This fact became quite clear to me as the new year rang in.
Last month while sending holiday greetings I came to the address of a co-worker I had not seen in 30 years. We kept in touch now and then but somehow we had a gap of 5 years for which we had not spoken. I was upset with myself for never transferring her telephone number to the address book and thanks to the purchase of a new cellphone I lost her number. I felt excited when I saw her face on my social media search and instantly sent her a private message. She responded with her cell phone number and we arranged a phone call the next morning.
The moment I heard her voice the fact we had not spoken for so long disappeared and it felt like we had kept in touch forever. During the two hour chat we reminisced of our working together memories along with both our joys and sorrows. The following day she happily told me she was hosting a "slime" birthday party for her grand daughter and had some errands however every time I suggested we hang up she began a new topic. It was obvious neither of us wanted the chat to end but finally our hands became numb and our jaws hurt from laughing and we agreed to say good-bye with the promise of doing this again soon.
New years eve right before the ball dropped I happened to look on my telephone and I noticed her children were writing on her social media wall that she passed away. I honestly thought I was not reading clearly. I quickly called to Kevin that it seemed this lovely person passed away. We both were reading all the comments so confused. Sadly it was true.
She was gone!
I had no idea while going through my address book that morning that I was being led to say good-bye. If I had not touched base with her that day I would never have known she was gone.
This changed me and I now see the simplest things as joyful!
Something as simple as Kevin and I working out together at the gym was once something I took for granted but now know it is a huge deal. We can do this together!!! As I type this it is 17 degrees in Atlanta, Georgia but I have heat and hot water and a roof over my head where many people don't.!!!! The little conveniences we overlook but miss when they are no longer functioning properly.
In between birth and death you can do a lot of living. From the pictures I am seeing on my dear co-workers wall she sure did a lot of that! From our conversation I could hear in her voice all the exclamation points that ended each exciting sentence of a memory she was sharing. To quote her; "I do not do drama, I just do not have the time for it"!!!!
When we worked together many years ago her children were small and I would hear her talking to them on the telephone saying "I am here for your needs child, not your wants"! Oh my friend if we could all just be happy with what we have and appreciate it more.
I am working hard the first few days of this new year to not let small stuff annoyances rob me of joy. Silly things like someone parked in the fire hydrant two weeks ago set me off in a tizzy where I had to complain to the leasing office. It is one thing to mention it for safety reasons but to fume over this I now see is unnecessary. I am learning how these silly hot button annoyances really are joy thieves.
Where before I did not rush to answer a text or phone call I now try to do better. Who knows if there will be a next time. Who knows if there will be a second chance! I am learning to appreciate each conversation.
I never realized how much she made the world better until I saw the comments on her death. She truly let the healing light of love shine on everyone around her.
I came across a poem called the dash written by an author Linda Ellis. It is about the dash on our tombstones between our birthdate and death. I am going to end with just two paragraphs of the poem for it is rather long. If I was able to change just one thing it would be to have the words of this beautiful poem written on every cloud in the sky so we would look up and be reminded every day of how precious our lives are. Find the joy in each day!!! I wish you many joyful exclamation mark moments as you fill in the days of your 2018 calendar for they will one day be our dash!!!!
It matters not how much we own, the cars, the house, the cash.
It matters how we live and love and how we spend our dash.
So think about this long and hard.
Are there things you'd like to change?
For you never know how much time is left
that can still be re-arranged.
If we could just slow down enough to consider what's true and real
And always try to understand the way other people feel
And be less quick to anger and show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives like we've never loved before.