My cousin died. But please don’t express your sympathies to me, I hadn’t seen her in years and years. I’m still sad. But I’m more sad for her immediate family because they have to go through IT. Through the loss and the change of definition of what daily life entails. Through all that stuff that really, really sucks.
The reason that it is relevant to me is that it is a life lesson. You see, I was supposed to go to visit last month. My cousin (her daughter) is the one that I know the best and she was in Orlando visiting her mom and other family. I had planned for months to go but when the time came, I flaked. That’s not an entirely true. I had a reason. I’ve been having issues with my back that have been getting worse and worse. (That’s one of the reasons that I haven’t blogged much, I’ve been preoccupied with my pain. As the only one who has ever experienced pain, I’m sure you are in awe of my strength in typing now, haha.) Anyway, I had an MRI and have an upcoming neurosurgery appointment to look forward to. I also started to become keenly aware of what would aggravate my back. Those things include being in the car too long, sitting too long, standing too long, doing anything too long, resting too little, resting too long. But, especially the car. So after postponing and postponing, I ended up not going. Susan was very understanding and reassured me that they would most likely visit Orlando every year since her mom lives there now. I took comfort in that and told myself, next year for sure. Well, the day after Susan and family headed home, she passed.
There are many things to take from that. There is the obvious sadness that my cousins are feeling now. It makes my heart hurt so much for them. There is the sadness that I feel at not seeing her one last time. (But, again, I don’t want anyone to give me any sympathy. Save it for them.) There is the reminder of a feeling that I don’t need reminding of; the feeling of what it feels like to lose someone suddenly. And there is the lesson. An important lesson.
Don’t take a moment for granted.
Don’t put off until tomorrow, what you could do today. (Unless it’s housework, of course. This really applies to people and experiences. But, then again, you don’t want to be caught with a messy house so take it how you want.)
Basically, carpe diem.
You really never know when your last moment is that last moment. I know that my cousin is so grateful for that last Orlando trip. But I also know that she stills wants more. I will always regret not going. I will regret not making the sacrifice of the pain that I would have been in the next day so I could have recconected with her and all my cousins, so I could have met my baby cousin and been part of her first birthday celebration, so I could have watched my kids play with their cousins. So I could have had all those memories.
My regrets are nothing compared to what my cousin’s immediate family is going through and I keep saying that because I don’t want anyone to think that I don’t realize that. But, I do take a lesson from it and maybe my cousin, Essie, would be proud that she left such a lesson behind. Because as I understand, she was often in pain, but I also saw a video of her riding a Dumbo ride at Disney World on the day before she left this world. That is some top notch carpe diem-ing, Essie, top notch.
So this is my vow. I will try a little harder. Over-think a little less. Drag myself out of the house a little more. (Yeah, I said a little. What can I say, I really like my house!) I will make the now into the moment, instead of waiting for the right moment. I will seize those moments, take those leaps, eat drink and be merry. And, you should too! Because as it turns out, you really don’t know what tomorrow brings.
And I will hold my family in my heart as they go through this incredibly awful part of life.