I have been putting off writing this for a long time now…partially because my heart won’t let my fingers type, my hands start shaking every time I try, and partially because I still refuse to accept that she is really gone.
When we lose someone it feels like a piece of us has died and everything is crumbling around us… like the world is over. There is no band aid big enough to mend the canyon of the scar left behind. You can try to bury the pain as far back in your head as you can, but your heart… your heart cannot mask the emotion. Without a doubt you will eventually find yourself trapped in a moment staring at some object, lingering on a scent in the air, or wanting to share something with that person… when the emotion will flood back to you. Pain & Anger because you are reminded they are gone…and Ashamed because for a split second you forgot they were gone.
My Aunt had a huge heart, a contagious smile, and eyes that said “I have a few wise cracks to share with you once the coast is clear.” She was passionate about helping people and was always thinking about everyone else, even when she was sick. I still have a voicemail saved on my phone from my aunt wishing me Happy Birthday. She had been in the hospital all day and called me when she got out late that evening. I still listen to the voicemail every so often.
There are no amount words that would do justice to what an amazing person my aunt was. One of the last times I spoke with her was when she was in the hospital. There is one scene in particular that I have played back in my head dozens of times.
The doctor walked into the room and asked how she was feeling. She looked up with her bright eyes that seemed to light up the room and replied, “You want to dance?” The doctor looked out the window at the dark sky and looked back at her… “It’s too late to dance.” The response did little to shake her smile… “It’s never too late to dance”, she replied.
This moment left me with a final lesson from my aunt. Even when things look bleak, do not let the darkness drown out your light. When we feel like our world is over, remember every smile that has been entrusted with you to carry forward. When your heart reminds you of all the pain, remember that the pain drives us to embody the best in those people, and in turn makes them live on through us.
“It’s never too late to dance.”