My 2013 Living Will (or Ode to Leo)

Every year when the snow starts to fall, I jokingly compile a will, should this be the year I can no longer handle the cold (as if I ever could).

This year, the first snow in Baltimore was followed shortly by the passing of my dear cousin Leo. I have felt incredibly sad and incredibly grateful for the time I spent in Utah, which allowed me to get to know Leo and his family, along with several other cousins much better than I had before. Thoughts of the strong example Leo was during his battle with cancer run through my mind. And thoughts of who I am trying to become shortly follow.

So instead of drafting a listing of my physical possessions, I thought to keep in line with both my tradition and my current thoughts, to write a different kind of will--a will of what I strive everyday to leave behind.

Dad-- I leave you my endless gratitude for the perspective, love, and support you have provided in my life. You have been a quiet, gentle example and it is never forgotten.

Mom--I  leave you my admiration. While we don't always see eye-to-eye, I want you to know I think of you as a strong, capable woman who shows me daily that if there's a will there's a way.

Megan, Matt, and Mihkel-- I leave you everything a sister should have to give by way of support. I hope to be there for each of you in whatever way I can and for whatever reason.

Chris and Elliot-- Aside from any spoiling in the process, I also leave you encouragement to never stop being as curious as you are now. To help you explore the world and its many wonders in every way possible.

Ava-- I leave you something I am desperately trying to work on: to love how I am, how I look, and who I am. I hope in working on my own insecurities I can teach you how beautiful and wonderful you truly are and to treasure that.

To all my friends and family-- I leave you my time and service. This past year has brought cynical thoughts of regrets for not selfishly guarding my time for my own work and progression. But the truth is that my most treasured moments are often in giving to others, so I hope to leave as much service behind someday as possible.

To Leo-- I keep you in my heart and memory, as all of us will.

Leo finishing the 5K held in his honor November 2010: when the doctors thought he only had 6 months.