Friday, September 18, 2009

What Does Your Dash Say About You?

OK, so I know some of you are scratching your heads, wondering what my title means. On January 8, 2009 my cousin passed away at the age of 39. Luckie was more than a cousin to me. We were brought together because we are married to cousins, whose mothers are sisters. We remained friends through the years because we genuinely loved each other. Luckie was my birthday buddy, born 3 years before me on June 17.

So, my title is actually taken from the preachers words at Luckie's memorial service. June 17, 1970-September 8, 2009, what matters is how you lived during that time between the dash. Everyone, one day will have dates on both sides of the dash, but what have you done with you life, your dash. Luckie lived with Renal Failure for over 10 years. During that time she endured a lot, but always with a smile. Looking at someone have such a positive outlook on a life when day after day their life is filled with hospitals, needles, doctor visits, kidney transplant, kidney rejection and dialysis causes the people around them to look at life in a different manner.

There were never complaints from Luckie, even on the days you knew she was not feeling well. During family gatherings, she would excuse herself to go rest for a while and be back, smiling, the life of the party. Saturday, September 5, 2009 was one of those days. We were out together to celebrate a friends birthday, Luckie started to feel sick and ended the night with just going home to rest. The next morning I watched my husband pace as he talked to his cousin on the phone and watched his facial expressions and body language change, becoming more somber as he continued to talk. Hanging up the phone he advised me that Luckie was in the hospital and we needed to go there. Getting ready he gave me the details, as he knew them, and I began my silent prayer.

Arriving at the hospital we got off of the elevator and the look on Luckie's mothers face spoke volumes. Looking into Luckie's husbands face, I knew in my heart this visit was like none we have ever experienced before. Arrangements were made to bring family into Jacksonville, prayers were said and words of encouragement were offered around to everyone there. In the end, at 10:25p on September 8, 2009 Luckie passed onto the next life, leaving behind her 17 year old son, husband(whom she had been with since the 9th grade) and a host of family and friends who loved her more than words could ever express.

Listening to the pastor I began to realize what my dash really said about me. Yes I am married and the mother of 3 great kids, but what about those things (pointed out in a previous blog) that I have meant to do, but have not done. Over the past few weeks I have heard words of encouragement, shared moments about Luckie that have made us all laugh and realize just how full our life was because we knew Luckie.
I also reflected on my dash. The time to stop dragging my feet is now. I want my dash to say that I completed my education, I wrote those books and became a published author and I lost the weight I always talked about. I want my dash to be so much more than a dash.

Luckie's passing has showed me a lot of things; the importance of spending time with family, the need to let grudges go, the need to complete the task we set out to do and the need to live life to the fullest. There is no apologizing for things after the person is gone, no time left to stop by the house and just chat, no more opportunities to express to that person how much you loved them and so on. No one is promised tomorrow and that is something we all tend to forget from time to time.

Writing this was hard for me. There are things about her sickness and passing that are not discussed because some of it touches on emotions that are just too raw. I am thankful for the time I spent with Luckie. I am thankful for the family that has come together and put their arms around her husband and son and tried to make their life as easy and love filled as possible. I am thankful that there was nothing I wished I had said sorry for. I am thankful for the friends who have offered their words of encouragement to all of us in our time of sorrow. I am thankful that I got to know Luckie and will always celebrate June 17th with her in my heart. The picture for today's post is my youngest daughter with Luckie at my sons football game just one week before she went into the hospital for the last time.

RIP Alisande "Luckie" Nicholson

June 17, 1970-September 8, 2009