She was little and sturdy and moved at lightening speed. And there was a tenderness about her that I felt the first time we met.
I didn’t even know her last name. Our paths crossed only within the four walls of our crossfit studio.
I only know that she was young and full of life.
So when I saw her name scrawled across the work out board last Friday with a date and address next to it, I guessed that she was hosting a holiday party – and was inviting us all.
Except, it was the date and time of her memorial service.
Her warm, bright spirit is gone from this world. Just like that.
It is terribly tragic. There are no other words.
As I drove away from the studio, my mind wandered to the Newtown tragedy and the passing of my sister’s best friend five Christmases ago. I thought about my beautiful friend who lost her little boy this past July – and her first holiday season without him. And Madonna Badger whose three children and both parents passed away tragically in a Christmas morning fire in 2011.
And then I think about some of the nonsense that has filled my mind lately. Like how the time I spend performing simple tasks and routines around the house, or browsing shops, or just sitting with my kids by the tree is somehow less valuable than I time I should be spending writing, connecting, tweeting, growing 52 Dares.
Because if I don’t, my ego whispers (or rather barks), someone else will.
The truth is: I still – at some level – cling to the belief that happiness is created through more – more gifting, more doing, more having, more striving.
But then there’s Esther, Bubba, Josh and the Badger girls.
Gone from this earth. Just like that.
And someday, my time will come, too. Ready or not. As it will for every person that I love.
So my tribute to Esther is this: to celebrate the incredible gift of life that I’ve been given – and the gift of giving life to three other, beautiful people. I will find the sacredness in my days and in the sweet, ordinary moments that accompany being alive.
Because, really, it’s not important to me what’s beneath that Christmas tree. Except those who are sitting around it with me come Thursday morning.
And those niggling goals and voices telling me that I’m not progressing fast enough?
Hush, I say, and let me dance in the joy of life, instead.
Because Esther isn’t here to dance anymore. Or to wow me with her quick, spirited movements.
So I will dance for two this Christmas.
And may you dance, too. For Esther, for Josh, for Bubba, for the Badger girls – and all those you love who don’t get to be here, now.