Time has a way of playing funny tricks on our lives. Sometimes a year can pass and it will seem like it was just yesterday, or something that is only a week a way feels like an eternity; the thing about time though, is that it is all really just based on our personal perceptions. I woke up today, smiling, happy, and even giggling a bit, and it is because of some of the wonderful people I have in my life now, but not every morning is like that... just over a month ago, I struggled in the mornings because my reality would hit me every time I woke up, which is not an entirely unfamiliar feeling to me either; six and eight years ago, I experienced similar (though far more intense) feelings of heartbreak and loss, every morning, every night, and most of the day in between.
Gratefully, I have moved past the feelings of sadness and pain, but as the date of October 28 seeped into my awareness, I realized what today was, and couldn't help reflecting. In 2007, I was at a halloween party hosted by some of my close friends - one that turned into a true horror story that would haunt me in my nightmares for months, and that has been seared into my memory forever. Three young men, two of which I had been friends with, were killed in a tragic and senseless act of violence; RIP Derek Jensen, Nathan "Tonopah" Viljoen, and Charles "Coogan" Kelly. In all of my experiences with death, I've noticed that the most common feeling people express (both myself and others), is that they wish they could've told the person how much they loved them one more time, quickly followed by the wish that they could've made sure the person knew that throughout whatever argument they'd had, they forgave the person and still loved them.
In 2010, three years after the Halloween party, I decided to create a sort of memorial holiday week - Love Week; a movement that I hoped might spread but that I really did primarily as a coping mechanism for myself and the people closest to me who had experienced the same loss. I had felt that wish of wanting to express my love one last time in 2005, and after the Halloween party, I saw how intensely everyone affected had wished for the same thing. I didn't want to live my life with those painful wishes anymore, so I decided that, even if it was just for a week, I would do everything in my power to make sure that the people I care about knew how much I cared.
These losses taught me to appreciate life and love while we have it, so to honor the men who helped teach me these lessons through the tragedy of loss, I hoped to transform what had been such a painful time into something that could radiate love; something that could truly bring these lessons into action, not just theory. From 2010-2012, Love Week was almost consuming in how many people I reached out to with expressions of affection, appreciation, gratitude, and love, and how much love I felt and witnessed in return; truly, it changed my life in positive ways I cannot even express. I will not be celebrating Love Week quite to the intense extent I did during those years, but you can be certain that I will be honoring the ideas of Love Week, remembering the men lost during this time, and spreading words of the love and appreciation I have for the people in my life.
I would like to ask all of you, to please join me in this movement, and tell at least one person you care about, exactly how much you care about them. If it's someone who may have questions or doubts, or someone who you haven't spoken with in a while, even better, but I'm sure whoever it is will appreciate your words. I'm not asking you to do this for me, but rather as a way to honor and respect the loved ones we've lost, because you just might turn someones day around, possibly even their week, month, or entire year. If you'd like to join the movement on Facebook, just like it and tag it when you share your words; wouldn't it be lovely if your action created more action? Love Week, pass it on!
And if I haven't convinced you, just watch this short little video and see what science has been able to prove as a result for expressing your words of love and gratitude. Warning: this may bring tears of happiness to your eyes and may even instigate immediate action on your part. I love science! Cheers!