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The last Time

“Cause you never think that the last time- is the last time. You think there will be more. You think you have forever, but you don’t.”

This quote stopped me immediately and I re-read it multiple times. Flashes of the “last’s” swirling through my brain like a movie reel.

The last time I spoke to a loved one, the last time I picked up my youngest daughter, the last time I was normal- instead of living with chronic illness, depression, and anxiety.

As a teenager, I was introduced to death. In 2005 my cousin was killed in a freak accident at 25, in 2007 I lost my aunt, and both of my grandparents.

2007/2008 was my senior year in high school, one morning I walked out of our house and due to straight line winds it was destroyed. When I returned home, there was nothing left. I think God was making me stronger for the tragedy that would come next.

It was July, hot as hell in Tennessee. We were visiting my brother, his wife and my niece before he deployed to Afghanistan again. This was the last time I seen my brother alive. He was KIA on August 15th, 2009- 15 days before his daughter’s first birthday.

Sgt. Jonathon Travis Rape 04/09/84-08/15/09

In 2019 I found out after sudden and progressive symptoms- that I was born with a bicuspid aortic valve and had a 4.6 aneurysm, on July 15th I was headed for Open Heart Surgery. My life was saved and I fully believe it was a miracle, but this was also the year that changed everything for me physically.

Two weeks before my surgery I was cleared to travel with my family to Gulf Shores for vacation. On this trip was the last time I picked up my youngest daughter- I should have soaked it all in. I thought life would return to normal after my surgery but that’s not how my story would play out.

Following my surgery, I have been diagnosed with a connective tissue disorder and fibromyalgia. It’s been over 2 years since I’ve had a day where I wasn’t in any pain. And I can’t remember the last time I felt truly like myself.

Picture of me and my youngest daughter.

I write this, not for pity. I write this to remind myself of the struggles I’ve endured, the strength I didn’t know I had, and to remember that any moment could be the last.


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