My fiancée and C.J. were two of Erica’s best and closest friends, and it felt like fate that they were able to spend time together and speak to Erica one last time on the day before she passed peacefully in her sleep. Even though we always knew this day would come tragically sooner rather than later, the reality of losing someone close to you at a young age is hard to prepare for.
We get better at coping over time, but some days are better than others. I’m glad that Erica is at peace, that she went with dignity in her sleep, and that she is truly in a better place now, free from the burden of her fragile body.
When I was in college, a friend of mine died at age 25 from leukemia. I still have his contact info on my phone and his birthday on my digital calendar. I reflect on the feelings I remember from back then when I’m offering support to my partner and to C.J., but grief is not something that ever truly goes away.
It’s not always going to be easy. There may always be a tinge of survivor’s guilt for those who didn’t roll snake eyes in the genetic lottery, but beating yourself up over being able to take another breath isn’t worth more grief. Instead, we have to treasure life and treat life with the reverence it deserves.
As this past year has starkly shown us, loved ones can be here one minute and gone the next. The best thing you can do is live freely, with love in your heart, doing everything you can to keep the flame of their memories alive. To do that is to take care of yourself and make the most of each and every day. Life is beautiful. Life is sacred. Life is a gift. Live yours to the fullest, always.
Once we are all vaccinated and safe from spreading COVID-19, I imagine this decade of the 2020s will roar with ferocity. Let’s get there together, as many of us as possible, safely and healthily. Once we get there, we will live it up. But we must always carry the spirit and memory of those we’ve lost with us, so that they may live on in our hearts and minds for as long as can muster.
After everything we’ve endured this past year, from one March to another, we’ve found renewed appreciation for so much that we take for granted. How will you spend the rest of your life, your post-pandemic life? For the first time in a long, long time, there’s a real tangibility to pondering post-pandemic life. I will be pondering it for many days to come, and I encourage you to, too.
Till next time,