Celebrate life.

This was a tragic week. No, a tragic year. Within six months I had three people close to me pass away, including my live-in grandma and my forty-year old aunt due to horrible cancer.

Tuesday night the count hit four. A Twenty-one year beautiful co-worker of mine died in a car crash involving three other co-workers. My staff and I go into work every day to comfort each other and wait by the phone for word on the others who are in critical condition. (see below for the news article)

The month leading up to this tragedy, although on paper looks exactly like every other month in my twenty-six years of life, has been interesting. I’ve been waiting for moments for events that may inspire me or reshape my future and I can say August, 2010 hit the closest yet.

When a death occurs, it makes you appreciate life and those around you. That line is pretty much the most cliché thing I’ve ever heard-yet true… The trick is, to actually carry those feelings of appreciation with you *passed* the consoling period, the wakes, the funeral, the following week. People should use these sad times to reevaluate their lives. I mean, talk about turning a negative into a positive, that’s a rather large negative…

This month, my parents did just that. I have always been a little too close with my parents, after all, I am almost in my :gulp: late twenties, living home and my mom is one of my best friends. So, naturally, I’ve always admired them, in the normal way children admire their parents. This month, however, after a few months of grieving and adjusting to life minus two family members, they each reevaluated their lives and my admiration became inspiration.

My dad is the cutest man you’ll ever meet (just had to mention that). This month he cleaned up our once-finished basement-turned storage room, dusted off his 1980’s drum set, uncovered studio equipment and speakers I didn’t even know existed and started jamming again to his favorite music. When he left his cover band behind around the time I was born, there were always high hopes he’d relive it again. But four more babies sort of prevented that…. Now, every night he asks me to put music on his hand-me-down iPod so he can practice and each Sunday, old buddies join him to fill our home with music of the Eagles and Tom Petty (My favorite’s “Peaceful, Easy Feeling”).

My mom had always been self-conscious about something (I’ll keep private for now) and too afraid to change it. Following her mother’s passing, however, she decided life’s too short, so she overcame a fear she’s had since childhood and I’ve never seen her happier or more confident. Just like *that* both of my parents accomplished something they’ve put off or afraid to do because they decided to appreciate life.

So, what am I going to do with this negative? How am I going to turn not only a tragedy, but my family’s inspiration into my motivation? For one, I’m taking a cross-country road trip…. What started as a vacation to help our friend move to Washington, is turning into a three-week exciting adventure through cities and parts of my country I would never have thought to visit. This could be my event! The one that lets me peek into my future, changes my outlook and keeps me inspired. Or, it could simply be the coolest vacation I ever have. Either way, it’s already the biggest (for lack of better words) thing I’ve yet to do in my life and It feels amazing to know I’m actually going to LIVE it and not just read about it or talk it to the ground…

Rest in peace, Kristin. Life is short, tell people you love them, tell them they’re beautiful (thank you E.Stern), kiss your mother and hug your father everyday (and/or brothers and sisters) and *appreciate* EVERY opportunity given to you.




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