Ode to A Life

You all know that I signed with Anvil Publishing for a new book entitled The Year I Left. As the title implies, this is a story about a woman’s struggle to choose between herself and the people she loves.

Death has affected me more than once. The most impactful loss was that of my mother seven years ago. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine a life, a world, without her. She was everyone’s ally, the life of the party, confident, secure, fun loving. Even when she fell ill, I thought she would fight with death, give it a run for its money. I never thought that death would win. Her zest for life was so strong, I thought she would overcome every threat that came along.

What happened to my mother shook me to the core.

Here’s the thing. The gravity of such a loss doesn’t really manifest itself immediately. I immersed myself in a huge project at work, thinking that if I traveled enough and kept myself busy enough, things would go back to normal.

It took months for my grief to show itself in ways that took over my life. I wanted to live. I wanted to start over. I filled my heart with regret and sadness and clamored to find what I thought I was missing. Whatever it was I’d given up by raising three children at a young age, I wanted to recoup, re-visit, re-capture. And for two years, I was stuck in a cycle of losing myself in….well, a person, people, things.

To finally admit my grief, to mourn my mother and address the issues facing me was the only way I was able to lift myself out of this funk and get my life back on track again.

Last week’s horrific tragedy in Las Vegas reminds me that life is truly vulnerable.

That we are all living on borrowed time.

Everything I am, all that I have, is fleeting and temporary. This life, this job, these people – they can all disappear in the blink of an eye.

So I have to ask: before I die, what can I do to truly live?

It takes a bit of selfishness to live the life you want. To take care of your needs, feed your heart with your personal hopes and dreams, love the person you want to, cry over the things you hold dear. You need to give yourself the time to cultivate your heart.  Allow it to choose who to love (even if just for two years), what to want.

I can honestly say that no matter how difficult life’s lessons have been, I don’t regret a thing.

The moments that define us are usually the saddest times of our lives, the actions we’re not very proud of, the people who have hurt us, the people who have made us whole. But to have these experiences, we need to be willing to close our eyes and put ourselves out there. Realize that there’s a life to be lived and we should be right in the middle of it. Let’s not waste time trying to figure out what others will think, what others might say.

We all deserve to have a great love story.

We sure as hell know how to write it.

Now, if only we could live it.