Monday morning started out like any other Monday morning – quiet. As much as I wanted to stay in bed for just a bit longer, I had so much to do. I was just about to leave the house when I received a phone call from my mom. Her noticeable grim tone worried me.
My sweet niece had passed away during the night at a young age of 29. I felt an overwhelming feeling of shock and disbelief. I remain devastated.
Her name was Tiffani. I always thought of her as my sweet Tiffani. She was my number one fan, always intrigued by the photographs in the magazine and often asked me to sign a copy for her when a new issue would come out.
Despite a number of serious health conditions that she battled with all her life, if you ever met Tiffani in person, her diminishing health would not be the first thing you would notice. Instead, you would be immediately drawn to her bubbling personality and warm radiant demeanor as she would welcome friends, family and strangers alike. Even though she was a young lady, Tiffani was a child at heart.
Just as how no one who met her could forget her exuberant laughs, she never forgot anyone’s face. Even after years of meeting someone, Tiffani would ask me how he or she was doing. Her sincere concern for others, despite her own ailing health, displayed her selflessness and inner resilience.
In spite of her young age, Tiffani wisely taught me, without really having to put it into words, the imperativeness to live for the present. As a person who probably knew from the very beginning that she had less sand in her hourglass, Tiffani took delight in every minute milestone, even if they had no significance.
On Facebook, I always see inspirational quotes passed around to revel the moment and to seize the day. However, it is easy to neglect such simple wisdom. In Tiffani’s memory, her beautiful smile etched in my mind, serves as a reminder not to mourn her death, but to celebrate her life … and mine as well. Therefore, I will take a respite from the daily “to do” list and enjoy something simple like this beautiful New England summer day, first by blowing away my gray clouds.
A toast to life full of small celebrations,
P.S. This is a photo of Tiffani and my goat Socrates. When she first placed eyes on him, Tiffani ran to Socrates and hugged him unconditionally as she would all those that she loved.