I’m not at my happiest today. There is a sadness welling up inside because today would have been the 45th birthday of one of my closest, dearest, brightest friends. Marnie passed away last year on Mothers Day after a long battle with breast cancer which spread to the bone and the brain.
I was blessed to enjoy her last Christmas with her. Marnie and her son, Ayron, came to stay for the December holidays. We went to the most beautiful Christmas services together. We held hands and sobbed during the carol singing. Though we chose not to discuss it, in those moments we both knew Marnie would not celebrate another Christmas. It was a bitter sweet time.
Marnie was one of those larger than life characters. Someone who literally lit up the room when she danced into it. Usually laughing or chattering. Loudly. She was vivacious, fun, incredibly capable and clever. Marnie wore bright colours and loved dressing up to the nines. She was gorgeously full of life and love. Game to try anything. She had so much energy and drive. We all adored her because she was so passionate about everything. Bubbly. Enthusiastic. Positive. Yet pragmatic and practical. Charismatic. Magnetic. She had a heart of gold.
Marnie did tremendous work in the community. She ran a company called Voluntours. Volunteers, mostly from USA, UK and Europe, would pay to come to South Africa to do some kind of community service. Marnie’s favourite project was Mapoch Ndebele Village. She knew each of the villagers and their children by name, half adopting some of them. There was almost always someone staying in Marnie’s home. Her friends were her extended family.
I count myself very lucky to have been one of that extended family. And so, today, as I celebrate her life and friendship and sisterhood once again, I am reminded to live as she did. To choose happiness. In this moment, right now. While I have my health. And my beautiful family and friends.
Life is short. And filled with blessings, beauty, joy and marvels.
If Marnie came as a Teacher, this was surely one of her greatest lessons: Choose Happiness… and bless others with your overflowing joy. Shine.