Tragic Start to A New Year

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I thought I’d hit the ground running towards the possibilities of a fresh new 2015. Then I got stopped in my tracks – or more like knocked out – with some tragic news.

A very dear friend tragically passed away this week. It’s an unimaginable loss for her family, husband and three young children. She was only 45. I also lost my best friend last year suddenly and, without warning.   Life can be cruel that way and death can often come with no explanation at all.

This week has been about coming together as a community to love, support and honor my girlfriend’s family. Family is what I have been thinking about every minute of this week. What does is mean? How valuable is it, how often do we take our home base for granted, and what defines our families?

Many questions have been raised this week. Fear is front-and-center; sadness fills my heart, and uncertainty about the future for my dear friend’s family. I write this blog with sensitive discretion, because I don’t feel that it is my story to tell, but the lessons are mine to share.

In an instant life can take a crazy turn. People come and go in our lives, but sometimes for some God known reason they leave too soon. My focus is how we are living while we are here, how we are loving those that are closest to us and how we are making each day matter? Life is precious, blah blah blah…. I’m not going to say all the cliché stuff, but losing another friend made me stop and get a grip this week and stop pouring energy into all of life’s BS that doesn’t really matter.

Sadly as a society, it takes someone else’s tragedy to turn on the light bulb in some personal dark corners. For instance, my teenager, who I struggle with daily for a million reasons, clung to me and we connected in love like we haven’t for many years. I know it was her fear of losing me and her painful compassion for her friend of a similar age who just lost her mother. Rain stopped me at home yesterday, out of the blue, she hugged me tight and said, “I’m so lucky to have you, Mom.” I said, “I’m lucky to have you.” And we squeezed each other tight. My heart was aching thinking about every girl who couldn’t have that moment with her own mom.

Losing my dear friend has not made me ponder on death but rather think deeply about life. This woman could have taught all of us a thing or two about love. She has left me with the impression that love is the only thing that really matters in the end. She loved deeply and completely and for that I know she had a full life, a lucky one, too. I’ve asked myself all week, how I am living? How I am loving the ones that matter most to me? Am I lucky enough to find love in my daily moves? It’s a choice really. Not a path that most people choose, but what if we did? What if we saw the good in most everything? What if we knew that every challenge was an opportunity to grow? What if we treated unkind people with more kindness, God knows they need it most. You never know what someone may be going through; a simple act of kindness can turn someone’s whole day around. My girlfriend used to do that all the time. Even when I bitched about my relationship she would always say….”Just give him more love.” What if we gave all the things we wish to receive?

Kellie always had a smile on her face and that’s what I remember most about her – So big sometimes she drove me nuts….but what I learned from her is to meet each day with love and kindness….I’ll never know how she did that, but she did. She was evergreen…..truly.

I know that it’s not how long we live, but how we are living.

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