How Death Reminds Us...

Earlier this year my beautiful best friend, Caroline, died; she was only 43 and died of a very rare, very fast type of cancer. My initial response when she died was of abject grief and despair, for my loss and the unfairness, and for what her gorgeous 4 year old twin boys have lost. I felt I would never smile again, that I could not possibly ever enjoy anything ever again.

A few months later, and I miss Caroline every day. The loss is still huge, but my anger at the world has faded. I feel it’s okay to smile again and to enjoy things without feeling like I am diminishing what has happened. I can now focus on my memories and all of the wonderful things about her and the times we spent together -- because I know she would want us all to grab our lives with both hands and not live a life of grief.

This year, therefore, has been the saddest of my entire life. But, it has also been the most precious year I have ever experienced. And, as it continues, it may end up being one of the best. I never thought that such great loss could in result in such wonder, but maybe it’s events like this that you need sometimes to come to a stop and concentrate on your own life and decisions. Just like in every yoga class that I attend or in every practice, I come to a stop and my mind rests and enjoys some space. The after effects always leave me elated and renewed and appreciating everything in my life.

So many of the lessons that I have learned this year, through Caroline's illness and subsequent death, have absolutely been reiterated through my yoga experience, the greatest of them being that much needed reminder that so much joy can come from the little things in life. We hear this often, but it becomes too easy to forget amongst our busy days. Remember, it’s those little gifts of joy and laughter and love that are so precious; we need to take the time to make sure we don't miss them.

We need to stop and take time and see and hear those little wonderful things our children do and say; relish the simple joys of a beautiful day; see the beauty of nature around us; feel the joy of having loved ones; not take for granted just being alive.

Caroline and I had 15 years of wonderful friendship. We shared so much, but what I will hold precious forever are the final kisses I gave to my beautiful best friend, not knowing that it would be the last time I would ever see her; the cuddles that we shared lying on her bed together in the hospice; giggling away together as I helped her get dressed; telling each other that we loved each other as often as possible after she was diagnosed. There is so much to be grateful for all around us, and it's not that I have only had this sudden realization since Caroline died, I've always known it; it just got lost in daily life. I am determined that I will now take even more time to appreciate them.

So, I urge you to take a moment and recall something precious in your life, however big or small, just wonderful and yours, and enjoy that thought, hold it dear, hug it to you and savor it forever.

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