Six years ago today, an eight-year-old boy went to the emergency room because he had a severe cough. What no one realized at the time was that he was actually having a stroke. Next morning, as all his classmates were getting up - ready to head back to school after a long summer vacation - he took his last breath.
His name was Yuto. He was my cousin's only child. The end of his life was the beginning of my spiritual journey. Because how could you not wake up? How could you keep on living in the same old way, when you are looking at your own child and it hits you - He doesn't have a protective bubble around him. He can be taken away from you just as easily.
It took a long time for me to come to terms with everything. It seemed so unfair. It didn't make sense. Eventually, I got to the point where I accepted what happened and promised myself that I would enjoy and live my life to the fullest so that his passing would not be in vain. And every year, on the first of September, I would assess my life to see if I was living up to that promise.
This year, I'm noticing a slight but a significant change. Rather than just saying that I should be enjoying my life to the fullest, I'm at a point now where I know I DESERVE to enjoy my life to the fullest. (In fact, we ALL do.) Rather than be somber all day long, I want to do things that make me happy. I feel like that will make Yuto infinitely more happy than having me sit there and be sad, or worse, sit there and criticise myself for not living my life to the fullest.
So, my husband and I took my oldest, who is also eight years old this year, to Manhattan this past weekend. Just the three of us, so that we can give him our full attention even if it was for a few hours. We went to a show and enjoyed a delicious dinner. The full moon that night, as well as the Manhattan skyline, was gorgeous. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and I loved everyone and everything in this universe. And that, I think, was the best tribute I could ever make to a boy who headed toward heaven with a most peaceful smile on his face.
If you've read this thing all the way through, I have a favor to ask of you. Please do something right now, right this minute, that will make you feel happy. If not for me, then for yourself and for Yuto. He didn't leave this world early to make us live in fear that our life or our children's lives will be cut short. He's teaching us that if we have something we'd like to do, do it now! If you have someone that you love in your life, tell them now! Carpe Diem. Seize the day. Gather ye rosebuds while ye may....