her as she exits her plane from Iowa to return for Thanksgiving. It is truly heart-breaking. The pain I feel inside as I picture my last moment with her in person is indescribable. It was when I said good-bye to her as she bravely left for boarding school to take on the world at the age of 15. I whispered in her ear “you will succeed because you are an extraordinary person, I love you like crazy, don’t ever forget that.” At least I got to share my passionate love for her one last time.

My extraordinary sister’s accomplishments with the handicaps she was faced with is why she should stand as a source of inspiration to all of us. Her 12 surgeries were nothing but a formality to her because she was that brave. Her fight for equality was something that she expected from herself, because her morals were that strong. Her compassion towards her friends and loved ones is something that has touched every one of us in this room and will never be forgotten.

Lili, you are the reason I am strong. I love you because you are beautiful, morally driven, brave and most of all, because you are my one and only sister. You may have been taken off this earth, but you will live on with me for the rest of my life. I can picture your smile and your bright blue eyes shining down on me as I speak. Rest in peace Lili. You deserve nothing but happiness because, that’s all you have given us. You still light up by world.