Yesterday morning, I got in the car and drove south for about an hour and a half. The sky was soft and hazy. It had snowed overnight and the ground was blanketed in winter. My mind became lost in thought, as I headed to pay my respects and say goodbye to a family friend. He was the father of one of my life-long best friends, and also one of my dad's dear friends of almost thirty-five years. He passed away last week after a sudden illness, and it was just now sinking in. Although we stayed in touch via occasional emails, I hadn't seen him since his daughter's wedding, over five years ago. But the memories that flooded my brain as I drove - from kindergarten through college - were profound. Not necessarily in a serious or sad way - just very strong, as reflections on childhood and young adulthood often are. As soon as I arrived and saw his daughter, I felt immediately overcome. (It sounds dramatic, I know. But there are just certain people in life with whom you have a deep connection regardless of how often you see them, and she is one of them.) Witnessing my dad's sadness over losing his friend evoked strong feelings in me as well. On the drive back home, I thought about what a bittersweet day it had been, where friends and family simultaneously mourned a loss and shared beautiful, hilarious stories of a person who had touched their lives for so long, then suddenly slipped away.
This was the fourth memorial of a dear friend and/or family member in the past nine months for me. Typing that out is weird, because it just seems like so much in such a short period of time. But this is the reality of life and of growing older. I've realized in my thirties just how much time really does speed up, and how much more frequent the goodbyes become. I've also realized that no matter how used to loss you are, or how much of it you have experienced, each time is heartbreaking in its own way.
There's this thing about loss though. It forces you to develop a stronger appreciation for life. It enables you to really acknowledge the preciousness of each morning, day, and night. And most significantly, it teaches you not to take those you love for granted. One of my favorite quotes, by Paulo Coelho, says "life is short; there is no time to leave important words unsaid." I tell my husband, my sister, my parents, my grandmother, my parents-in-law, my nieces and nephew, my cousins, my aunts and uncles, and my friends that I love them every time I talk to or see them. Every time. And I mean it, more and more with each passing day. Loss, as incredibly painful as it may be, has taught me how important this is.
If you haven't yet, make sure to tell your family and friends that you love them today. And take a few minutes to just stop and look around you. Notice all of the little details of your life and of being alive for which you are grateful. I promise you'll be glad you did. Also, thank you for listening to my ramblings. I love it that this is a place for inspiration and pretty pictures and fun clothes and decor and design, but sometimes I just gotta get a little real up in here too.
FILED UNDER: random thoughts/life