If anyone would have told me what my life would look like on August 14, 2017, I probably wouldn't have believed them...
Not three years ago, when I had just gotten back from a fabulous trip to Napa with Oren celebrating our 18th anniversary.
Not two years ago when Oren's life was so tragically taken.
Not one year ago when I was finally breathing and feeling and living again.
And not today.
But i have learned that as hard as we may try to have control over our lives, those of us that are truly happiest understand so much is really not within our control.
The bad, the good and the stuff in between. And that is ok.
It just "is what it is".
However, what we do control, is how we deal with the life we are given.
How we choose to live with gratitude for what we have instead of defining ourselves by what we lack, how we live open to happiness and friendship and love instead of bitterness and sadness and yearning for what isn't and how we have confidence in our own resiliency instead of staying stuck in a cycle of insecurity or weakness.
These beliefs are the legacy I am trying to pass on to my children. The legacy Oren shared with me. And the legacy I see each of his boys carry on in small but striking ways.
And as I think of Oren today, I can't help but also think of Warter Strong and the Gift of Life...
Last week, two strangers met for the first time. Harrison and Sandy. Harrison is a young college student. And Sandy is the man whose life he saved.
These two came together because of Warter Strong and the bone marrow drive we held on December 21, 2014 when my friends and community and strangers came together and rallied to find a match for Oren. Harrison came to the drive and literally saved a mans life.
Over these past two and half years we have raised over $51,000, have over 830 members, connected 13 matches and two transplants for patients with blood cancers.
I believe that Oren is a small part in each time of paying it forward...
For those of you remembering Oren Warter, please listen for his laugh-it was contagious.
Think of his humor, it was sarcastic and sharp.
And remember his heart-it could warm your soul.
And if you haven't already done so, please get in a registry...get yourself swabbed...or donate so younger people can get swabbed. Help us keep paying it forward... (www.giftoflife.org/dc/warter) Always and forever in my heart...