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Wear Your Good Jewelry

I know I've been a little quiet this week.

Sometimes in life, we have to take a step back to evaluate and process, and that's what I've been doing the past few days.

See, a few days ago, I received a phone call from my mom, which is nothing out of the ordinary. My family is very close and we talk a lot throughout the week.

It's what she told me that broke my heart and turned my world upside down...

She told me my cousin, Kate, a woman who is my age, who grew up with me, who fought cancer and won, had passed away suddenly the night before.

Myself (left), My Sister (middle), and Kate (right)

Even typing this out still doesn't make it make sense.

"Kate is dead?" I had to ask her this. I needed to hear her say it. I've spent a lot of time repeating those words to myself the last few days just trying to make it sink in. "Kate is dead."

Unfortunately, it's a conversation she and I have had numerous times over the years. My poor mom is usually the one to deliver bad news to us. She's been the one to tell me about countless friends and family members passing away. I always make her say "dead" and not "gone."

That may sound rough, but I need that finality so I can wrap my brain around it. I have to hear that word so that my brain will give up hope that this loved one may return someday. I need to hear that word so that I may begin grieving and eventually heal.

I'm still uncertain of exactly what caused her death. It was a sudden illness. That's all that I really know right now. I'm hoping for answers in the coming days.

Answers that may never come, I know, but something, anything to explain how a 34 year old woman can just suddenly be gone...dead.

I'm not writing this to ask for sympathy. Far from it, actually. I'm not big on being on the receiving end of it. I'm sure you can understand that.

No, instead, I want to share with you one of her last posts and sentiments that is helping me greatly through my grieving.

Kate had been through a lot in her short life, not just cancer. Many big ups and many giant downs. I won't go into specifics because it's not my story to tell, however, it was her outlook that I will remember her most for.

Myself (left) and Kate at her wedding in 2011

Less than a month ago...less than a month before she would leave this world, when she didn't even know the end was near, she posted this beautiful message of positivity, happiness and self-care.


She said, "Life is short, wear what makes you happy! For me, it's diamond earrings I have been saving. Why should they live in a jewelry box where no one will see them?"

Oh my gosh...how true is that? How many "good" whatever do we have that is for a "special occasion" or "special guests?" How often do you put things you love in a box or a drawer instead of bringing them out into the light and enjoying them?

Each day since learning of her passing, I've made it a point to put on my "good jewelry," even if I'm just going to run errands. I've even started wearing some of the "fancy" perfumes I've been stockpiling. For what purpose I was "saving it," I really for the life of me can't fathom now. Seeing it, wearing it, smelling it makes me think of her everytime and I am able to smile through this pain.

I've shared her message with friends and family on social media and the response has been overwhelming and heart warming. I've gotten messages from people I've never expected to let me know they're thinking about Kate or how Kate has made them smile.

I'm making a promise to her that I will keep sharing and living her message so that she might live on in the hearts and intentions of others.

So please, friend, wear your good jewelry. Use the fancy china for pizza night. Make the guest towels your everyday towels. Wear the perfume or the lingerie or whatever it is you've been "saving for a special occasion."

LIFE is our special occasion. We only get one and it's far too short to waste.

With lots of tears, hope and love,

Carly




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