I’ll be brief and I’ll be real. My sister’s passing has changed me, made me keenly aware of certain things that I only ever saw out of the corner of my eye. Above all, it has set me hundred paces forward on a journey I embarked on last year that I am thrilled to take to it’s ultimate conclusion – living in full colour.
Regina in her own special way has just re-ignited a spark in my belly into a roaring flame. So should you come across me in the coming days, weeks and months and feel that I’m in full throttle, don’t be alarmed, don’t be surprised and above all don’t be worried. Anyone who knew my sister, worked with her, prayed with her, worked-out with her, knows there was a no-nonsense, pragmatic way to how she approached life.
My younger sister has once again given me a wonderful nudge forward and taught me a few lessons that I wish to share with you.
Here’s what I now know for sure:
- Today is all we’ve got, take it, grab, embrace it and live it well. As well as you know how. In your own way. Marching to the beat of your own drum is never a bad thing. She and I said it to each other, to others and today and now more than ever, I re-emphasize it. Live your life, run your race and make the decisions that make sense for you.
- Regina had little patience of hand wringing and empty talk. She was action oriented. The tributes she received said it all. Get on with it – what are you waiting for? Your life is not between the moments of your birth and death. Your life is between now and your next breath. The present – the here and now – is all the life you ever get. So live each moment in full, in kindness and peace, without fear or regret.
- The truth about people is spoken by their actions. You’re going to come across people in your life who will say all the right words at all the right times; but in the end, it’s always their actions you should judge them by. So pay attention to what people do. Their actions will tell you everything you need to know.
- Love those who love you fiercely. Embrace them, kiss them, care for them, let them know they matter. We miss Regina, but none of us is in doubt about how she felt about us and we know she had no doubt about how we felt about her.
- Tell those who matter, what matters to you, that way they are never in doubt about what to do or how to carry on in your absence. Regina was clear from the moment she had her son that she was raising a man and she told us as much - often. From her friends to her pastor to the teachers at my nephew’s school – we are all clear and united in what we know we must do when it comes to Richard to honour his mother.
- Everyone deserves to love and be loved in return. Don't settle for less. Regina was complete and clear about how she felt about those she chose to call friends. She loved them and they loved her and it was clear for all who knew. No grey areas.
- Do the job you have with excellence and zeal. Regina never settled for half measures. Some of her decisions may have made her unpopular with some and even made some people uneasy. But because she was clear what the ultimate goal was, Regina never relented on striving for flawless excellence and execution in anything she sort to do.
- True, honest, strong friendships are a blessing and a choice we get to make. Choose wisely. Regina never had anyone in her circles she didn’t resonate with. Don’t short-change yourself or anyone in your life by giving less than your best or demanding they give you the best of them. Once you find these friendships - treasure them with all the love you can handle.
- Surround yourself with the things that make you happy. That are beautiful in your eyes. The flowers in her house, the burst of yellow in every room, the order of things and doing things was her way. If it was beautiful and made her smile, she treasured it and celebrated it – didn’t matter if you thought it was silly.
- Happiness is when you feel good about yourself without feeling the need for anyone else’s approval. You are your most important relationship. – You must first have a healthy relationship with yourself before you can have a healthy relationship with others. Regina made it a point to ensure that she was good to herself, her mind and her spirit, before embarking on anything with anyone else. After all, you cannot give what you do not have.
Here’s the real deal - A lifetime isn’t very long. Realise that right now you’re lucky because you still have a chance. So stop for a moment and think. Whatever you still need to do, start doing it today. There are only so many tomorrows.
Through Regina I am now truly aware that my time is limited and the life I have is a gift. It is time to use this gift well, starting now. Rest In Peace Reggie and thank you.