And so it is that things come to an end.
Just as my heart was lifted by a story nearly two years ago, so does it break a little to know it is over.
If you’ve been here reading a while, you might remember that once I wrote a post called “Minivans, Mammaries and Muffintops” about a group of amazing women who were pulling together to support a close friend who had been diagnosed with breast cancer. The diagnosis is not unique, but somehow their story was. They rallied, they raised funds and they loved in such a beautiful, crazy way. Their story moved me then, and it moves me now.
Well, that mama held her children for the last time this weekend. That mama felt the love of family and friends for the last time. And that mama’s time came to an end.
I felt stricken by the news, although we all know there is no cure, don’t we? And yet, as I read through the posts on her Facebook support group, I felt lucky to have heard her story. I read what she meant to those who shared her life, and it makes me smile through tears. I love to read of how deeply loved she was, but also that she was warm, kind, vibrant, spirited, strong and funny as hell.
Isn’t that how we’d all like to be remembered?
Last night all I could think was how sad it was that it had all come to an end, but the reality is that the waiting can be both painful and paralyzing. There isn’t anything you can do but wait with someone, hold hands, and try to stop time. But life doesn’t stop, does it? So here is what I wish, for her family and friends. I wish for rest to come in the quiet hours, that they may face the mornings with brave hearts. I wish for the memories to strike them clear as the chime of a bell, so they may celebrate her. I wish that they will feel the relief of finally being able to do something, that even if moving forward is terribly sad, there is air and life and breath in being able to move. I wish for life to give time to those who want to come together to celebrate her, to reach out to her family and to her children.
And I wish for us all to remember that while we worry about work, about our kids’ messy rooms, about making sure we’re serving up the veggies – there may be someone out there who is being told “I’m sorry. There isn’t much we can do. You should be prepared.”
At 38, nearly the age of this woman who already lived her last day, I wonder – have these 38 years been what they should have been? What they could have been? If I have forty more years, what would I do? If have four, what would I change? What would I do with my time, if I were sharply reminded of how precious it is?
Live life gracefully. Love others deeply. Open your life to the people you can’t imagine being without. Chase the good dreams. Fill your days with work and people and things that make your heart happy.
Today, I shall hug my kids closely, and consider the days, weeks, years I’ve been given. I will give careful thought to the years that may lie ahead. I will reach for grace.
Are you living your life waiting for something? How many years do you think have gone by that could have been lived more fully?
Is there anything you would change if you knew you held so few years in your hand?