07/15/2014 11:07 am ET Updated Sep 14, 2014

My Promise to Be Present in the Moment

Life is short, and it is precious. But somehow, in spite of our best efforts to live intentionally and with gratitude, we lose sight of these truths. Perpetually busy, we lose ourselves in endless tasks.

Then, all of a sudden, the universe hits us with a reminder. For me, the past month has been that reminder.

First, a colleague at JPMorgan died of cancer -- he was much too young, and left behind a family, friends, and colleagues who miss him dearly.

Later that same week, a young girl -- a schoolmate of my daughter -- took her own life. There are no words to describe the death of a child, and as a mother, this hit me hard.

Still grappling with that senseless tragedy, I learned that another of my colleagues had succumbed to cancer far too young, leaving behind legions of loved ones to grieve, to remember, and to ask why.

I sifted back through my memories of each of them. I attended their memorial services. Seeing their children and spouses and parents speak about their loss was truly heartbreaking.

Now the memorial services are over and I've returned to my life, but I don't want that reminder to fade as daily life takes over. So I've given myself a physical reminder. I have kept each of their photos by my mirror so that I see them every morning as I start my day. I make a little promise to myself to be present in the moment, and not take anything for granted. It is a powerful daily reminder of what is important.