Today would have been my daughter-in-law’s 26th birthday.
I woke up to this picture on my Facebook newsfeed and couldn’t help but think how apt it was for today.
I am having a hard time articulating my feelings about today. Kari-Lee was in our lives for such a short time and yet she had such a large impact. Her life and death changed people; she changed me, my husband, my friends, my youngest son and most especially, she changed my eldest son, her husband.
Not only did she change people, but she changed relationships. The relationships I have now with people are different, some better, some worse, some neither good or bad but just different.
The impact of her life on mine and many others has left an impression that will be forever felt. Her life and death imprinted on mine in a devastating and lasting way. Nothing looks the same, nothing feels the same and nothing will ever be the same.
We all know that death is inevitable, it is the one thing that we are all going to experience, but the way we die, what we leave behind, the impact and influence we have in our death, I think that says more about us than anything else. It makes me wonder about my own mortality and what, if any, impact my death will have. I don’t want to go quietly. I don’t want to slip away into the abyss without notice. I want to have imprinted on others so that when I die, people around me are changed.
The greatest tragedy is a death that leaves no trace of having lived at all.
Life is hard; it is horrible and wonderful and terrifying and exhilarating and hurtful and kind, but above all it is messy and if it’s not messy, then I don’t think you are doing it right. Why live a life that never challenges?
A life without challenge is a life without triumph.
And as much as the last eight months have been the most painful and the most horrible, I know I wouldn’t have changed having Kari in my life. I know my son would not have changed having her in his life either.
Don’t be afraid to live large so that you can avoid the pain, don’t be afraid to love large so that you can avoid being hurt.
So, I raise my glass to Kari-Lee and I thank her for what she brought into our lives and what she left behind. She burned hot and fast and her life and death left large footprints in my life and across my heart and for that I am truly grateful.