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When A Friend Passes On, Life Still Sparkles

March 28, 2023

Tuesday Vibes, Tuesday Mood, Inspiration

Teresa Dowe Huggins at Women TIES Retreat

Once in a while if you are lucky enough, you meet someone who inspires you beyond imagination. Tucked inside the space of our minds and hearts, another person’s accomplishment, story or sharing buries itself temporarily within until the moment it springs up, like a daffodil in April.

A number of years ago my friend Teresa told me about the time she did a triathlon in honor of her friend who passed away from cancer. She hadn’t trained for it, but felt moved to do it. I remember wondering what it would be like to do that same thing someday – be so moved by someone that you attempt a big new feat. Well, that Teresa memory sprouted in visible sight for me last week, as I completed my first mini-triathlon with Teresa’s spirit intertwined with mine.

Teresa passed away in August 2022. She loved swimming in my pool. She loved biking on my favorite bike path in Syracuse with me. She walked every day so running was something she could do. Putting them all together in a timed or distanced race is a great way to challenge oneself while enjoying all three sports. She happily completed a triathlon in a friend’s memory.

I contemplated writing Teresa’s name in black ink on my arm so everyone could see it when I competed but I didn’t do it for some reason. As I approached the triathlon registration desk the person asked my name, I replied, “Tracy” to which the person said back, “Teresa? Teresa who?” A smirk came over my face, a “sparkle” (aka goosebumps as Teresa called them) ran up my arm, and I knew Teresa was watching me.

When you lose a close friend at the age of 60, it feels different than losing an older relative who has spent their life filled with memories. When someone “young” dies, it feels tragic somehow, even if that person spent every moment of their life living it to the fullest, like my friend did. What you soon realize is your unique kinship cannot be replaced, and the memories of laughter, love, and friendship are all you have to go on with.

I can tell you for sure, when people pass away, their spirits get intertwined with ours in the unique way they melded with us in life. For me, Teresa lives on in my love for sports and nature, and in experiencing new challenges that bring light, sparkles, and meaning to my life.

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