Earlier this year, I along with many others — including a mother, a husband, sister, brother, son and countless friends, were faced with a terrible tragedy and the loss of a loved one to cancer.
I had never lost someone so close to me before. I wasn’t sure how to feel.
I was filled with a roller coaster of emotions, my stomach literally in knots as if I was on the way down. Sadness. Fear. Heartbreak. Hopelessness. And worst of all regret.
I couldn’t help but think of all of the times we passed up on making plans until “next time” because things didn’t work out. Or that I struggled to remember those amazing memories we had together that used to be so vivid. Why couldn’t I remember them? How I wish those memories were clear again. And why didn’t we make a point to call or text more? Over and over again waves of regret streamed over me and moments in time when I knew I should have called replayed in my mind. All I wished for was one more phone call.
And it was hard to see anything good or positive in the world. It seemed as though other tragedies stood out and that’s all I could see. I felt that the world was cruel and unjust and it filled me with sadness.
But I also started to, eventually, feel at ease that she was free from her suffering. My memories of her came back and I would smile instead of cry. My friends and I grew stronger and vowed never to take a moment in this short life for granted. I swore to myself I would not let opportunities to travel with my girlfriends pass me by without serious consideration. To make more time in my day for phone calls and texts. I realized that memories are the most important thing in life. More important than fame, fortune or materialistic possessions.
I think about living this way every single day. To not let an opportunity to make memories with my friends and family pass me by. And I know that’s what she would have done. She lived her life to the fullest and never passed on an opportunity to travel. She was passionate, easy going, smart and funny. And I’ll think about her everyday and remember to not take things so seriously. To work hard and play hard. To live life to the fullest. To remember all the good times and don’t stress over the little things. And most importantly, never pass on an opportunity to be kind and loving to others and cherish every single memory we create.