If I died tomorrow, I would die happy if on my tombstone reads the following:
Loving and amazing daughter, sister, friend, wife and mom.
I would hope that people would say the following about me:
- I loved my family a lot and I made my parents proud.
- I was an amazing friend to everyone in my life. I was the person you called in an emergency and I would be there and I would do whatever I could to help someone as best as I can.
- I was nice to all those around me and did what I could to help anyone with any request.
- When I find Mr. Right, I was an amazing wife and he loved me more than anyone could.
- When it is time for me to be a mom, I hope I raise really good kids and I was the best mom to them.
Death and mortality is never a light topic to think about, but it’s very real. Unfortunately, we are not cats with nine lives, we only have one. And I do believe you have to make the most of it and really decide what matters in life.
And everyone’s definition of what matters most is very subjective. For those who knew me in my younger years, I was the same as everyone else. I wanted to be superstar in my career, even if that meant working crazy hours. I wanted to be independent and wealthy, but that all changed in a few seconds.
My life and mindset completely changed about 2 years ago after a big car accident literally two minutes from my house. When I saw the car running the stop sign at about 50 miles per hour, ready to hit my side, I didn’t know if I was going to survive, my last thought was that I ignored my mom’s call while I was shopping and I might not be able to tell her I loved her.
I remember after being cut out of the car by the firefighters, the EMT (side note: was very handsome and I remember he asked if I was heading to a party because I was so dressed up, pretty sure even injured I blushed), sheriff, and doctor all told me I must have had angels looking out for me because most people in this type of accident come out broken and battered or dead. Later on my neurologist and my attorney said the same thing that a T-Bone accident is the worst type of accident.
Everyone will have a different moment that changes their life. That was my moment. I realized how precious and fragile life is. And when I thought I was going to die, nothing else mattered except for my parents, family, and friends.
The aftermath of the accident was one of the biggest struggles in my life. I was in the best shape of my life, I was healthy, and going out all the time. It all came to a halt and my life was filled with physical therapy and doctor appointments, crippling neck and back pain, even some memory issues and to date I struggle at times to understand my emotions. I would have extreme mood swings and I didn’t know why one moment my anger would rise out of nowhere, why I would be so happy and the next moment I would be sad. As time went on, I was diagnosed with traumatic brain injury and was given the tools to control the emotions. I still have moments of ups and downs, but I’ve figured out mechanisms to manage it.
The brain is an amazing and complex piece of your body, even after an impact where you are thrown around like a tumbleweed, it can slowly mend itself, but just like humpty dumpty, you won’t ever fully get put back together again.
In many senses, I was never the same after that and it is a positive and negative thing. I had to face something many people my age didn’t with ongoing health issues. But that moment was also in many ways a blessing in disguise.
I learned to prioritize my life, I lived in the moment versus living for tomorrow, and I learned what is really important: Family, good friends, loving yourself, and also opening yourself up to loving someone else. Life is nothing without love.
Life is short and honestly you don’t know if you have tomorrow. You truly only have today. I have always taken a lot of pictures, but I think after the accident, I realized when you die, all you have for your loved ones are pictures and random video clips to be remembered by. So it has exponentially increased my need to take pictures.
At the end of the day, I hope everyone realizes money isn’t everything. Money comes and goes all the time. You lose money in one venture and earn it in another venture. Money shouldn’t be the end all and be all that drives your life and I know many people who have chosen the wrong path to make more money. Life is about making great memories because at the end of our life, that’s all that we have. And as they say, you can’t take money with you to the grave.
Our priority should be good health because without it, we have nothing. If you don’t take care of yourself and you get sick, even the richest people will give up everything to live an extra day. And then to be good and give as much love to all those around you.
To love and be loved is the greatest gift of all.