Community//

Living for My Friend Who Died

Losing one of my best friends at a young age taught me how to live the rest of my life.

Live every moment you can.
Live every moment you can.

I believe in being alive.

This concept is deeply personal to me. For me, it came to me when my husband and I were once walking and talking and we made a commitment that we would “Be Alive.” That meant that we understood our time here was limited, and that there is a deadline for manifesting good in our lives. It’s something we often say to each other, especially when things are annoying and tough. It’s a reminder that to Be Alive is to feel everything, the good and the bad, and to eventually get to higher ground.

One of my most treasured possessions is a simple necklace made of leather string with a hand-stamped silver circle that simply reads “Be Alive.” My husband gave it to me one Christmas after we made this pact to live our lives to the fullest and without fear. I wear it often, but mostly I wear it on the days when I need a shield of strength to protect me or inspire me or both. During the most difficult periods of my life, wearing it allowed me to touch it whenever I felt tense or nervous. For me, this necklace and those words have magical powers. I wear it as a reminder of how far I have come, and how far I can go.

I have one other sacred possession that reminds me to Be Alive.

It is a simple picture frame that contains the back of a senior picture from one of my best friends in high school, Tim Greenly. Back in 1992, he scrawled this message on the back of his picture to me:

Ree —

You lived through it!

Now go into the real world and achieve greatness like I know you can.

Love,

Tim


At the height of my workplace trauma right before I lost my job, I found his picture when I was cleaning out my closet. I promptly stuck it in a frame and put it on my desk. It wasn’t his picture in the frame, but those beautiful words he wrote on the back. Those words give me strength on the dark days, the good days, and every damn day. It is a constant reminder that I would rather have Tim Greenly define me than anyone else.

The extra dose of meaning behind this powerful little picture is this: Tim was born with a heart defect and died suddenly at 21. His death is a monumental loss to humanity. For someone with a defective heart, he had one of the best hearts of any human I have ever known. I get choked up just thinking about him.

I choose to Be Alive for Tim. I owe it to him to live this life that was so cruelly taken from him at such a young age. Even when the bad shit comes my way, I still have this life and I can change course when I need to and make the adjustments necessary to live my best life.

No matter how bleak things have been for you, you are alive. Value that deeply. Get out there and create your destiny on your terms.

Be Alive.

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