A year ago today, my husband’s twin sister passed away after a long, brave fight against colon cancer. Over the next few days, we said goodbye to a woman of beauty — full of light, love and laughter. The pain of this loss, even with weeks to prepare, was staggering. And while the pain has dulled with the passing of time and everyday life, it is still profound.
But somehow, the pain of losing Emily — the first loss of a 2016 that left us bare — has made me better. More patient, more open, more compassionate, more prayerful. It has made me aware of God’s voice, and grace. It has brought incredible people into my life as new friends, too many to mention. Abundance at its best.
The enduring pain, feeling as waves sweeping in from just outside my sight line, has forced me to intentionally practice self care, humility and forgiveness. And it’s taught me (and my kids) that it’s okay to cry when you’re hurting because we know the tears won’t last forever. And it is that certain hope — we won’t cry forever — that delivers the beauty of today. We are living. We are loving. We ache because this world is less beautiful without Emily. But the miracle? We are still here, and there is joy. Somehow.
So what can I do, one year later? How do I remember my one and only twin-law? How can this milestone be made into something more than tears? Find joy — or create it for someone else. Whether you knew her or not, I’d love your help choosing one of these things to do — today. For Emily. For me.
- Hug someone tight, long and hard.
- Sing along to a song on the radio, as if it were karaoke night and your very life depended on it.
- Pray with a grateful heart.
- Drink a glass of (very) sweet wine.
- Take a photo of someone you love. (Or, in Emily fashion, take 100 photos of someone you love.)
- Disregard any technology that makes life too complicated.
- Indulge in something delicious.
- Listen carefully to someone’s troubles, and show them you care with a smile or squeeze of the hand.
- Laugh hard — especially if you are prone to snorting.
- Say “I love you,” without hesitation.
Life is marked by the big moments, but it should be enjoyed by the little ones. A card game. An afternoon walk. A living room concert. Watermelon slices on the beach.
Thank you for sharing one little moment of your day to remember a woman you maybe never met — a wife, mom, sister, daughter, friend. A woman who, even on this day, is helping me find joy. Somehow.