A friend of mine died last week.
A Facebook friend…no, we never met in person.
Honestly, we were close for quite some time, I helped her through a tough time, she helped me run my Facebook group. And then we just kept tabs through our newsfeed.
And yet, her passing affected me…and many others deeply.
Our loose and yet connected group sent messages “did you hear? She’s gone” and we mourned together…yet separately.
I was angry.
It was fucking unfair and I was pissed. She was younger than me, she was beautiful, she had this light. She’d struggled for years, she had a child young and he had grown into a man, she had finally met the love of her life and was posting pictures of her grand adventures. She got to travel and shared her amazement and awe at each new place.
And then she shared that she had cancer and that she was going to beat it with her love by her side.
And then, last week, he let us know that she had gone.
Talk about fucking unfair. If ever there was a person who deserved to live her life to the fullest and to grow old with her man, it was her.
I sit here with tears rolling down my face, finally allowing the grief that I’ve managed to keep at bay. Allowing the tears that had been hiding below the anger all along, I repeat the vow I spoke to myself when I woke this morning.
“I will live because she died”
I won’t live FOR her, I will live BECAUSE of her.
Because I have the opportunity to grow old with the man I love…at least for a few years more.
Because she showed me what was possible…
Because she shared her journey selflessly and with joy
Because she was denied the privilege of growing old, I now recognize what aging is; an opportunity to live more, love more…and give more
I will speak her name. Duana…and I will live because of her…and because of my other friends who were taken too soon, Rhonda and Lori…Theresa…and so many others.
All of these women could have done so much more, and would have, given the opportunity.
I will not waste another breath doing anything less than appreciating them and the lessons they have taught me.
And I will most definitely live, love and give in their honor.