Last Saturday was a nightmare.

As soon as I woke up I saw a dozen missed calls and texts from my sister informing me that my family was putting down my dog. Because Weed was my 16th birthday present and my best companion and baby for 8 years, I cried for a good hour or two and then got myself together to trade in the tears for Death by Chocolate Ice-cream.

Later that day my life was put completely into perspective. A few hours after my dog left this world, my friend’s mom was on a run and suddenly suffered a heart-attack and died instantly. Right at that moment I was taken back 8 years to the time I was in her same position.

In 2006 my grandfather suffered a stroke and he didn’t make it through the night. It didn’t make sense to me at the time. Sure, he had been sick a lot like most old people, but he always came home after a visit to the hospital. That day in 2006, we never saw him again after being taken by ambulance to the nearest hospital.

I think people with the most beautiful souls are those that have faced the toughest challenges life has to offer them. In order to fully appreciate life and take the time to appreciate the little things, something much bigger must change you. I would walk a thousand miles to see my grandpa just for one minute and do anything in the world to bring him back. However, his passing has made me a better person. I would never wish what I have gone through onto anyone else, especially another grandchild. My heart aches watching my friend realize she will never go wedding dress shopping with her mom, she will never give her own children a grandmother, and will she will never write another Mother’s Day card- just as I will never experience  the little things in life with my beloved grandpa, again.

You really have no idea how long you will be here. Being healthy does not ensure that any of us is free from harm or random accidents that can take our lives in the blink of an eye. Things happen without warning. So live right here and right now. Tell the people nearest to you how much they mean to you as often as you can.

And to quote Martina McBride, “…when you get the chance to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance”.