The news that YA author L.K. Madigan died yesterday of pancreatic cancer has hit the writing community hard. I never met Lisa but I know she was a fighter, based on her previous battle with breast cancer 20 years ago. I know she was a generous and giving person based on the comments I've seen from writers touched by her life. Her death is a sobering reminder that our lives are fleeting. But it means much more than that.
For starters, we sit and mourn her death while looking in the mirror and asking many questions. One of those is: am I doing all I can in this life to encourage others along their own road whatever that may be? Do we spend time coming alongside people, aiding where we can? This could be as simple as offering a smile or a compliment to the teller at the bank or waitress at the restaurant. Life consists of more than just ourselves. Life is all about relationship. Yes, as writers we spend many lonely hours cloistered in our offices or coffee shops seeking the perfect words. But we all need relationships. They are what enrich our lives and make it worth living. The words we write may or may not live on after we're gone, but the relationships we build; those are eternal.
Cancer is nothing new to me. I've lost a dear family friend to breast cancer. Another dear friend has battled breast cancer, fought it off, only to have it return in her brain. Six years later she battles on. I lost my uncle to a fast-moving cancer five years ago. I've seen other friends lose loved ones to it as well. To say I hate cancer is an understatement.
That's why I believe it's so important to LOVE those special to you while you are here. Don't miss the opportunity to give a hug, offer a smile and say those three precious words, as often as possible. None of us are guaranteed long years on this earth. We should be investing in what is truly important: people. Whether that be friends, a spouse, children, other writers, or extended family, make it happen.
Life is far too short. Make every moment count. No regrets.