It was 1 year, 1 month and 16 days ago.
It was a Monday morning, and my dad called just as I was waking up.
"Good morning, Daddy"
I could hear the tremble in his voice.
Hesitation... then, silence. I knew something was wrong.
"Paw Paw passed away."
It was the worst news I could have received... and, by far the most unexpected.
Paw Paw was one of my absolute favorite people.
He was warm, vibrant, funny, affectionate, but most of all loving... consistently. loving.
A few months before his death, he and I were talking on the phone.
Paw Paw: "when are you coming to see me, baby?"
Me: "I'm coming, Paw Paw," I said in a bit of self-disappointment.
I knew I'd have to juggle a thousand responsibilities in Ohio on top of dwindling vacation days to pull it off.
Well -- as life would have it, we found our way to his Louisiana home that summer. It was the first time in years that all 4 of us (my parents, sister and I) could make the trip together.
Usually, I'm the "Quick trip Queen". A couple days in and out, and it's a wrap! But, this time -- I took a couple extra days so I didn't have to rush back home.
I'll never forget how he clung to our presence for those few days. He took every opportunity to hold us close, crack a joke or whisper "I Love You".
That was the last time we saw him.
Eight weeks later... Paw Paw was gone. Forever.
Since his transition, I've reflected on the things he left behind.
A legacy of good will... and the reward of unconditional love were my favorite.
But, of all the things that sweet man gave me -- the gift of urgency was probably the most imperative.
Paw Paw gave deep dark meaning to the phrase, "tomorrow is not promised." He showed me that no matter how much hope we put in our future, time isn't always on our side.
I've learned that we should bask in every moment we have to love and embrace one another. Take the time to say "I Love You", create precious memories and hold on to those you love most.
In that same fashion -- why sleep on our own dreams? Opportunity is not everlasting. And, while we spend so much time questioning if the time is right, or if we have what it takes to succeed, just know -- whatever your heart desires, it's worth going after!
There will never be a perfect time, and you'll never be fully prepared. So, just go for it!
I'd hate for you to look back 10 years from now and say, "I wish I'd done this"... or "I could've been that".
You're right, sis. You can... You should -- NOW.
Until next time,