06 January 2016

Allie Sunshine

In my 38 years there have been a few souls that I have been lucky enough to love and unfortunately have lost.  It is however, only through losing them though that I was able to learn so much about life and about myself.

Today marks the 1 year anniversary of the world losing an amazing young woman. Today as much as I want to celebrate her life and her impression on us all, my heart feels as heavy as it does full.  An example to us all left behind of bravery, of compassion, of wonder and of love.  She was a teacher - not just by profession but in life.  We are all left better for the lessons she taught us.  One of her dearest "soul sisters" put it this way: "What do you want to be remembered for teaching?" and then listed all of the ways this dear girl taught and guided her.  

Though my philosophy of putting love out into the universe has always been a part of me, Allison reinforced the feeling to do so without hope of reciprocation or even validation.  When I rode the Ride to Conquer Cancer this year, I rode proudly with a flower on my helmet as a tribute to her.  This flower will remain there for each subsequent ride - reminding me to find the pleasure in something so simple and sweet.  To feel the pain in my legs or the rain on my shoulders and rejoice in the fact that what challenges me is what also propels me further.  To make me grateful that I am alive to celebrate, to make a difference, to help others to grow and if I am so lucky, to make some sort of a difference. 

I have never in my lifetime left a memorial service so full of hope and love and inspiration as I did hers. I sat there holding hands with another dear friend as we fought to simultaneously hold on and let go of this sweet soul.  As we sat and listened to Jillian speak I was inspired to be a better friend - to not be afraid to share the love and light I find within me.  To know that we are all unique and our lives are short.  Never had I been witness to such love as when Jeremy spoke of his departed wife and there I knew that this was the kind of love I desired to find in life.   At the close of her funeral, I stood there attempting to sing You Are My Sunshine with a quivering voice and I knew at that moment I was forever changed. 

If anyone says that one person does not make a difference in the world, they never met Allison. The amount of sunshine photos that filled our news feeds on Facebook today, the number of lives simply touched by her being in them, pays tribute to the amazing woman that she was and truly how she left the world a better place.

What do we hope our legacy to be? I recounted this in the eulogy to my father and I think of it when I think of Allison.  Her days on earth may have been short but her spirit will truly live on in so many.  It is through losing her that we have all gained so much perspective. I know that there is a reason that our lives connected. I am honoured to have shared in her light.  To have practiced next to her mat.  To have felt her energy in my heart - guiding me, inspiring me, teaching me.     

Allie shared my love of words with inspirations and quotes posted daily through her Allie Sunshine 365 Facebook page.  Many times these words resonated with me, taught me something or reminded me of hope that was already within me.  Her manifesto has for the past year, sat prominently on my fridge so that I've come to read it almost daily.  What I have learned about myself in this past 365 days of putting those words into practice is astonishing.  Through practicing daily gratitude I recognize more of what Allison was sent to teach us. This year as I strive for contentment, I remember to appreciate what surrounds me.  What we put out into the universe directly affects us and those around us.  I'm sure her impact touched those that she never even imagined reaching simply because those of us that were inspired by her shared that inspiration and extended that reach. 

Today I look at what she has taught me this past year.  I have been more mindful, more reflective.  I have tried every day to find the meaning.  To find something to be grateful for or a lesson to have learned. 

As a good friend said earlier today - the world isn't darker now without her but conversely the sun shines even brighter now as her spirit lives on through us all.  She is there in the sunshine, in the song blaring on the car radio, in everything that glitters and in all those who believe in magic.  

I feel grateful for her guidance and her strength.  What sometimes comes from overpowering grief, is the gift of gratefulness. How blessed were we with her presence - to have been touched by an angel who has left this world a better place simply by living in it. 

Shine on dear friend.  Shine on in all of our hearts.  Shine on in our example to others.  Shine on. Shine on. Shine on. xo xo  

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