This courageous woman lived… lived each day with ferocity, devotion, vitality, hopefulness, inspiration, and joyfulness for everything that was in her life, even the years of complicated and intensive treatments. She turned each one into a gift, a learning moment, a reflection of the value and intensity of life. To the very end, there was joy, singing, laughter, and love.
Unfortunately this was actually the second such unfathomable death this year. In early winter, another dear friend - a young mother of a 5 year old son - died after a long battle with cancer. Annie was a constant beam of Light and Love with the biggest smile you could ever imagine and an infectious energy of joy and peace.
As a mother of 3 boys, my heart rips wide open to these young sons. It boggles my mind what they’ve already been through… even before beginning first grade. What will their life be like without their mother? How will this carry them forward? Blessed for the time they had… gifts of presence and such deep immeasurable Momma love. They are their continuation.
Death is a strange thing. I don’t quite understand it. There’s such a hole in space and time that remains after the beloved passes, a gap waiting to be filled, a curious question mark as you wait their arrival yet again. And in the meantime, life all around continues and moves on, as if not much has changed. It is very strange indeed.
All of this causes me to pause and look deeper, thinking of my own inevitable passing. What’s it going to be like for me? How will I be remembered? What have I done to leave a good mark? How have I touched others' lives, enough for them to carry me along with them for the rest of their lives?
I’m not sharing any of this to be bleak or to extend the loss. I think it’s really important, though, to investigate the meaning and value of our lives as they're happening, to not wait until a dear one passes or tragedy strikes in another way. Each day is a gift, another opportunity to create with purpose and intention. Life gets busy and it can be easy to forget this as we’re task mastering... but what’s the purpose behind it all? Why, exactly, are we rushing from one thing to another?
Death is an important part of life and one that we’ll all experience. How can we use that for fuel to live each day with vitality and presence, to touch in our hearts what’s really important, and to show up valuing each and every moment?
One of the daily practices I have is morning reflection - how do I want to show up today, what qualities of character do I want to nourish, how can I stay clear and balanced to meet my moments with heart-filled presence? This helps me set the stage for the day. I inevitably forget along the way, though, especially as some days take on a life of their own. It’s all a practice.
And at the end of each day, a reflection on how I showed up, how I can up-spiral tomorrow, bringing kindness and self-compassion to my heart knowing I did my best, even if the circumstances were cruddy and I wasn’t my optimal self.
The invitation then is to take in the importance of who and how you are, to know that you make a significant difference in this world, that you matter deeply, and that you have immense love and wonder to bring to those around you - both the know and unknown.
It’s the texture and quality of our lives that matter, not just in the end, but in each step in the middle. Many blessings to you.
Peace and Love to you,