There is beauty in tragedy. For tragedy has the power to motivate the human mind. It can turn weaknesses into strengths and become greatness. Why would you focus on the storm, when you can focus on the rainbow?
— Mirtha Michelle Castro Marmol
Some months ago, a friend of mine since middle school sent this quote to her closer circle of friends, reminding us that not only life is non-discriminating, but tragedies we encounter in life can truly change us from persons with hidden weaknesses to persons with open strengths. One of her closer friends shared this particular quote to the rest of us on Facebook. When I used to work back at the bakery a year before, that short-term job brought me reunions of the people I’ve met and grew up with since the beginning of my life here in the U.S. This particular friend just happened to be one of them.
When I served her with her orders over the counter, she wanted to have a small get-together, whether if it’s over coffee or lunch or whatever so we can catch up from the last time we’ve seen each other.1 Later today after I finish writing this entry, I’m finally going to get together with her, except today is the last time I’m going to see her, and that I will be saying goodbye to her.
She passed away last Thursday of some respiratory complications involving her stem cell transplant that she had last year. Before that, she had been battling lymphoma for many years and yet she came out triumphant with a smile on her face. I guess her battle systems never expected to fight a brand-new foe, so to speak, and this new foe was too much for her defenses. She finally said “yes” to God to join him up in heaven.
I’ve written some blog entries here regarding the tragedies I’ve faced and about the people in my life who left our world way too early. I’m not going to write a whole long entry about who she is and how she has impacted many lives including those she wasn’t even able to meet in real life. But instead, I would like to remind the world, just as she did, that even though life isn’t always giving us happy endings, tragedies do give us a chance to create happier beginnings. And while we are still living and breathing today and onward, the beginning of living the life to the fullest always begins from a loss of a loved one.
I would say that she truly was extremely blessed. She had lived a successful life with her own family, three healthy and wonderful children at that. She made many more new friends as much as she kept her current friends and was able to reach out to the friends she’s made in the past, even if that may be the last time that they would see each other. I could tell with the types of posts she would make on Facebook as well as putting up plenty of smiling photos of herself in different colors.2 Never have I’ve seen her complain about her long-term pain, which truly shows that she is a true warrior beneath the sweet smile, the pretty face, and her happy outlook towards life.
Death and tragedy, well, I’ll just say life overall, truly is non-discriminating. Your life may even end just a few minutes after you were born. They can give you signs of those final days or they can just hit you like a runaway car ramming you from behind. One way or the other, we should always keep in mind to live our life to the fullest regardless of your health. Those who are perfectly healthy can even die much earlier than those who have been living with a chronic disease.3 Never take your life in vain. Do not waste it, regardless of your reasons why.
On the sidenote...
- that was back on high school Graduation Day, about 19-20 years ago [↩]
- If you know someone who is or was a cancer patient, you should know what I mean by this. [↩]
- like her with cancer, me with diabetes [↩]