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Live It Well

By Jimmy Maxwell

Last Wednesday morning Uptown Pup lost a beloved coworker and friend in Becky Miller.

If it’s okay with you I would like to put dog training aside this week

Our staff was given the news last Wednesday of Becky’s passing. Though she had been sick and undergoing cancer treatments for a while, it hit all of us. Becky holds a very special and permanent place in all of our hearts.

Normally when someone passes away after being treated for cancer, we hear phrases like, “losing the battle”. And I get that, but as someone who also lost his own father to cancer, the battle nomenclature has never really set right with me. And at times it’s been hard to pinpoint why.

That same Wednesday I found myself at the Indiana State Fair listening to a show at the free stage. I had seen this band a number of times, and listened to their music since I was a kid. But I heard a song that I had never heard before that brought this light to my uneasiness regarding this whole “battle” mentality. The words were:

Life is short, I wanna live it well

One life one story to tell

Life is short, I wanna live it well

And you’re the one I’m living for

Awaken all my soul

Every breath that you take is a miracle

Life is short, I wanna live it well

I don’t like the idea of defeating death like it’s a battle. We are all riding against the fate of life. As we age, we often find that things change more than we would like. We don’t stand up to the physical wear and tear like we used to, and our bodies just aren’t as resilient as they were when we were young. The things that used to have power over us in our youth start to empower us in adulthood. We tend to find that our world that was once very easily breakable, grows so big that it’s destruction isn’t as easily expected. When we venture out into the world, we find that it’s more complex and often just as scary as we thought it was. Yet in light of all of that, we struggle even harder to stick around, hopefully not because we fear death, but to get at least one more moment with those that we love, and those that love us. We shouldn’t bother fighting death, because that is a battle we cannot win. It finds us all eventually. What we are fighting is allowing death’s inevitability to define us, change us, and dictate who we are. That is the true battle. The outcome of which, solely depends on us. The true challenge is not living life, but living it well, in spite of all the things that tend to pull you into fear.

No matter how much or how little people knew Becky, there is one thing that rings true about her in every story about who she was. Until the day she died, she always put others first, loved hard, and loved often. She seldom took and always gave. She spoke in truth and honesty, but with gentleness and grace. She lived her life, and lived it well

There was just something so special about this woman that emanated from her presence that was just infectious, in spite of her illness. Yes, she was not physically well, but her heart and soul were stronger than anyone would have imagined or expected. Some people are just like that.

Someday when that time comes, and I know the years behind me outnumber those ahead, I hope I can be just like Becky who didn’t succumb to the fear of what was to come, but remained true to herself and lived in the moment. 

When I hear this song I now think of Becky and often adapt the words to reflect on who she was…

She sang with all of her heart a lifelong song

Even if some words came out right and some came out wrong

Cause she couldn’t take none of that through the door

She lived for more than just a funeral

She burned brighter than the dawn.

She had one life, and one love

She had one voice, and maybe that was enough.

Cause with one heartbeat, and two hands to give

She had one shot, and one life to live

And that life she lived

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