Tonight, at a little local bar, some 30 or so folks who've known each other for more years than we care to admit, will join together to celebrate life and friendship and the fact that we are all, mostly, healthy. A group of 5 or 6 of these folks created this celebration in 1986. Then, it was celebrated on Feb. 19 no matter what day the 19th fell on. Then, it was an excuse to skip school and party. Then, it was held at someone's home. And then, it involved only a handful of folks.
This Holiday of Life, as we termed it, was celebrated with vigor for several years and then, real life happened, and the celebrating ceased. College and marriages and children got in the way and The Holiday faded away. Every so often, someone would mention The Holiday, but we never quite got around to making it happen. Life, it seemed, was too busy. Too crowded. Too overwhelming perhaps.
But now we've decided to bring back this most revered of made-up holidays because we needed reminding of how quick and fleeting life can be. How special good friends are. And how you may never get another chance to celebrate. We'd forgotten this in our race through adulthood. But we re-learned it all. And they were very rough lessons to learn -- taught instantaneously when my oldest and dearest friend in all the world passed from this life on December 14 after a very tough yet very brief battle with cervical cancer. I've lived life in a bit of a haze since that awful morning when my phone rang while I was driving to work. The haze is now lifting, but some days are still very cloudy.
But today is beautiful. Today, I will celebrate life. I will celebrate friendship. I will toss adulthood out the window and live in the moment like a child for tomorrow may be dark once again, and I'm preparing myself for a rough storm on the 19th (not only the original Holiday of Life, but Cary's birthday as well). But for one night I will try to forget my sadness and remember what it is to be free. For one night I will remember my friend without sadness.
Tonight I celebrate the Holiday of Life.
And if you happen to read this, don't think it strange, but I welcome you to share the Holiday and pass it along. You need not be part of my circle to celebrate life. Celebrate your own life, your own friends, your own memories. Because life is fleeting whether you grew up with the Holiday or not.