Tomorrow, August 14, will be make it ten years since my youngest sister, Amanda, was taken too soon from this earth. She was my sister and my best friend. The one with whom I shared childhood memories and future goals and hopes. The person I miss the most in this world and will keep in my heart every day. This week another close member of my family was lost, unlike Amanda, my husband’s grandpa Harold lived a long and full life. Their losses, one unexpected and one prepared for, are both felt as severely in the hearts of those who will miss them each day. Our solace can be found in their memories. In the knowledge of their love. In the memory of how they lived their lives.
My sister “led by example” as many of her friends and family could tell you. Some still wear the green bracelet, made up after her death, that reads “Lead by Example.” They don’t need this bracelet to remind them though, and I see them living it too. She was a beautiful person inside and out. Just as I wish for my daughter. One of my greatest regrets in life will be that my daughter didn’t know my sister, but I hope to teach her to live like Amanda did. To be good inside and out and to always encourage it in the way that she’ll live.
Grief comes differently for everyone. Some are lucky to experience it very little during life or at least without tragedy. Some of us learn about death early on through small events, like the loss of a cat or dog. Each loss, every time, impacts our hearts in different ways. No one’s pain is ever the same and should be treated as such.
My sister was and is loved by many. I gain comfort when I am with others who knew her. I am saddened and comforted when I hear a sad song on the radio that reminds me of her. She knew me better than anyone and she would tell me what was up better than anyone. I know without a doubt, that she would still be my best friend to this day, if she hadn’t been physically taken from me years ago. To think of her today, that she would have been thirty years old, I wonder what else she would have been. I think about if she’d have been married, had kids, would we live close by? I think we would have … ❤ I can’t imagine us having been far apart, if fate hadn’t decided that destiny for us.
She was more of a big sister at times. Never as carefree as myself. More serious … more studious, but I often think of how our relationship was balanced and equal.
When I live my life, I think about how lucky I am to do so. How much she would want me to do, because she’d not have wasted her time. She never did. Neither did Harold. They both looked at the beauty of life and the nature around them. They both loved their family and friends. Such simple things to say about someone, but such a powerful and fulfilling way to live. It’s something to remember. To think about. Don’t take your life for granted. Be grateful for each day. Be appreciative of every breath, every moment with a loved one, every laugh, each sunset, rainbow, glass of wine, dinner with a friend … you never know when that hug goodbye will be your last, so let those around you feel your love. I learned that from the loss of my sister. I learned that loss is indeed a very real part of life. I learned that talking to someone is really the only way to live on. Accepting what is, is truly the only way to continue living fully.
Amanda would want each day to be lived to its utmost possibilities. She wouldn’t want me to look back on the past with regret, but to move forward with intent, and so I do.
I feel very certain that there are few things Harold regretted in the end. He had a 60 plus year marriage with a sweet and understanding woman, three great children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. His eyes sparkled up whenever he saw his family. I feel that his love was so very real and full for his family and I’m lucky to have felt it.
I want to live that way with Justin and Lydia. I can only endeavor to be as lucky as Harold, but I must also remember that life can be short. So I live each day with love. I cannot be angry at what I cannot change. I can only hope to teach Lydia live the same, by leading by example.