A car ride this week provoked an emotional conversation with one of my roommates and we began talking about all the loved ones we have lost over the years. It never gets easier and regardless of how the loss occurs it hits you deep inside. After talking to my roommate I thought back to one of the hardest losses that I’ve gone through. I shared this story in a previous post last April:

I have very few regrets in life and believe that everything happens for a reason. However, if there is one thing I do regret, it is not using the voice I have to connect with others and reach out to people. March is a month that is typically filled with many memories and emotions for me. I was struggling with all of these emotions and shared a story with my roommate that I have shared with very few others before.

In February 2009 I was at a basketball game when I looked across the gym and saw a friend that I had not seen in a few months. I told myself that I would go over and reconnect, but then talked myself out of it thinking, “I’m sure you will see them again soon. No need to say hi.” A few weeks later, in March, I woke up to a voicemail urging me to return my missed calls immediately. I wasn’t prepared for the news I was about to receive. That same friend, that I chose not to reconnect with, had died in the middle of the night. I hung up the phone speechless, slugged out of my bed, and sat on my bedroom floor. I was entirely void of emotions, sitting lifeless, recounting the chance I had to say goodbye.

Now each March when I reflect on the day I lost my friend, I am regretful that I did not take the chance to see him one more time. I think to myself, “How many times throughout the day do I pass up other opportunities to reach out to loved ones or even strangers?” We have been blessed with voices and the ability to love, but what are we actually doing with these powers? We should be taking every chance we get to spread our love and use our voices to reach out to others.

I am sharing this story again as a connection to World Suicide Prevention Week. Within the past week, two of my roommates lost someone they know to suicide. Like any loss, it pains you to imagine a world without that person. One of the most important things you can do in life is help others feel loved, welcome and important. We can never fully know what friends, family, acquaintances, or passersby are going through. Show everyone you meet compassion, love, and gratitude because your smile and warmth just might make a difference in their life.

To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA) is a non-profit organization whose mission, I believe, lives out this idea:

You were created to love and be loved.
You were meant to live life in relationship with other people, to know and be known.
You need to know your story is important, and you’re part of a bigger story.
You need to know your life matters. (Read more)

TWLOHA is a movement dedicated to presenting hope, finding help for people; hoping to encourage, inform, inspire and invest in the lives of those who are struggling.

I hope that you will TWLOHA’s positivity and enthusiasm as inspirational as I have. It is so important that everyone live out their live’s in a similar manner; wake up each morning with the hopes of inspiring others and investing in their lives.

Remember that we have all been blessed with a voice and the ability to love others. It is up to us to use these gifts in the best way possible and encourage others to do the same. 

To learn more about the TWLOHA mission and get involved please visit here.

Taylor Cannon

Taylor was born in San Diego and grew up in Kearney, NE. From a young age Taylor has been environmentally cautious and concerned about social justice. She recently graduated from Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln. Taylor has a passion for photography and volunteering. She hopes to encourage others to take action and become involved in both their local and global communities. Learn more about Taylor's photography at her facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/taylorcannonphotos