My father's younger sister, Alice, passed away last Tuesday. This is the candle that I lit for my Aunt Alice and her children, my cousins Candy and Scott, yesterday at church:
Aunt Alice had been struggling with Alzheimer's for the past few years and while I don't really know much about the disease, I do understand the devastating effects that it has on both the patient and those who love them. I've witnessed several of my dear friends lose their parents to this degenerative disease over the past few years and it is heart wrenching. While I didn't see my Aunt Alice much when I was growing up, except when we'd drive through Virginia on our road trips to and from South Carolina and Massachusetts, oddly enough, I now live less than five miles from where she raised her family. When I drive to work, I pass baseball fields that I'm certain are the same fields where my little cousins played and were captured in the photographs Aunt Alice would always include in her Christmas cards.
With Aunt Alice's passing comes to me the reminder yet again: Life is short. Life is precious. Have an adventure and make memories whenever possible. Even if it means spontaneously busting out a dance move with your family in the middle of cooking dinner. Do your best to be a beacon of joy in this world. Smile more than you scowl.
And whatever you do ... don't forget to tell those that you love just how much you appreciate them.