Three days from now marks the sixth anniversary of my friend Jenesse’s passing. She’s the girl who made me promise to write a book one day; the one responsible for starting me on this amazing journey.

For those of you who have lost a loved one, you know that the anniversary of their death exacerbates our underlying sorrow. We tend to live it all again – the loss – and either swallow hard or shed the buckets of tears that have been storing up since the last pang hit us. We also tend to play over in our minds all of the moments that defined our relationship and everything that made that person special.

leana-jenesse_edited-4I lost another friend to cancer recently – damned f%#@ing disease – who also lived his passion and left a legacy of inspiration. Larry Wayne Clark, songwriter extraordinaire.

A strong man with a gentle spirit, Larry continued to follow his dream even in the face of a grim prognosis. He maintained his numerous friendships across the miles and continued to create some of the finest goosebump inducing songs I’ve ever heard. He is missed.

cd-frontAmidst the sorrow, however, I am making an effort to remind myself to show gratitude. Gratitude for having known these two fine individuals and gratitude for the ability to continue my dream and live my passion without the imminent threat of it all coming to an end. If Jenesse and Larry could continue following their passions in the face of illness, there’s no excuse for me not following mine in perfect health.

I know it’s cliché to say, “Live each day as though it may be your last,” but . . . Really? We can. I’ve seen it done.

Embrace the ones you love, encourage their wildest dreams, and ask, in return, that they encourage yours. To quote one of my favorite songs of Larry’s, “I want to live like that.”