Grateful.

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:

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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.

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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.

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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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