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October 15, 2021
Photo courtesy of Met Museum

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She reached out and scooted the picture a bit to the right. There. Now it’s perfect. She stepped back and looked again at the unusual mix of antiquity and morbidity before her. She smiled as she thought That is so her, leaving me something that would shock and awe. She couldn’t believe she had actually hung the painting, especially in an area that anyone entering her finely manicured home would see. It was her first stab at not caring anymore. She had lived this way too long. It was a shame that it took her aunt’s death to figure out that she wasn’t living.

She always felt intimidated in their infrequent conversations. Her aunt had been afraid of nothing and said everything. Her bold personality had always seemed a bit much, but now knowing that she would never hear that booming voice again left a deep desire for more time with her.

Well, she may not be able to gain more time with the woman who never compromised her style for anyone, but she could certainly walk in her shoes. She was over these snooty dinners and boring conversations. It was time to live before all anyone would remember of her was how she always toed the line. She glanced up at the skull on the wall and said a silent thank you for the courage to be the person she really wanted to be. She knew this painting was her aunt’s final wish and instruction. So it will be.

Shannon Leach is an inspirational encouragement writer and the owner of A Repurposed Heart and ARH Inspirations. Her authentic stories and books about leadership, life, and loving people focus on encouraging others and reminding them they are not alone. Her work can also be found in Guideposts and multiple Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in Social Work and is the co-founder of the nonprofit The Fostered Gift.
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