Last Words Linger

In 2008 I sat mesmerized, watching the current World Champion of Public Speaking, LaShunda Rundles give her winning speech. She said, “We aren’t half afraid of dying as we are that no one will remember that we were ever here.” I was so moved by this woman whom I’d never met. Shortly afterwards, I learned that she was in the hospital fighting for her life from Lupus.

I’ll never forget the first day I met her - she was in an ICU hospital room hooked up to machines, with IV’s and tubes everywhere. She had the face of an angel and I knew I was in the presence of someone very special.

For six months she was in the hospital, unable to drink or eat anything. I visited her several times a week and she would always inspire me with her words of wisdom. She had the faith of a mustard seed, tenacity of a bulldog and the spirit of wild mustang.

I was there when she sat in a chair after being flat on her back for several months and she had so much gratitude. I was there when the nurse gave her a popsicle –  the first thing she’d eaten in 6 months and she was so grateful for each bite. I saw her walk for the first time in months and she was so grateful for each step.  

I asked her, “LaShunda, what keeps you going?” Without blinking an eye she quipped, “There are so many things I want to do and accomplish, it’s kind of hard to do ‘em if you’re dead!”

Four years later, I went to see her once again in the hospital. We talked a long time about life, her faith in God, how much she loved her son and her sister, Sonya. She was also excited about her trip to Florida in a few days. She said, “Sonya thinks I should stay here and not go to Florida. I told her I’m not dead yet! I want to live like I’m living, not like I’m dying.”

When it was time to go, she said, ”Taylor I love you. I’ll see you when I get back.” Her last words to me were never spoken and yet they came from her lips straight to my heart when she blew me a kiss. Little did I know she would leave this earth, a week later.

My sweet angel, I will never forget you were ever here!

                                                                                                                       Taylor Kay Stephens