Life is so precious and so fragile.
I’ve been struggling this week.
My sweet, loving, kind, caring cousin Mary passed away suddenly, just over 3 weeks from the date her big sister, my cousin Suzy passed away.
I’ve been crying and wondering why. Suzy passed away after battling ovarian cancer for 3 years. She planned her own funeral and even recorded a video of herself to be played at her funeral. Suzy was at peace with leaving and spoke about her deep faith in God in this video.
Mary had a deep faith in God as well, only she didn’t know she was leaving this earth as Suzy did.
You see one year ago; Mary really came to know firsthand just how precious and fragile life is.
She had breathing issues so severe, they needed to put her into an induced coma and on a ventilator. She remained this way for weeks. I’m unclear if they determined what caused her breathing issues in 2018.
Mary came back fighting. Her diligence with her therapies to regain her strength and everything that was weakened by all of this, paid off.
The photo above of Mary, in the center with me, my sister Carol and my sister Karen, was taken at my dad’s 89th birthday party this past April.
Her love of life, God, her family and her knowledge that life is precious and fragile, was intense. The appreciation of simple things, people and relationships were strong.
Mary and her husband Paul celebrated 37 years of marriage in May. They have 5 kids and a one-year old granddaughter. Beautiful family photos were taken in the spring. I found out after she passed away, the family photos were something they had put off for years. Mary wasn’t putting things off anymore.
Suzy and Mary were just over two years apart and were two out of 9 children born to my mom’s brother, Uncle Bob and Aunt Nina. This is the family my family visited with on many Sunday’s after attending the same church. Neither family had very much money, only we had love, fun, laughter and each other. My childhood included all of them regularly.
These two sisters with one more sister, my cousin Gerry, were extremely close. They were all best friends.
In July when I went back to Toledo, my hometown where my parents, siblings and extended family live, I saw Mary and Suzy for the last time. I knew it was my last time to be with Suzy. Only certainly not Mary.
We had a family reunion, and at that time, Mary was beginning to have trouble breathing again. She told me she was seeing the pulmonary doctor in a few days to determine what was going on. The thought was allergies and the humidity.
The day after the reunion, my parents and I said goodbye to Suzy at her home, while she was on hospice care. Her loving son, daughter and husband were there. It was deeply sad as we each said goodbye. There was a peace however about her.
Suzy died a couple weeks after I saw her.
Now this coming Monday and Tuesday, I will be back in Toledo for Mary’s services. I need to be there to be with my whole family as we honor her life. To support her husband, 5 children and her siblings, my cousins.
My shock that Mary’s lung problems turned into her death in just a few short weeks, has me shaken.
There was a very dangerous fungus that was growing in her lungs that didn’t respond to the anti-fungal medicine they gave her. She decided to be put into another induced coma and on a ventilator, just a week after entering the hospital, since her breathing had become so difficult.
Just 3 days later, it became clear that this fungus was destroying her lungs. The family was called in and her husband had to make the difficult decision to take her off life support.
Why? Why did this happen to her now and why so close to her beloved sister leaving?
I don’t have those answers.
What I’m left with is the deep knowing that I need to keep living from a place of the appreciation I talk about all the time. I need to encourage you to do the same.
By sharing from my heart in my blogs, my women’s circles, my retreats, with anyone I coach or meet, I’m remembering life is precious and fragile.
As I am kind, caring, loving and really pay attention to everyone and everything around me, I’m creating a life I won’t regret.
How about you? Do you slow down, pay attention and express how important someone is to you? Do you look around yourself to appreciate nature and your surroundings?
None of us have a guarantee of how long we will be here. For life is so very precious and fragile.
With love and appreciation,
PS. To read more of my blogs:
Below is a photo of Suzy on the left and Mary on the right, before either of them became ill.