Whenever I glance out my back windows into my garden this time of year my eye goes straight to this eastern redbud in all its spring glory. Through my mind will float the lyrics from a classic Frank Sinatra song, “Out of the tree of life I just picked me a plum . . .” Spring and Sinatra make me happy in general, but I find this year they are in contradiction to what is happening around me. You see one of my dear friends has passed away after a very long but courageous battle with cancer. She has left behind an adoring husband and two fantastic kids, the youngest only just turned seven. Shouldn’t the tree be bare and the cold wind blow in a mournful cry? How can the world look so fresh and green with such sadness? Then I really thought about my friend and what a kind, loving person she was. Her grace, faith and dignity carried her through her cancer. She was a model southern girl, tied to tradition, effortless style and impeccable manners. She was always smiling and had a wonderful sense of humor. She was a loving wife, mother, sister, and friend. Someday I will write a character in her name and in her honor, once I can create a character worthy of her memory. I know she would tell me to look at that tree and sing that song. She would tell me to celebrate life. Death like winter is a part of the cycle of life and spring reminds us with faith we have life beyond our time on this revolving planet around the sun. I am grateful she is free of pain and I am blessed for having known her. We have no idea if our life on this earth will be short or long, regardless we should live each day with passion and purpose. Like the tree in my garden, bloom and take your moments in the sun. Like my friend, live each day with grace.