November 15: Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift that's why it's called present

I have been mulling over starting a blog for quite a while. And it recently hit me, what better time to officially “launch” it than November 15.  This date of course holds some significance for me. This is the birthday of one of my dearest friends who was taken away way too soon. It’s been about 5 years since his passing…and I’ve had a lot of time to reflect, pray and cry about losing someone very close to me. So I figured on what would have been his 33rd birthday which falls on Thursday (day he was born) it would be fitting to celebrate a new phase of my journey by sharing a bit more of me with the world. He would have been so proud of this blog and probably have been the first person to log on to comment. He was one of my most vocal cheerleaders and always encouraged me to go to higher grounds.  

We were friends from childhood and he was the first boy to give me butterflies. When I moved from Ghana, he wrote to me and often. We talked on the phone whenever we could. We shared a love of music and he sent me CDs of the latest music in Ghana whenever he could. He was instrumental during my high school years…encouraging me to stay strong regardless of what I was experiencing and how difficult it was for me to adjust to my new world. In college he kept up with the letters and phone calls. During this time we got closer…after some time apart. We were both growing up and experiencing different phases of our lives. Being four years older meant that he experienced life before I did and got to give me advice as to how to manipulate through my world. Thanks to technology, we were able to keep in touch with emails and more regular phone calls. I was in grad school when he died. Less than a week before his passing we had chatted online…the last thing we exchanged before he logged off was “I love you”. This has been a very reassuring part of me losing my friend…he knew I love him.

Since then I have lost few other loved ones…each time it was even more difficult to accept that I would never talk to them or see them again.

Losing my friend taught me quite a bit. We had been friends for so long and many times I took our friendship for granted. After he passed and I started to mourn his loss, I realized that my tears of sadness  had become tears of regret…I was really crying because I regretted not spending more time with him or talking more to him or whatever else I could come up with. That feeling impressed on me so much more than realizing that I had lost him. I could accept that it was God’s will and that he was in a better place. But I struggled with the idea that I hadn’t done more as a friend.

This ushered me into a place of growth…I realized that life really is too short and I could not afford living in regret. This meant that I had to take others into consideration in all my actions. If anything were to happen to them, I could not afford to be regretful about the way I treated them. This meant spending more time with people I love, being positive around them, taking care of them, and loving them with all of me. My goal with all the connections I have made is to give them my best.
Gift from Yao in 1998
It has been very challenging to constantly do the right thing. But I’ve learned to forgive faster, laugh more, love harder and work on being in the present. I’ve been blessed to meet a lot of people…many of whom I’ve had a solid connection. I hope to continue building friendships, relationships and of course grow from my interactions with so many wonderful people.
So Yao, this blog is dedicated to you. Thank you for being such a friend to me. Thanks for being my first valentine…you’ll always be my valentine.  Even though you passed on our favorite holiday, I will always celebrate Valentine ’s Day with love in my heart. And I will continue to share my love with all the special people around me.  Happy birthday, sweetie. Much love always.   

Half-stepping diva