I have been posting and releasing a series of travel videos as part of my pre full time RV living travels. The most recent video is of a trip that I took to Chicago in 2012 with my friend Felicha. This video was originally intended to be the last in the series. I have released the video early and out of order in remembrance of my friend Felicha. It is dedicated to her. It was never meant to be a memorial video as her death was unexpected.
Felicha and I met at the salon. As many of you may know if you have been watching my videos on YouTube, is that I do hair for a living. Felicha was first a client of mine at a salon that I was managing, but became so much more than that to me over time. I would like to take a moment to remember and honor her here with you.
Felicha’s birthday was the day before mine, on September 23rd and mine is on the 24th. In 2012 we decided that we were going to go to Chicago on the train together for the weekend to celebrate our birthdays. Felicha had never been before and I love to ride the train! We had a really awesome time. As I have recently reflected on that weekend together I remember that we did a lot of walking & that our attempt to ride the city bus, despite having left three hours early, resulted in us being late to a show that we had tickets for. Fortunately, the Aquatic center was forgiving and lenient in their no refunds or exchanges rules and allowed us to watch a later show. However, after our near disastrous bus ride we came to the conclusion that we were taxi cab riders, not bus riders! 🙂 We walked so much that weekend that I actually had to buy new boots because the ones I brought were hurting my feet!
I remember when Felicha got a new car that she financed. It was a big deal because she was just 19 years old and growing up. I remember when Felicha met her boyfriend, Alex and later got engaged. I remember when Felicha got her first apartment and they moved into together. They didn’t have a lot, but they had each other. They were so young and just starting out. They had their whole lives in front of them. I remember when Felicha got pregnant. I remember it all and so much more…
In June 2013 I moved out to Arizona and remained there through the end of February 2016. Despite being so far away and despite the age difference between us, Felicha and I remained in touch occasionally exchanging test messages and photos during that time. When I left Michigan we had grand plans that she would come out to Arizona to visit me. Sadly, life had other plans as it so often does and Felicha never got around to coming out to Arizona.
Upon coming back to Michigan we were both excited at the prospect of seeing one another again. However, I was trying to reestablish myself here once again and Felicha being a new mother, fiancée, student and working had a full schedule as well. As a result, we made plans to get together at the end of summer 2016, but those plans fell through as life went on.
Felicha was only 23 years old at the time of her death. Although she had been struggling with some serious health issues this year I still can’t believe she is gone. She had reached out to me recently because she had been in the hospital and had just come out of isolation and she was scared by what was happening to her and the possibilities ahead. I went to see her and I am now so thankful that I did because only a few short weeks later she is unexpectedly gone. I feel an absence left in the wake of her death.
Felicha’s death has had me doing a lot of reflecting on life and what is most important to me. I regret that in the past I have wasted so much of my time and energy on things that don’t even really matter in the grand scheme of things. I regret that I have let the mundane ordinary cadence of life lull me into a trance of sorts that I have at times walked through life without being fully present in the moment. I regret that I have taken it for granted that there will always be time later for the things missed. Because sometimes there isn’t time. Sometimes opportunities pass us by. We never know when the last time seeing someone may be the final time or that the last opportunity was the very last one. I wish that Felicha and I had kept our summer plans and not allowed that opportunity to slip away. I wish that we had made one more memory together so that I could remember one more thing about her.
Please share this memory with me in remembrance of my friend Felicha Heilman (09/23/93-05/24/17) She was a mother and engaged. She was a student and a very dedicated hard worker. She was passionate and had dreams. She had her entire life ahead of her. Felicha was very loving, kind and a gentle person. She was an amazing person. I am honored to have called her my friend. If you would like to watch a video of mine and Felicha’s weekend trip to Chicago in 2012, please follow the link here. Thank you so much for taking the time to honor my friend. May she rest in peace until we meet again.
Until next time, Live Authentic. Live Intentional. Pursue your dream. Live with purpose.
To watch the video that goes with this blog, click on the following links: