Mark Gonzales and his daughter, Abbey, took a drive Sunday and decided to visit the grave of Amanda. It was the two-year anniversary of her death.
Get ready, they told Amanda, who turned 18 two days before she died and loved kids so much she was considered the neighborhood babysitter. Delaney is on her way.
Delaney Wadsworth, the 3-year-old rural Severance girl whose public battle with brain cancer touched thousands of lives, died that night. She passed peacefully, surrounded by more than 20 family and friends. Jason, her father, heard her last breath move through her lips in the arms of her mother, Brenna.
"That's what we were praying for," Jason said Monday. "It was really painful to watch her these last few days. The look of devastation on her face the day she couldn't walk was really hard to take. Now all I think about is how happy she is right now. She's doing what she wants to do."
Doctors diagnosed Delaney with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, the same rare brain tumor that Amanda had, a cancer that attacks the brain stem and is considered just about 100 percent fatal.
In September the Wadsworth and Gonzales families were introduced over dinner and became close friends. Mark and Debbie, Amanda's mother, were with Abbey when Delaney died Sunday at her home. Their belief that Amanda was waiting for Delaney was a source of comfort to the Wadsworths.
The Wadsworths made Delaney's fight public, especially over Facebook (where her page had 31,000 followers as of Monday afternoon), because the disease is so devastating, that support, more than any medical treatments, was the best way to fight it, Brenna said.
"It's the only way we knew how to fight it," she said.
Plus Delaney was a "hambone," Brenna said, who loved attention and loved people.
"It really seemed like the right thing to do," she said. "She would want everyone to know about her."
They felt a mixture of relief and sadness Monday as they told stories about her and watched videos of her. They were glad she's free, as the cancer prevented her from walking, talking and sleeping comfortably the last couple of weeks, and yet they still didn't want to let her go.
They laughed at memories of her goofy sayings and love for watching professional wrestling, and they cried moments later. But they were comforted by the outpouring of support just a few hours after her death. Residents from all over northern Colorado flooded Marks Funeral and Cremation Service with flowers, and there's already too many for the funeral. In the last few days, the number of Facebook followers jumped by the thousands. And just the other day, in one of Delaney's last trips out of the house, people swarmed over them at the new King Soopers.
They knew their little girl was full of love.
"But it's just so nice," Jason said, "to know that there's so much love in the world."