I wonder if there’s Tequila in Heaven….

My birthday has been a true celebration of life every year since 2005 when my dear childhood friend Tansy died of cancer. The irony… I think she planned it because she knew I would never forget to celebrate her life on the day I was born. This very same week this year, I received word that my favourite writing teacher and friend here in Nashville was terminal with stage 4 breast cancer. Hospice had been called in and her 3 children flew home to spend her last days with her. A red-headed firecracker, I love this little powerhouse and I am not going to be able to say goodbye easily.

Learning of Merrill’s illness brought on an extra flood of emotion and memories of losing another dear friend. My birthday, while a day of celebration, is also the anniversary of when my dear childhood friend Tansy died from a long battle with cancer in 2005. I remember the phone ringing after midnight and my mom telling me that she was gone. After almost 2 decades of treatment, chemo, radiation, remission, repeat….the amputation of her leg, more chemo, and then the terminal diagnosis; I thought I was prepared. When that night came, I was devastated. I remember curling up in a ball on the living room floor of my apartment on McKinney Avenue in Dallas, sobbing all night long with my little Daschund Bubbles right next to me.

Tansy was such a little cheerleader, and always encouraged me to pursue my passion for music. When Tim McGraw’s song “Live Like You’re Dying” hit the charts that very year, Tansy took it straight to the heart and took all of her friends with her. We ALL lived like we were dying. We went sky diving, and we spent a week in Mexico drinking tequila, laughing until we cried, dancing until dawn, and then drowning our tears in the turquoise ocean. We celebrated a life well lived, a life that we were all selfish in wanting to last forever.

Tequila in Heaven

I spent a weekend with her in her hospital room 3 weeks before her death. Her organs were shutting down and she was in extreme pain- pain that the highest dose of morphine couldn’t touch. Yet, all she wanted was for me to play my guitar and sing the old country songs we grew up listening to. She loved to dance and loved country music.

Fast forward 12 years and another cheerleader named Merrill has graced my life. It’s days like this receiving news of an accident, a sickness, a death, where I’m reminding myself there are no guarantees of tomorrow. All we have is today. All the things we worry about, get upset over,…. If we don’t live to see tomorrow none of it matters.

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Another year has gone by, and another day to create, another day to love and make a difference. I’m so grateful for the many amazing teachers in my life: those here with me still, those that visit me in spirit, and even those who have graced my path and moved on. Sometimes our best teachers aren’t necessarily our favourite people. But, in this case, both of these women have made an imprint on my heart and I will forever cherish the friendship we had. I believe kindred souls always have a way of connecting and I hope two of my favourite ladies meet on the other side. If there’s Tequila in Heaven, I know these two will share a lot of laughs and be raising the roof in heaven!

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