I was thinking of a title for this post, and the only word that seemed appropriate was Grateful. Even that seems inadequate, because I am so much more than grateful to have had these women in my lives. I am overjoyed.

I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about the people in life that I have lost.  I have my rough days, like everyone, but I am fortunate that they are few and far between.  On the days where I lay in bed thinking about what could have been if those people hadn’t died, I have to stop myself and think about what I’ve learned from losing them. Bottom line- I would not be the woman I am today without losing my mom, my aunt, and my friend. Those three deaths, though years apart, have touched me the most. I frequently go back and think about all three of these women individually and grieve the fact that they are no longer in my life. But them I remember that they are. They’re always there:

My friend, Marissa- I see her on the sunny days, the rays bouncing off of the trees. I see her in every stranger walking down the street, wondering if maybe, possibly, that person was one of 6 recipients of her amazing gift of life.  I’m reminded of her whenever I have a day where I want to do nothing but lay in bed, thinking that there’s no way of knowing if it’s my last.  I can’t help but think of her when I think of my mom, knowing that my mom ran to the front of the crowd of people who were there to greet her on her first day in heaven.

My aunt, Janet- I see her whenever I see a family posing for a picture, remembering how we couldn’t go anywhere without taking at least 10 of our own.  I see her when I see a mother holding the hands of her young children in the parking lot, protecting them from any possible danger.  I see her in every beautiful church I pass, knowing that even in heaven, she’s catching every possible service.

My mom, Nancy- I see her whenever I’m at work, nannying the happiest little boy in the world, remembering how fantastic my own mother was despite being sick for the majority of my life. I see her every time I see a family playing together outside, and I remember the silly games she had my siblings and I play in the yard, because the TV was off limits. I see her when I’m at the gym, watching the woman who is currently going through chemo running on the treadmill. I see her in my younger sister, breathtakingly beautiful with a heart so large it’s a wonder it doesn’t burst from her chest with every breath she takes. I see her in my dad, when I call him asking for dating advice and despite his every fatherly instinct, tries to give me the advice my mother would have given.  I see her in my neighbor, a woman who came into my life just a year after my own mother passed, such a devoted mother and friend who I know has a piece of my mother’s soul within her.  I see her in my best friends and roommates, Lauren, Mackenzie, Claire, Roza, and Yuliya, who all take care of each other as if we are family. I see her in my brother, with the goofiest sense of humor, lighting up every room he walks into.  But most of all I see her in myself.  I see so much of her personality in me, both the good and the bad. And I wouldn’t change a thing.

I am so fortunate to have gotten to know these amazing women. I wouldn’t change the time I’ve spent with them, however short, for the world.


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