Last week marked the fourteenth anniversary of my sister’s death. I was twenty-five at the time, and she died tragically at the age of thirty-one. Lisa and I were very different. She was petite, outspoken, quick-tempered, and feisty. I was taller, timid, quiet, and agreeable. We chose different paths in life and had little in common, yet we shared so much of life together.
There are still fleeting moments when I forget she’s gone, even after all this time. I think about all of the things we’re missing together, all of the things she’ll never know, and all of the love I probably failed to give her when I had the chance. But then I remember… sharing a bed with her until I was six… her teaching me to style my hair when I was nine… borrowing her car on Friday nights when I was sixteen… and knowing that she was proud of me as I became an adult. Instead of mourning the loss of memories I don’t have, I choose to rejoice in remembering the ones I do.
Life is often cruel and unfair. It’s full of tragedy and sadness, and we struggle to understand the meaning of it all. But, life is also beautiful. It’s full of love and joy. If we’re not careful, the pain of sorrow can cause us to lose the joy of living. We have a tendency to cling to what we don’t have. We waste days and years on regret and before we know it, we’ve lost so much more than is necessary. If I have learned one thing from the tragedy of loss it’s this – you should embrace every moment and inhale life as deeply as possible. Savor it. Appreciate it. Enjoy it. Cling to what is good, remember what really matters, and rejoice in what God has given you.
Today, I remember my sister with much love and laughter. And although I would rather have her here with me, my life reflects her presence. And that gives me much joy.