A Celebration of Life and Love

I sit here a little anxious, knowing I have so much work to do. But every time I go to start my homework, I get distracted by my thoughts. In the least cliché way possible, I need to get this thought out, just share it so it’s not sitting here clouding my head while I try to work. Life is so precious–so so precious. These past couple of years, more than ever, have taught me that. I’ve seen a perfectly strong and healthy former classmate and teammate fight off an extremely serious lung infection due to MRSA. A few years ago, I witnessed another former teammate lose her battle with cancer in the prime of her life. And now I’ve seen my beautiful, kind, and loving second cousin pass on suddenly due to cancer at such a young age, leaving behind two daughters and countless loving family and friends.

My cousin Nancy who, up until a few years ago, I never met, was my friend. I met her at a family reunion right before I was starting my first year of college. I told her I was going to Ramapo and she was so excited–she lived only a few short minutes away over in Franklin Lakes. I got her number and she insisted that I call and come by to visit so she could cook me dinner and I could hang out with her and her family–her husband and two daughters Kayla and Emily. One minute, she knows me only as Louis’ daughter. The next, she’s inviting me into her home for dinner. That’s just Nancy, always warm, friendly, open, and welcoming. I spent many a night in that home during college, always so thankful for a nice, home-cooked meal. Nancy was an amazing mother. Kayla and Emily were the sweetest, most well-behaved and intelligent young girls I had ever seen. Now, they are young women who have lost a mother way too soon.

I regret so much the fact that I lost touch with Nancy after I graduated. I regret that I was too scared to call her when I found out she had cancer last year, not wanting to bother her during such a vulnerable time. I regret that I wasn’t able to visit her before she passed away. I want her to know that she has been in my thoughts every single day since I found out that she had cancer. She will surely be missed by everyone who has ever been blessed by her presence.

So I leave off with this thought before I sign off and get back to the reality that is homework. Don’t ever take life for granted. I know how lucky I am but I also know how quickly everything can slip away. Cherish each moment that you spend with the ones you love and remember how lucky you are that they are in your life. Appreciate everyone you love every minute of the day.

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