"Life is unjust and this is what makes it so beautiful. Every day is a gift. Be brave and take hold of it."
— Garrison Keillor
Perhaps you have noticed the quotations that circulate on my blog (right-hand side) each time you visit or refresh the page, "Marie's Favorite Quotes." Every few days, I post whatever quote pops up at random on my Facebook page. This was the quote of the day, today.
Synchronicity...because over the weekend we learned some horrible news. Mike's cousin's 20-year-old daughter was killed last week in a head-on traffic collision. We didn't know Jenna well, because we didn't see her often. We hadn't, in fact, seen her since 2004 at the last extended-family gathering. She was the junior bridesmaid (aka flower girl) at Mike's sister's wedding, and we first met her when she was an adorable, happy little baby. She loved her family and her friends, and she seemed to have a wonderful relationship with her brother Alistair and her younger cousins.
I probably know more parents who have outlived their children than most people. At any age, it is never anything but life destroying and tragic. I can't get her parents out of my mind--she had so much promise and hope yet to come. They had raised her to be a loving, fun young woman (judging from the many messages and photos posted on her Facebook tribute page by her friends). She was a teacher's assistant and had been training to be a preschool teacher.
Our dear friends Catherine and Doug were told at the birth of their 23-weeker, Parker, to treat every day with him as a gift. Parker lived for 7 days, and Catherine and Doug still view that week as one of the most precious gifts of their lives.
As if I needed another reminder, this quotation jerks me back again to that reminder to treat each encounter with my loved ones, each day I am healthy and active, each moment I am alive as gifts. May we constantly remind ourselves.
Jenna with her cousins in 2004
And more recently, as a young woman: