Hundreds gather to celebrate life of tori campbell local news heraldextra.com gaston y la agrupacion santa fe

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The family had known for many months that it was going to happen; still, Tori’s passing on Sept. 7 was devastating. But they said having that advance notice that Tori wasn’t going to recover not only dulled the pain when it happened, but it provided many positive opportunities that would have been missed with a sudden death.

"For me it was a very sterile, calculated decision," Aaron said. "It was a day that I was really overwhelmed with personal finances, with doctors visits… everything was just kind of building up and I just thought, there’s no good reason this should last longer than it needs to."

Aaron and Emily asked people to stop praying for Tori to get better, and instead to pray for her to have a peaceful and painless transition. They chose not to install a feeding tube, provide IV fluids or take other extraordinary measures that could have kept her alive longer.

Instead they chose to help her enjoy the rest of her time on Earth, and when the pain became too much they medicated to make her comfortable. Coming to terms with the fact that Tori was going to die freed the Campbells to try and enjoy every last moment they had with her, and to help her accomplish everything she could with her remaining time.

The family has taken a complex journey during the past year — learning, confirming and reshaping what they know about themselves, their family, their faith and life and death. Through it all, they chose not to shrink away from the world around them, but to share their story with those around them in the hope that it may help others.

Emily said she cherishes the time she got to spend with Tori while she was at home. She is grateful for how many times she got to hear Tori tell her she loves her. She is grateful for how her knowledge and understanding of her other children has grown.

"If I’d understood that life was frail and you only live once, I would have made better choices and I probably would have done a few things differently," Aaron said. He said he hoped that people who knew Tori will take stock of what is truly important in their lives and take full advantage of the time they have.

Tori’s decline during the past two years forced Aaron to refine the meaning he takes away from his faith, he said. For him, it was all about Christ’s resurrection and the understanding that he will get to see his daughter again one day. All of the extraneous bits fell away.

"As simple as it is, when we die we get to see each other again. I don’t know the details… I don’t know what it is, I don’t even know what it means," Aaron said. "For me it is that we will be able to embrace and go on another daddy-daughter date. That’s it."

"We wanted to maximize Tori’s potential," Aaron said, recalling his hopes and dreams for his daughter. "We thought that would be done by going to get a degree in something and being a wonderful mother and serving people. … We thought that she’d have another 60 or 70 years to benefit the lives of the people around her."

Tori won’t have a full lifetime to change the world, but the Campbells said they know that their daughter had an impact on the lives of those who knew her. And maybe, if people carry on her memory, they can spread the love, kindness and generosity that defined her.