It’s a story for another time, but today I was at the hospital visiting my cousin for the second time this week. It’s a cancer hospital. A place where research is done, people are healed, and others… Are not.
As I left his room to let him sleep and headed toward the elevators, I saw a couple I had seen as I was coming in. They were Asian and in their late 40’s, or early 50’s. When I first saw them, he was on his cell phone in the third floor lobby, possibly getting updates, possibly giving them. She was across from him, facing him in a chair about ten arm-lengths away. She watched him intently. She was quiet.
Here I was, only an hour later walking through the same lobby. And she was with him again, her husband I think. And she was wailing as she walked toward the elevator. It’s a wail I have only heard within the last year or so, sometimes from my mom, sometimes from myself. It was the wail of someone who lost someone they could never fathom losing.
I didn’t want to get on the elevator with them, to interrupt this precious moment. See, grief is important. It’s private and beautiful and so very necessary. I didn’t want her to feel like she needed to cut it out, or pull it back or stop the pain. So I waited in the lobby, facing the window and I cried. I cried for her and her loss. I cried for my dad who was treated for nearly four years at this same hospital, and I cried for my cousin who is fighting.
I know I’ve been yapping a lot the last year about how I’m trying to live differently. I’m trying to prioritize and make every moment special. No one can do it all the time, but my percentage has certainly risen. And living in that moment today gave me even more resolve. This life is precious, people. And I don’t care if you get sick of me saying it. I’m going to say it a lot more.
Do things that matter to you. Take care of your people. Let your people take care of you. Don’t let your stuff define you. Reach out to new people. Hug someone so damn hard they lose their breath. Don’t waste time with shitty friends. Don’t be cheap. Don’t stress about the shit you can’t do anything about. Apologize. Accept apologies. Have some serious fucking fun every single day. Teach someone something you’re good at. Don’t be afraid to learn new things. Smile at a stranger. Listen when someone is talking to you. Remember when your spouse was the person you were dating. Tickle your kid. Laugh your ass off. I’m doing all of that stuff a whole lot more. And it’s just the beginning…