This week, I had the honor and privilege of helping pull together the memorial service of a friend and colleague I’ve worked with for the past 10 years.
She passed away, just last week, after a long and incredibly brave, tireless battle against Colorectal cancer.
There were so many things I loved about her, but what I admired the most was her tenacity—her no-bullsh*t way of telling you like it was. I also truly admired her incredible passion for absolutely everything in her life—from her work, to her friends, to her family.
She reminded me so much of myself, and I looked up to her as a mentor.
As I sat there tonight and listened to everyone share their stories and memories about her life, my heart swelled. As is always the case when someone dies—the coming together of people who have known a person at all stages of their life is so moving and poignant, that it becomes a true celebration.
But of all of the speeches that were given on this incredibly special night, one was from her good friend who shared a story from her final days. Doped up on much pain medication to keep her comfortable, she was in and out of consciousness at the end.
But, in one of those moments when she came into consciousness, she uttered the words:
“It’s all coming back to me—It’s all about love.”
In her final transition from this world, to the next—where all of the answers to life’s great mysteries reside—this was the truth that she remembered.
It’s all about love.
Every moment, every choice, every encounter, every experience we choose to have while we are here on this earth—is about love.
It’s about embracing the smallest of moments—the most insignificant things we take for granted—like laying on the couch snuggled in the arms of our children, to having a backyard barbecue and telling off color jokes with our closest friends, to sitting at the kitchen table, sharing stories of our day with our spouse.
These are the moments, that in our final days, we remember most.
We remember those things with love.
We realize, once all the bullsh*t we get caught up in every day is cleared away, in the fog of morphine as we are taking our final breaths on this earth, that everything has always been and always will be—about love.
Tonight, as I looked out over a small lagoon—lit up with candles in her honor—I was left with two thoughts.
I hope that everyone who is going through dark times in their lives will continue to leave their hearts open—with the full knowledge that it’s all for something.
And that in the end, no matter what we are going through—whatever we are struggling with, or whatever unfair situation the Universe has thrown at us, that we don’t believe we can’t handle—it all, eventually, comes back to love.
Can we love every experience of our life? Every person who is in it and every moment given to us? Even when it doesn’t look the way we want, or end the way we wish it would?
I know I can. If a woman dying of cancer—a woman in an incredible amount of pain in her final days, having lost a fight she fought so hard to win can see that—so can I.
Author: Dina Strada
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Photo: Flickr/Jennifer Donley