I owe my love of country music to the two people who I loved first. Thanks to my mom and dad, I grew up listening to Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, and George Jones. When I was in grade 5, I received a tape recorder for my birthday. It was the most amazing thing I had ever been given and it made me the coolest kid in school. Not being one to put off a surprise, I woke up at the crack of midnight and opened my gift by myself, because it was technically my birthday (and yes, my mom was really mad the next morning). I sat on the bathroom floor and listened to the first tape I could find – which happened to be the one and only, Hank Williams. I listened to ‘Your Cheatin’ Heart and Kaw-Liga until I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer. I probably lost some cool kid cred at school with my music selection that first week, but I eventually expanded my musical collection to include Bryan Adams and Cyndi Lauper – which made my friends much happier.
During the last few months, and in particular, the last few weeks, I have analyzed life, death and everything in between. Life can’t always be pretty, and sometimes we learn the most and feel the most when it’s a mess. When it comes down to it, I don’t think that anyone ever thinks that their life was lived to the best of their ability and unlike Tim McGraw’s song, you often don’t have the time to “Live like you were dying” once you get the news. There sometimes isn’t the energy for sky diving or bull riding, but if you were lucky, you truly did life your life to the fullest while you were able. I am surrounded by friends and family who have worked hard for their entire lives and do not hesitate to help out their acquaintances whenever they can. I don’t know that anyone would ever feel like they’ve done enough or left enough of a mark on the world when they start to feel their time has come, but I hope that I always remember that success can’t be measured by the things I leave behind, but by the hospital room full of family and friends who love you.
As I get older, I have inevitably added more names to the list of people that I love, but the two people that I loved first will always hold a special place in my heart. We all go through trials and tribulations with those that we hold near and dear, and I would not take back any of them because they made us who we are. We aren’t at the end yet, and even though it’s hard, we will add it all to this experience we call life. -R.Dolly