" I got the call today, I didn't want to hear, but I knew that it would come." These are the beginning words of the song "Heart of the Matter," sung by Don Henley.

The call I received this morning, on my way  to church,  was from Mary telling me, our friend Laurie died last night. Laurie's husband, Peter, at her side in hospice. She died far away from here, but  very much in our hearts.

Laurie filled the room with positive energy. She was bright, talented, and caring.  She lived life with gusto. I admire her. My heart is sad for Peter, their relatives, friends, and myself.  She left us too early. A disease with a long name was the cause.

The circle of life includes the death of parents and our elders. We expect it. Laurie was not an elder. She was a peer.

As gray hair appears, skin texture changes, and I find myself attending more funerals, thoughts of my own mortality take over the heart and soul. Questions abound: What am I missing? Am I listening to my inner voice?  What should I change so I can honestly say as my time arrives, "I fully used my talents and made a positive difference?"

Each of us have the choice to contribute in a positive way, do nothing, or suck energy and attitude from those around us.

Laurie chose to contribute in a positive way. She led many others to do the same. I am glad she was and will continue to be a part of my life.

As I finish this, I am shedding tears at the loss, but when they dry, I will smile and sing as I remember her essence.