09/12/2013 04:54 pm ET Updated Nov 12, 2013

10 Rules to Live By in Sickness and in Health

I'm writing this post on what might have been my 10th wedding anniversary with Laurie. Looking back on eight inspired years of marriage, I'm reminded of the legacy of deliberate living she left behind. Below are 10 rules to live by she taught me that will eventually guide my memoir for our daughter:

  1. Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock -- Laurie had an acute awareness of time. At 13, she told her mother that she would die young. With her clock counting down, she held back nothing.
  2. Say I Love You -- Laurie never missed an opportunity to say I love you. We said it to each other dozens of times a day. She did the same with everyone she cared about.
  3. Animals Have Souls -- Laurie hand-fed peanuts to squirrels in our backyard. Rabies be damned. Each one had a first name, and she trusted them implicitly. We had the chubbiest squirrels on the block.
  4. Speak Your Truth -- Laurie couldn't wrap her head around somebody holding something in. Life happens out in the open. Anything else is a sad waste of time.
  5. Minds Melt Spoons -- Laurie could use meditation to melt spoons with her mind. I kept one of her impossibly-twisted spoons as evidence for my daughter.
  6. All Faiths Are One -- Laurie wasn't religious, but she spent a lot of time thinking about a greater power. Without dogma, she was able to experience advanced spiritual growth from many faiths.
  7. You Chose Life -- She believed we choose the lessons we need to learn before we are born. The harder the lessons, the higher up the spiritual ladder you get to climb.
  8. Compassion Is King -- Laurie only judged those that judged or hurt others. She was otherwise unprejudiced, open to all ways of thinking, lifestyles, and orientations.
  9. Smile -- When a doctor walked in, Laurie usually greeted him with a smile and an off-color joke. Inside, her bones were vanishing. Outside, her charm was unwavering.
  10. Let It Go -- Laurie fought her sometimes-excruciating disease for almost 20 years. The final lesson we learned together was that we don't have to fight forever, we all have limits, and it's okay to finally let go.

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