There are so many moments in our lives where we question why things happen. There have been times where I wondered “how did I get here?” and “why me?”. I have been reflecting on this year, my relationships, my hopes and dreams. I have had the opportunity to see many of my dreams come true. I am married to a wonderful man. I have been blessed with a spunky little girl. I am able to not only create art, but to walk, paint, laugh and share my life with wonderful family and friends.
In the picture above, I am standing with one if my childhood idols. Yep, we are the same age, but Keasha was always two or three steps ahead and without her knowing made a path for me.
We met in high school at a science and engineering camp at Clemson University. She was so pretty and smart. She graduated from high school a year early, and then majored in engineering. She had her own car, I couldn’t even drive yet, and a personalized license plate that some how spelled QT-PIE. And there was no denying she was.
Keasha auditioned for the Rally Cat!s dance team and I auditioned for the cheerleading team. We were the only two African American women on the field at times and there was always a little extra pressure for excellence. We both worked hard made our classmates proud.
We also joined the same sorority and with this new sisterhood, we became good friends. She was there the night of my first college heartbreak and she gave me the confidence to let him know it was his loss!
She was a professional cheerleader for the Charlotte Hornets, 8 years before I ever thought about cheering for the Falcons. But my time at the Falcons is what ironically proved to show how our lives would forever be connected.
While I cheered for the Falcons, I met very few players. I know that seems ridiculous, but I was more interested in my team, my art and my work. The few I did meet, I met through charity events. One of them was named Chris Draft. He was one of the players who really felt like he could use his celebrity to make a difference. I admired that about him. He really liked my artwork and is now one of my largest collectors. My painting, “The Journey”, is the logo for his non-profit organization. He eventually was traded to Charlotte, but we would always check in with each other every now and then.
One day I looked at my phone and I had two missed calls. One from Chris and one from Keasha. It was obvious to me that they had met and wanted some background on the other. It was a perfect match made by God.
Over the years, Chris has gone from a collector to my extended family. I have watched their relationship grow in the best and worst of times. A year ago she was diagnosed with lung cancer. I flew to visit her last month and was able to catch up with them both. And they were planning their wedding! I wasn’t able to get back to the wedding, but I was there in spirit and lent support to my girlfriends who were working so hard to make her dreams come true.
On Nov. 27, 2011 my friends were married. She died of lung cancer on Tuesday Dec. 27, 2011. Today I am heartbroken.
This is a sad story, but it’s also one of hope. While we are here, we can love with all our hearts. We can live each day to the fullest and we can honor those who have touched our lives.
Cancer has taken the life of my husband’s father, it affected the life of my father and many family members. I am going to donate a portion of proceeds of my artwork sales to help find a cure. Please keep Keasha’s family in your prayers.
Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning. (Psalm 30:5 NKJV)
Have a safe and blessed new year. Let’s make 2012 one that counts,