My friend died last week. She was 28… hysterical, determined and I loved her. The emotions come in waves. Between the kids and a full time job though, there is limited time to grieve and I don’t know if that’s such a bad thing. There are moments when I think of something she did or said and I become so overwhelmed by emotion that I can’t breath, but these same memories bring me such a sense of joy that I can’t help but smile. What made Shannon so amazing was her absolute love of life. Even in the face of death from her three year fight with brain cancer, she was quoted as saying, “It only hurts so bad because we have it so good.”
And that’s what I’m left with. This overwhelming feeling of gratitude for all that I have and an understanding that life is always a combination of good and bad moments. I think too often we focus our attention on obtaining some ultimate happiness, some moment in time when everything will be perfect, but that’s not life. As cliche as it may sound, “life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans.” When Shannon’s cancer returned this past September, I was in the midst of motherhood, raising my then 5 month old daughter and 3 year old son. My friend Whitney was in the midst of planning her wedding, of which I am a bridesmaid and Shannon would have been maid of honor. As things were progressively getting worse for Shannon, Whitney and I spoke one night and she questioned how life could be so good for us while also so bad. My response…that is life.
Life is all of the little moments that bring you joy and sadness and happiness and laughter. This realization and belief has made me so unbelievably grateful to have my healthy, beautiful children. I find myself enjoying our every day tasks, like brushing teeth and taking a bath or getting Don’s hair cut…and don’t even get me started on the park! Being a part of Shannon’s last few months, as painful as it has been, has taught me a great deal. To enjoy each day and fill it with purpose, to let those I love know how deep I care about them, and to have compassion for others because you can never truly know what someone else is going through.
I miss Shannon terribly, but I am so much the better for having known her.