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Day 67: Salty thoughts

June 4, 2012
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Death has barged into my life one too many times over the past couple months. A few months ago, my stepmom was diagnosed with breast cancer. Fortunately, she caught it in the early stages, but facing cancer head-on was enough to shake us all up. What if she hadn’t caught it in time? Imagining a life without Liz wasn’t something any of us wanted to think about.

Shortly after, my best friend’s mom – fellow Pisces, haunting enthusiast and lover of superfluous storytelling – and also a breast cancer survivor, found out the cancer was back. It had metastasized to her lungs. I broke down sobbing: for her having to endure this disease, for my best friend who’s confronting the horrific What Ifs, for the people that have to live without a mother.

Meanwhile, my boyfriend’s brother attempted suicide shortly after the family memorialized the year-anniversary of their mother’s death. The fragility of life was banging loudly at my door.

A few weeks ago, it came crashing in. I found out a 17-year-old boy was killed in a drunk-driving accident. During the funeral service, I recalled memories of him: a toddler wobbling around as our families roasted hot dogs, marshmallows and hobo pies together during our annual camping trips. The church pews held hundreds of tear-streaked faces, family and friends shaken by the short life of a charismatic, adventurous kid on the verge of high school graduation. I remember losing a friend in high school. My heart went out to those who lost a friend. Now, as a parent, my heart wrenched for Timmy’s parents. You’re not supposed to bury your kids.

This past Friday, my mom called. I asked what was going on and her three-second pause in response indicated something was wrong. Who’s getting divorced? Was it one of my brother’s newborn twins? Did something happen to one of my grandparents?

“Becca died.” I wasn’t prepared for this, for death to still be lurking. A whole new set of emotions ripped through me when I learned it was suicide. I pulled my car over as salty thoughts of my captivating, beautiful cousin streamed down my face.

Life will never be the same: not for her parents and sister, not for her grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. She won’t be there to spend Christmas in my new house – recalling memories of growing up with her grandparents. She won’t be there to laugh at Uncle Danny’s jokes. On March 26, she won’t turn 22. She’ll be forever frozen in time as a 21-year-old girl who had the world ahead of her.

Life is ephemeral. That message has been loud and clear over the past few months. Don’t wait for tomorrow; it may never come. Appreciate the little moments, make memories, love with all you have. Live life.

My cousin Becca

4 Comments leave one →
  1. June 4, 2012 8:53 pm

    Kara, I’m so sorry for your loss. My cousins are my very best friends and I can’t imagine losing one of them at such a young age. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

  2. Greg permalink
    June 8, 2012 8:22 am

    Kara, beautifully written. My sister would have turned 40 today and my heart goes out to you and al lthose impacted by the loss of a loved one.

    • June 9, 2012 10:23 pm

      Thanks, Greg. I can’t imagine birthdays are easy days. 😦

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