It was a few weeks ago when I first came across the quote: “you can’t write about life unless you live it.”
Today was one of those days when I could write an anthology of all the stuff I lived through and learned, from hearing Chief Justice Sandra Day O’Connor speak about her story to have an inspirational dinner with a group of new friends, followed by an hour-long conversation with an older woman by the name of Esther.
Esther, I would say, is about 80 years old with the spunkiness of a young adult. She could carry a conversation from A to Z. She and I talked about many topics including her decision to leave Cuba in her 20s, to her favorite type of tea to her lesson and advice she wanted to impart with all the young folks: enjoy life while you have it.
A few year’s back, Esther’s 40 year-old daughter passed away from brain cancer. Many times we think we can plan our lives or that it is supposed to go a certain way. Children to outlive their parents and parents to get old and become useless.
This is not accurate nor acceptable in any regard.
The older group of individuals on this ship have been incredible, open and willing to share their stories, and courageous enough to show off their dance moves. I have always been told that it is very important to hear our parents, grandparents and other elders’ stories, but how many times do we actually listen and do that? I couldn’t recall the last time I sat down for an hour just to hear an older person speak. Sometimes, that’s all they want – to tell a story, to impart wisdom, to be heard again.
The day I flew to the Bahamas to begin my voyage, my family laid my grandmother Beauty’s body to rest. It’s a choice that I made in my life partly from the wisdom that was instilled in me by her: “give me my flowers and roses while I am alive, while I can enjoy them, see them and smell them.” Now, every night I look out into the horizon at the stars in the sky and just smile, because I know she’s out there.
Gather ye rosebuds while ye may. Smell the flowers while you can.
Today was an awesome day and I look forward to tomorrow in Colombia.