My dear sister Alma passed away last week. Unexpectedly. Too young. And too suddenly too. I have known and loved her from the day I was born. 45 years she has been there serving as my compass, my muse, my inspiration for finding beauty, building bridges, creating a home, connecting with family and living in joy. As I go through photos now I am given a visual reminder of our hearts’ connection. She was 12 years older than me. My godmother. My mentor. My teenage mother. As time passed our roles evened out and I became less the little sister and more a peer and a friend. Even though we lived far away we connected via notes, packages, emails, phone calls and even the occasional telepathy.

I’ve received lots of notes and cards since she passed. Some from dear friends and family of both of ours. Some from people in her world who want to let me know how lovely she was in their life. Some from friends of mine who didn’t know her but knew how connected we were. Each card brings some nugget. Some memory. And the realization of just how lucky we were to have each other all the years we did.

In her passing there are no regrets. We had let each other know how much we loved and appreciated each other. Sometimes it was in a big way through a lengthened visit. Other times it was a one line text to say, “busy but thinking of you…” And in between those there were various sentiments of appreciation, true connection and deep, deep love and respect for each other.

I’m telling you this because she was amazing. Because I want to shout from the mountain tops that she was here and now is gone. Because I miss her so, so much. And, because I am glad that when she died, she died in joy and in the knowledge that she was loved and appreciated. By me of course and by so many.

I’m telling you this also because I want to share the joy I feel in knowing that she knew how I felt when she died. If you have someone in your life who is important to you, tell them how you feel. Send them a note. Give them a call. Text them a line. Message them on your favorite social network. Just tell them. And if you live in the same house – be they your partner or your children or your parents or a roommate, share with them your appreciation of their existence. Leave a note on their pillow. Look them in the eye and let them know the joy they bring to your life. Tell them today and then tell them again and again and again.

And if you meet someone today, someone new, someone who does or says or is just something beautiful, let them know their joyful impact. Fill them with your love and appreciation and your joy and you will be filled with love and appreciation and joy too. And you will both walk in beauty.

And you will hold that memory as part of you your whole life long. They will be a part of you. And you will be a part of them. Truly all one.