Friday, October 12, 2012

Everything Changes

On Wednesday, everything changed. No, the sun did not stop shining and time continues on, even as the tears fall down my face, but it is different. I was just beginning to adjust to the fact that my grams, my constant supporter, no longer walked along the mortal plane when my 19 year old cousin was taken too soon.

And my heart shattered. It aches for her parents who watched her grow from a fiery, trickster little girl into an amazingly strong and fiercely independent woman new to her adult life. It breaks for her friends who were inspired by her. And I weep for our entire family. Being far away from her, I didn’t get to see her as much as I would have liked. That’s what happens when you leave home to start your own life… you are always missing out. However, I have definitely received a crash course in all things Becca over the last three days, and I am so proud to call this courageous, vivacious and impish woman part of my family tree.

When my grams passed away, I was relieved. Seeing my rock withering in pain was more than I could handle. But for someone so young and full of life to die is mind-blowing. It’s like the brain refuses to acknowledge it’s even a possibility. In fact, when I learned she was on her way to the hospital, I called mom, said a prayer, and went on about my day after making the post on Facebook for more prayers. In the back of my mind, I thought, eh. She’ll be fine.

And then she wasn’t. She was gone. And I screamed at God. It’s not fair. It’s not right. How could He? What more can He take from our family? How much more pain does He want us to endure? And when I stopped screaming (in the parking lot of Starbuck’s I might add… a place I visit often), I cried.

And the tears continue, even as I write this. There is sadness that I will not be able to return for the memorial, coupled with the fact that I will be attending another service this weekend for a friend who lost her fight against cancer. To say this is going to be a rough weekend is an understatement.

But here’s why this post is titled “Everything Changes”. Because what mattered to me most on Wednesday morning was not what mattered on Wednesday night. The things I feared when I went to bed on Tuesday were minor compared to what I feared when I woke up on Thursday. Twenty-four hours was all it took for me to realign what’s really important. And there’s something freeing in that realization.

I got a chance to take an inventory of the mountain tall pile of blessings that are in my life and give thanks for them. To hug my kids and tickle them until they can’t breathe, only to smoother their faces with kisses as the giggles subside. To welcome my husband home after he gives his time to provide for our family. We may never have a dream house. But no matter where we are, we will always be home. And I have another chance to reconnect with the people who mean the most to me: my family and friends. To reach out and ask how they are instead of scanning Facebook posts and making assumptions. And I get to follow my passion of writing, regardless of an agent’s rejection or a bad critique. And that’s what really matters to me.

Everything changed when Becca died. Nothing will bring her back, but I hope others will take to heart that life if fleeting. We have only so much time to fulfill our dreams. It’s easy to get caught up in the drama at the office or on the playground. It’s easy to get lost in our own ambitions without regard to the people we’re taking out on the way up the ladder. It’s easy to think there will always be tomorrow. For me, what has changed is that today is the new tomorrow. No more putting off going to the gym. No more wasting time when I should be working on a book because I’m afraid someone won’t like it. No more waiting for something good to happen when I can make it happen.

Perhaps there is some irony in the fact that my latest novel is about a girl who dies and is given one last chance to change her life… to make it better. It seems only right to dedicate it to Becca, who got it right the first time. 


  1. I'm so so sorry. I don't know what else to say. This bought tears to my eyes. I have two daughters not much older than this.

    Beautiful dedication on the book. I wish you as much peace as you can find throughout this horrible time....

  2. I'm so sorry for your loss. Your cousin sounds like she was an amazing person, and I'm glad you've been able to make something positive out of something so terrible and senseless.

    I'll be sending positive thoughts your way all week! I hope you and your family are able to heal and get each other through this tragedy.