I've been in the car for two and a half hours with plenty of time to think, but no hands to write. This is verbal vomit of my thoughts, not neccesarily in any order or sense.
Yesterday I attended a celebration of life for a young woman who departed this earth too soon. I knew her, but not well. After attending the memorial service and hearing about her vibrant and full life I've turned inward to look at my own life. Memorial services have a way of forcing you to look at your life from an angle not often experienced, and sometimes you might not like what you see.
She was the younger sister of one of my most favoritesmartguys, and the sister-in-law of one of my known for my whole life sistergirlfriends. This loss was a huge blow to them, unexpected and tragic. When I heard the news I gasped outloud, and though it was mid morning and I'd already been out for a run, I got back in bed because I was so immediately sad nothing else seemed worth doing. Just over a year ago sistergirlfriend lost her dad, they are still learning how to navigate life without him so this feels like the biggest fuckyou possible.
The bright star that burnt out taught me some lessons yesterday, ones I'll continue to think about for days to come. I didn't know her that well, but always thought of her like a rare bird; something rare and unique with beautiful feathers. I was a little intimidated by her honestly. She was a free spirit. She was loud, and tattooed and everyone was drawn to her. She had fabulous hair, and a beautiful smile, and while I could never pull it off I loved her style. She was just 29 years old yet wise beyond her years.
She danced to the beat of her own drum. When her dad asked her why she liked living in Ecuador she answered by saying because the people there are happy with enough. If they have enough food to eat, a roof over their heads, a bed to sleep in and friends and family that love them, it is enough. When she would come back to the States everyone was chasing something bigger and better and nothing was ever enough. So she chose to live where life was more simple. She did what was right for her. What a smart girl.
She lived every day as though it was her last, savoring moments with loved ones and friends. She told her mom "you can sleep when you're dead" as she was dragging her out of the house for an adventure.
Circling back to myself for a minute... I got home from the service last night and sat and cried. Am I living my life to the fullest? If I die tomorrow will I regret not having lived every day like it was my last? Should I be out and about and experiencing everything I can as often as I can? Am I living my life the right way? I was perplexed. I fell asleep last night with many questions in my head. I woke up this morning with those same questions, and remembered something else her family had said. She lived the life that was right for her. Not the life someone else thought she should have, not the life society thought she should have, but the one she thought she should have. That provided some solace and direction. So I'm trying to figure out the right balance of living life to the fullest but in the way that is right for me. Her way of life was different than mine, but I learned from her to think about how I want to live and be remembered. I might just go out and get that new tattoo I've been thinking about... and paint my nails red.
She was a bright fiery star that brought light and warmth to everyone around her. I know her family and friends will miss her immensely.
There was much more I wanted to say, but the deep thoughts generated by driving through the night alone with Ray LaMontagne and James Taylor are now eluding me.
To sistergirlfriend and favoritesmartguy... I love you guys dearly. My heart hurts for you and I wish I could absorb some of the pain for you. I know you know... but you are always in my thoughts and only a phone call, a text or a shortish car ride away. If all else fails, try some chicken and mac&cheese. XOXOXOXO.
Please, hug the ones you love. Call those too far away to hug. Tell the people you love that you love them.