Okay, so I’m going to remind myself (as well as any of you who might be reading this) of a few things real fast. Life is unexpected and it is short. I need to be more appreciative and grateful for what I do have. No, I don’t own a big fancy house or car, I don’t get to take vacations, I don’t wear the nicest clothes but you know what? I am alive and that means I get one more day with those who I love. I have healthy children and a beautiful grand baby. Life isn’t perfect by any means but it that’s just it….it never will be. Today, I learned that one of my girlfriends is missing. She just vanished and hasn’t been seen since Monday. She has three babies at home who are going to miss her very much if she does not return. She went to visit her sister and never returned home. I’m pretty sure she got up and planned on having a normal day like any other. I learned that another girlfriend of mine found out she has cancer that has already metastasized to her lungs and her brain stem. She too has babies at home that depend on her for their very existence. She is a devoted mom who gives 110% to being the best she can be. In the past few months I saw two other women learn they had breast cancer and I watch them fight bravely everyday (from afar). Life really isn’t fair and we are not guaranteed a smooth ride or a happy ending so you know what that means? It means we grab life by the horns and we ride that sucker like it’s the last 8 seconds of our life. Do things you want to no matter how much it scares you. Call up an old friend or family member and tell them you are thinking of them. Mend a broken relationship. Forget the ones who hurt you….just let them go. Don’t let something or someone poison your life with negativity. Hug your babies a little bit tighter and soak up their smiles and laughter! Don’t take a minute for granted.
I think it is time we all learn to live without limits. I lived that way at one time. I think we all did at some point in our younger lives. I know I enjoyed doing new things, taking risks, reaching for goals that I knew I may never have even reached, and just breathing. It seemed at that point like life was expendable, so to speak. I felt that I would live forever. I had no fear of new experiences and even if I did I wasn’t about to let them stop me. I think that is the key to living and not just existing. I think it is looking at life through a “I can’t be stopped” lens. I think we have to lose the fear of the unknown and quit worrying about so much. I understand we all have financial struggles, marriage disputes, friendly arguments with family, and even days that we feel that the only thing stopping us from locking our children up in the closet it the local child services. All of this is just bits and pieces to our puzzle of life. Look at it this way if you never experienced pain then would you appreciate pleasure? If you never experienced sadness then you would truly appreciate the happiness in your life? If you were never hurt by anyone in your life then would you appreciate the person who walks into your life and treats you with respect, generosity, and love? No, you really wouldn’t and eventually they would get tired of being taken for granted.
I lost my brother to cancer when he was only 23 years old and I was only 15. On that day my world crumbled into a million tiny pieces. However, over the years, I remembered his life. I remembered that when he was given a death sentence he decided to live out his last days doing everything he loved. Those memories are what saved me and pushed me to live on the edge regardless of what other people thought of me. However, age slowed me down and it began to invade my happy thoughts. The sadness I began to see in the world consumed me. I began to lose more and more family members and friends. I began to worry so much about dying that I quit living. I have existed in this shell and I have nearly lost what it means to thrive. I think we get wake up calls and it jars us back to the reality that we are not here forever. We tend to appreciate things more and live a little bit louder but slowly as days go by we sink back into the dim morbidity of our futures. I think we just have to realize we are human and as with all life cycles ours will undoubtedly come to an end. However, it isn’t B (birth) to D (death) that matters but what is in between. It’s the C (chances) that we are given to have friends and family. It’s the chances for new experiences and tons of happy memories that will live on long after we are gone. Your legacy, my legacy, that is what life is about. It’s about living on through the memories we make, through the lives of our children, and our friends.
Please, think about Heather (who is missing and may never see her children again) tonight as you lay down. Think about the other ladies I have mentioned, who do not know if they will see their children grown or their grandchildren. Think about what you would do if you were given a death sentence. Live the rest of your days as if they were your very last ones and I promise you that you will not regret it.
To you ladies who are fighting for your lives (you know who you are), I love you all. Y’all inspire me to be a better, stronger, more giving person and you teach me every single day how important it is to live and not just exist.