Every sunset brings the promise of a new dawn. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
[R.I.P Anthony. Gone but never forgotten. <3]
Ever since I can remember the sun has been my favorite part of the solar system. When I was younger I always drew the sun as the ‘big smiley face in the sky with shades’ – but now that I’m older I realize that I wasn’t too far off.
The sun is so powerful that it can radiate through the highest mountain peaks to the deepest souls. Shining light-years away, the sun illuminates our world, gives us happiness, strength and the opportunity for new beginnings. It’s amazing that a dose of sunshine can have a contagious effect on the entire community that it shines on.
Born on November 25th, 1989, my cousin Anthony was the sunshine for my family and I. Ant looked after me, ensuring my happiness and protecting me from the pain of rainy days. Ant taught me valuable life lessons. As any older cousin would, I remember him throwing me into the pool after I shoved cake in his face. I quickly learned to always respect your elders. I still remember pillow fights, pizza fritte, and roller blading around the driveway. When I was 6, Ant and my older cousin Joe created the ‘pumpkin men’ who would ‘come out to get me’ at cousin sleepovers. They didn’t realize it at the time but they really helped to grow my imagination – while scaring me half to death. Thanks guys.
I can still remember Anthony driving me around and chatting about life – inspiring a confidence within me to become a stronger person. I’ll never forget the time he called me at college to lift me up after my latest heartbreak. Anthony was my pillar of strength. He had an immense impact on the people around him – family, friends and the friends that should really be fam. He always said;
‘Family over everything.’
Fast-forward a few years later to March, 2016 and I’m landing at Perth Airport in Australia – with bloodshot eyes, week-old clothes and a bag packed full of things I didn’t even remember owning. After about a week of job hunting and searching high and low for housing – I settled on one of the most beautiful beaches in Scarborough, Western Australia. The beach stretched for miles lining crystal blue water that instilled an awe of vastness, power and beauty. It’s amazing how the beach, in it’s simplest form can teach the greatest of life lessons. Life really is better on the beach.
As I sat grabbing at handfuls of fine white sand watching it escape my fingers into the wind – I felt time pause. Each grain of sand felt like a memory of time, a recollection of people past; that had all come together to form something special- this present moment. As it filtered through my fingers I could feel time slipping away – I found myself reflecting on my life thinking about the moments lost, the smiles shared and the words left unsaid. Life is short.
I waded into the water, staring into the horizon and listening to the lull of waves crashing in the background. With every wave I could feel the pull from the tide under my feet. That day rushed back. I remembered the hopelessness, sadness, loss of control and tragedy trying to pull me under. When you least expect it, the biggest waves can come crashing down on you; tumbling you in the current – unable to breathe, completely disoriented with no idea which way is up. As the wave kisses the shore we resurface, catching our breath and attending to the bruises and battle scars.Tough times don’t last but tough people do.
It’s been almost 3 years since Ant left us. We’ve been tumbling in the waves, gasping for air, searching for the sand flying in the wind and fighting against the sunset. I remember the day. The gaping hole left in my chest. The cold chills that ran down my spine. They say that time heals everything – but I wondered, can it really heal everything? My life and the ones of those I love most had changed forever.
As I sit on Scarborough Beach watching the sky light up in a rainbow of colors, tears filled my eyes and began streaming down my face. The sun that had once warmed my soul had set. The sand that I once held had become cold and the darkness began to flood in around me. In that moment of darkness everything became clear.
The sun doesn’t shine on us, it shines from within us;
To bring light on gloomy days. To share happiness with the ones we love. To rise again out of the darkness. To smile. To lift up the people around us. To light up a room with joy. To have the opportunity to begin again. To give hope to the world.
The sunset that brings the darkest night produces the brightest stars. We think that we have time. ‘Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it but you can use it. You can’t keep it but you can spend it. Once it’s gone you can never get it back.’
We spend our moments wishing for tomorrow and without realizing it we often miss the only gift that is really ours – this present moment. Every day is a second chance. A new opportunity to live. Take advantage of the time you have with the people you love. Tomorrow is not guaranteed. Today is the day to love, dream and grow.
As the stars began to light up the night sky, I could still hear the waves, continuing on, crashing on the sand – encouraging us to do the same. There is no tidal wave strong enough to break the family bond. There is no wind strong enough to erase cherished memories. There is no darkness without a new dawn. No one said that it would be easy, they just told us it’d be worth it. Even though the sun has set – it never stops shining, we just have to look above the clouds. ❤
Enjoy the little things in life. One day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things.
R.I.P. Anthony ❤ April 24, 2013