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I keep encountering death in February which is why I waited to write this blog in March. Last year, it was my cousin, Sasha. She was barely 20, full of life and dreams and passion, and she slipped away on a Sunday morning when nobody was looking. Her grandmother returned from church and found her slumped over on the floor. The tough thing is, I hadn’t spoken to Sasha in a few months and two days before she passed, I told myself I was going to Facebook her but for some reason, I didn’t. I figured I had time…

This year, it was my friend Jackie Pearson. Her daughter and one of my best friends, Tecia, passed away during the same month (February 16) in 2009. Tecia and I had texted our usual good-night texts, and the next morning she didn’t come to work. I drove to Tecia’s house already knowing she was gone, and I was right. I found her in her bedroom, looking peaceful, but completely gone from this present world. We had made all these plans for the summer…trip to Seattle, return to Jamaica…more fun time and less work time…but now I have to make those plans with someone else.

So when Jackie passed, I had to take a minute and ask God what he was trying to tell me. I know dying is a part of living, but February was starting to have an ominous feeling about it and I needed some clarity. I had just visited Jackie and I had been doing so for the past couple of weeks. She was rehabing in a nursing home which she wasn’t very happy about. She was all smiles, as usual. Curtis was coming to pick up her in a little while, and she was happy to be going home for the weekend. We watched “Deal or No Deal” on t.v., laughed at the corny costumes, and talked about sugar-free candy (Jackie was a diabetic). I kissed her on the forehead, told her I loved her and I would see her next week, and I left.

The next time I saw Jackie, she was fighting for her life in the hospital. She was on a respirator, her body was breaking down, and after a few days of fighting, she too passed away.

I really, really needed God to explain all of these death encounters to me. I didn’t want to develop a phobia for February. It is one of my favorite months. I love it’s uniqueness. I begin to pray and reflect and I would like to share with you, what God told me:

“Danielle, each of these people impacted your life and you impacted theirs. You did well at times with managing those relationships, and at other times, you made excuses, refused to call, ignored the obvious, and avoided confrontation. Yet, Sasha, Tecia, and Jackie loved you and admired you. You gave them good memories and taught them life lessons. They taught you as well.

I am not trying to scare you or teach you. I just want to make you aware that your life as well as everyone else’s life is in my hands.

What I want you to do, Danielle, is live with a new awareness that tomorrow is not promised. Forgive, laugh, let go, and heal. Every idea, dream, gift, talent, and purpose that I have placed within you, start using it today. Don’t wait a moment later to write that letter, dial that number, develop that business plan, or prepare that sermon. Sasha lived. Tecia lived. Jackie lived too. Let them be your examples and stop waiting for the right moment…the right environment…the right person. I AM the right moment. I AM the right environment. I AM the right person.

Danielle, it is time for you to live like you were dying because you are. The day that you cease to be, is up to me. Until then, spring off the life boards of the people that have gone on before you, and enjoy the journey. The baton has been passed to you. Run. What are you waiting for?

Go,

The clock is ticking.”

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