I learned to play sports.
She learned to read books.
In time, she was my maid of honour, and I, in turn hers.
Years of sharing our joys of marriage and laughing babies passed quickly.
One day, she came from the hospital with the test results we all dread.
As tears covered both our cheeks, she determined how we’d meet this challenge.
She said, “Throughout this illness, talk with me, live with me, love and laugh with me, just the way you always have.”
We divided the bad, living each day fully in its moment.
I rarely mentioned her illness or asked her results from those tests after tests.
Instead, I told silly jokes to make her laugh, while poison flowed through her veins.
I joked about the lack of privacy in a hospital gown,and her thrill over her lack of bad hair days, since her new ‘hair’ was always styled.
I joked that head scarves definitely were the best hair item when it’s too hot and how she was thrilled that dieting was a thing of past.
It is challenging to laugh when pain and suffering rule the day.
Yet, it is precisely in times of pain and struggle that we need- we must- laugh and love excessively.
Bad times means there is even less time for somber thoughts and faces.
None of us knows how much time we have.
In fact, all of us are dying, some just a little sooner than others.
Hers came sooner.
As her legacy, I carry forward a lust for living life with zealous exuberance, living excessively within the joy in moments.
Even when, or rather, especially when, there is hurt and suffering in those moments.
Being fully alive each and every day has nothing to do with the presence or absence of a life threatening disease.
Being fully alive has everything to do with the joy of living and loving in true friendship.