Death is never an easy topic to talk about. It’s not something I find easy to even think about. In truth, it scares me. But it’s a reality of life. A reality no living thing escapes.
Two weeks ago a dear friend of mine passed away. Atalie Andressen was a sweet soul with an infectious smile that instantly made me feel better. Every month we met to critique her novel, Crescent City After Dark. We enjoyed lots of laughter and good conversations over chocolate cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory, a restaurant that will forever hold a special place in my heart.
Normally, I’m a hopeful person, but when my husband was sick for almost two years, I settled into a prolonged depression. I shut down. I couldn’t focus, found fault with every word I wrote, and gained weight. All the things I do when facing stress. Atalie stepped in and encouraged me to continue writing. Her acts of kindness gave me the strength I needed to power through the hard times. “Writing will help you find your serenity in all the chaos,” she’d say. She shared her hope with me. Even while battling her own health concerns, she never complained. She focused on achieving her dreams.
Her enthusiasm and commitment inspired me to appreciate my gift of writing, to honor it, and to become a better caretaker of my own life. I now take full responsibility for my decisions. My daily mantra is No More Excuses!
I believe our time here on earth is just a small part of a never-ending journey. For some of us, the trek is long, for others it is short. Either way it’s an opportunity to inspire and help someone. Every interaction we have with another person, whether it’s a family member, a friend, or the stranger standing in line behind us at the supermarket, matters. Often something as small as a smile or hello can make a big difference in a person’s bad day. Atalie understood the power of such a small gesture.
Farewell, my dear friend. Thank you for touching my life in an amazing way.