I took my girls to see the opening of Justin Baldoni’s Five Feet Apart. The terminal teen romance drama, likened to Fault in Our Stars, shares the story of hospitalized teens living with Cystic Fibrosis. Stella (Haley Lu Richardson) and Will (Cole Sprouse) are restricted in their romance by the disease that has taken so much from them. While the movie made me cry–let’s face it, I am their target audience–sappy love stories will always make me cry, this movie does what this movie intends to do, make teen girls (and their mothers) feel sad.
The best part of this movie is that it is dedicated to Claire.
Claire Wineland, a You Tuber, activist, motivational speaker and Cystic Fibrosis patient, was the muse for Baldoni’s Stella. Claire, who succumbed to the disease at age 21. Baldoni, who has a documentary series entitled My Last Days, featured Wineland when she was 18. Her positive outlook and zest for life: infectious. She approached living as only the dying can, fully engaged in the days she was given. ” Death is not a scary thing–living a life without a passion is the scary thing,” she would say. She was the living declaration of it is not the years in your life, but the life in your years.
Going into the weekend, I wanted to share the beautiful message of life that Claire offered in her short time. I need to hear these words. I want to own them and live them. I hope they bless you, motivate you and that we all strive toward lives we can be proud of, no matter their length.
“I’m not stuck in this belief that challenges are given to us to hold us back. I am lifted up by the belief that challenges are here to help us move forwards–and that is the difference. That is the only difference between people who are living a passionate, proud life and people who feel sad or people who get older and feel like they don’t know what they’re doing anymore.”