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“Look, if you had one shot or one opportunity to seize everything you ever wanted in one moment, would you capture it or just let it slip?”

-Eminem

You may be thinking eek/wtf, she’s quoting Eminem. Like his lyrics or hate on him, this post isn’t about the rapper, but rather his words.

I gotta tell you, the song “Lose Yourself” has aided me enormously this summer as I wrestled emotionally with the declining health and since passing of one of my closest friends. Cancer sucks!!!

I put on my headphones, jump on the track at the gym, and sink myself into the music.

The real slim shady comes over me, yo, and I fly.

“You better lose yourself in the music, the moment

You own it, you better never let it go

You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow

This opportunity comes once in a lifetime.”

I’m sure I look insane as I half sprint with tears streaming down my cheeks, listening to “The Gambler,” “All of Me,” “Never Gonna Be Another,” and even “Roar.”

But these sessions are both cleansing and strengthening.

On my runs, I think about my friend Megan and her boys. My force is with my friends who are battling the beast and other health issues. I run longer and harder for them – grateful for my strong legs.

I run and run and run and run and … my mind is free when I run.

My mind is able to drift.

Last November, my husband and I spent an extended weekend in California to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary.

We stayed one night at his cousin’s house in San Francisco.

In the morning, I opened her kitchen cabinet to grab a glass for water and was delighted to find two rows of Bonne Maman jam jars for glassware.

The sight of these jars transported me to my junior year abroad in Aix-en-Provence, France, and my heart filled. My family regularly eats this jam now, but it wasn’t since I was twenty that I saw these jars used for beverages.

Junior year, my friends and I repurposed these jars for glasses for water because we didn’t have the money or the resources for anything else. I’d pad my morning baguette with strawberry and four fruits confiture and when a jar emptied, I’d rise it and line it next to the others to be a vehicle for water, juice, or most likely wine. We drank a lot of wine in these jars.

That year of my life transformed it into what it is today. It was a pinnacle year for me – I formed many of my best memories and friends in France. It’s why I do what I do today – teach French.

I’ve made it known that I’m a fan of talismans and memory keepers. This is why I’m sure comes as no surprise that I enjoy acquiring hodgepodge glassware that take me back to different times and places – a coffee mug with birds from Door County or a pint glass from a leisurely lunch at Highway 1 Brewing Company.

Seeing the Bonne Maman jars at his cousin’s house inspired me to collect the French jam jars to reuse as water and juice glasses.

I have a set of six that remind me of that year and the friends I made.

One of those lovelies was my friend Megan.

Megan was truly someone. She was a riot, but more than that, she was someone who did. She was someone who knew that life is full of little moments and she lived in them. She inspired me to explore and find adventure. She wasn’t afraid to try something new and set foot on uncharted and less traveled roads. She was smart, so wicked fun, and made me laugh in ways like no other. She was feisty. Some will push down on that quality, but she reminded me that yes, yes! Be on fire. Be feisty!

Through her passing, I also know:

You have today. Today is the day.

Live and love fiercely.

Seize your moments.

Be bold.

Be you.

Hug your loved ones as long as to can.

Ciao.

Rudey

P.S. This post is in loving memory of my dear friend, Megan (January 8, 1976 – August 23, 2015). Blue skies and peace to you, ma cherie. xo.

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