the should haves

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one of the giant pink Gerber daisies on our breakfast table

The world has lost a lot of souls in the past few days.  One of those was a friend of mine, who just yesterday lost a long and hard-fought battle against inflammatory breast cancer.  This morning, I received notice that she had passed away and it really, really rocked me.  My friend lost her life on her 41st birthday, after spending the last 4 years in an ugly, ugly battle.

Forty-one is young.

I realized this morning, too late, just how marvelous I thought this woman was.  She and I had volunteered together at our children’s school for several years.  Never, not ever, did I hear her grumble about having to do a menial task or gripe about trying to cram in an event set-up or sigh about being asked, yet again, to help out.  She was the go-to girl, in an adorable baseball cap with a smile on her face every time you saw her. While I knew she had cancer, I had no idea of the severity of her disease nor the intensity of the treatment which she was undergoing right alongside of, say, helping set up for a school sponsored road race.  She laughed so easily but never at the expense of others.  She was stunningly beautiful, inside and out.  Laura Vickers was one spectacular woman, and I spent today thinking of her and wishing I’d done more to let her know how wonderful I thought she was.  I should have done more to let her know how wonderful I thought she was.

So I decided, well before 8 a.m., that we were going to spend the day celebrating life and doing whatever made each one of us happy instead of finding ourselves disgruntled at the end of the day and saying, “wow, we should have done x”.

For some of us (first name starts with J, ends with -ACK), that meant spending the entire day in pj’s.

For others, it meant serious time playing trains with Mommy.

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Another wanted companionship as he danced around the butterfly-tree in our neighbor’s yard.

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(Yes, Maria, it works!!)

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IMG_4777I mean, seriously…I get to kiss this little face goodnight every single night!

For me, it meant not feeling guilty when I skipped a run and instead curled up in a chair with a good book right smack in the middle of the afternoon.

We stood on tables (some of us, at least) just to do it.

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We sought out things to make us happy.

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Today, we celebrated the lives we have…not our days gone by, not our unanswered desires, but simply, the wonderful things we have right in front of us.  Each other.  Health.  A safe country.  A roof over our heads.  Food on our table.

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These three tiny plaques hang over our kitchen door and are the last thing we see as we exit our house.

Today was a much needed reminder of the heavy weight of all the should-haves.  So we made sure we made today count–for ourselves and in honor of those who are no longer with us–which is something we should have been doing all along.

Carpe diem, dear friends.

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