One of the most vivid memories from my childhood was the day I found out my best friend and cousin had died.

It was a Sunday night and we had just gotten back from church. I remember being so mad at my parents for making us go that night because I would have much rather stayed home to play. Before I knew it, my dad was on the phone receiving news that my cousin, Tiffani, had passed away at 14 years of age.

That was the first time I can remember ever seeing my dad cry.

Tiffani was born with a heart defect. The doctors barely gave her 6 months to live but year after year she proved them wrong. My cousin practically lived in the hospital but she had a spirit that could not be broken. Although we moved away from her when I was 2 years old, each summer the cousins reunited for a couple month stay at my grandparents. My sister and Tiffani’s younger sister were best friends and Tiffani was mine.

Her death was hard on all of us. She took a little piece of us when she left. But the biggest piece, she took from my grandparents.

No summer was the same after Tiffani was gone. Instead of lemonade stands on the street, we went berry picking in the cemetery. It felt like life had ceased to exist.

15+ years later and we have come to today.

Earlier this week my grandma was admitted to ICU for heart failure. Although her heart was weak it was because her lungs kept filling up with liquid that was the main cause. After four days of care she was able to return home.

I was able to take the day off on Sunday to visit her with my parents. As we sat together I saw my grandparents, who I love with all of my heart, not living the life that was meant for them. Instead, in a home filled with pictures of Tiffani, I saw a life they gave up on years ago.

We can so easily live in fear and sadness that we stop living.

That isn’t the life I want to live.

I want to live recklessly: reach for the stars, love with all my being, create something new, and accomplish the impossible.

And I have no time to waste.

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