“All these signs and the message, ‘See you soon,’ it brings me peace,” says Dr. Dr. Egli Colón Stephens said of her daughter Natalia Harris
A grieving mother is literally seeing signs of her departed daughter’s presence.
Model, actress, and author Natalia Harris had a battle with renal medullary carcinoma and passed away from the illness last May at the age of 24. One year later, Harris’s mother, Dr. Egli Colón Stephens, is finding comfort in her encounters with her daughter’s work.
In March, Dr. Stephens took a trip to Florida from New York. On both her arriving and returning flights, she came face to face with her daughter’s photo for a Delta Air Lines ad.
“All these signs and the message, ‘See you soon,’ it brings me peace. It makes me realize we think we are here for so long and in reality it is just a breath,” Stephens recently told TODAY. “She gives me the strength. I know she is with me through the many signs.”
Harris’s Delta Air Lines ad was one of many high-profile gigs the young model secured during her short life and career, including her appearances in New York Fashion Week, Project Runway season 17, and the cover of Vogue Knitting Magazine. In 2019, “Unbroken: A Mother-Daughter Journey of Resilience, Faith, and Courage”, a book Stephens wrote about her and her daughter’s faith-based journey to navigating life-threatening illnesses was published, of which Harris served as a contributor.
Last week, Dr. Stephens, who has a doctorate in education, shared the heart piercing moment in an Instagram post. “Look who was ready to welcome us again, before boarding the plane to come back home, after our long getaway! Yup!,” Stephens’ caption read. “Her two ads for @delta were on our left and and on our right, embracing us, as we made our way down the corridor to board.”
Harris’s struggle with renal medullary carcinoma wasn’t her first battle. When she was only 12, Harris was diagnosed with cancer and underwent three leg reconstructive surgeries, a titanium prothesis, and 20 rounds of chemotherapy, according to TODAY.
In a profile with the brand Awe Inspired Jewelry for which she modeled, Harris spoke to the strength she derived from her health challenges. “I’m known for having a centipede looking-15′ in. beautiful scar that runs down half of my leg and holds my internal titanium prosthetic limb,” said Harris. “…. my scar is a symbol of strength of when cancer tried to kill me but failed.”
For now, Dr. Stephens says she’s focused on living out her daughter’s legacy.
“I thought I had stopped being a mom (when I lost my only child), but I realized I am always going to be a mom, I am just mothering in another realm,” she told TODAY.
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