A year ago, April 28 was just another day. A day of dreaded activity that must occur to reach work by 9. A day filled with the most annoying boss I have ever had. A day that was, unfortunately, not just another day.
This year, and every year after, April 28 will always sting (along with a few other related dates), still I know that Danielle “Dani” Dunlap prefers that her family and friends smile, laugh and dance in her remembrance.
To celebrate Dani’s beautiful, magnificent character I would like to share how she has impacted my life forever and always.
Something I thought was impossible at this age, I can now say I have a twin, a sibling I always wanted. During our service with Operation Smile Inaugural Mission Team Ghana, Dani and I first became acquainted and had so much laughter keeping up with the people who got us mixed up. Maybe it was our fault; we were of similar build, skin complexion, natural hair, wore glasses and loved purple! Those who did not know us individually, really never had a chance I suppose :) Oh how it tickled us to pieces, swapping stories in the evening of the conversations we had during the day with folks who we eventually realized thought they were speaking with the other.
Unknowingly, Dani widened my horizon on so many topics. Her inspiration through hearing the many things she had done at such a young age made me feel slothful. She never put herself on a pedestal, it was her tales of Haiti, and Brown, and speaking foreign languages that made me want to do more, effectively, at a faster pace, in the same manner she had.
To help us with our grief, myself and my grief buddy, decided to make “Dani Goals.” We would stop procrastinating and try those things that we have been afraid of, facing them face forward and standing strong as she would.
One of my “Dani Goals” is taking French lessons. AGAIN. It is because of her that this time around, although sometimes dreadful and frustrating, I will not stop taking my lessons. I will keep pushing through classes, videos, movies, music and most importantly, conversations to one day be fluent in French. Dani, merci beaucoup (thank you very much). C’est à cause de vous (it is because of you).
My second goal was to become certified in my career. Let’s just say goals change over time for various reasons. Still, Dani helped rid fear that was holding me back with this. I embraced the unknown and realized that this is not my passion and have moved on to a new journey.
Embarking on a new career path with natural living, health and nutrition is my third Dani Goal that recently, very recently, has to come to my heart. On my new blog Nursed By Nature, the first post Fight the Bite explains my knowledge from research and experience with natural home remedies that I shared sporadically must be changed. It began as curiosity, yet I have come to realize that natural living is truly my heart’s passion and I shall see where this road leads.
I will focus on my third goal and specifically today in her honor expand my supply of essential oils and make all natural linen sprays and lotions to share. I will cry at some point, but I will be productive as she always was. She never missed an opportunity, just like she never missed a chance to dance, one of her favorite activities.
On this day, as Dani’s larger circle of family and friends experience various emotions I encourage us all to think of those happy times with her over an ice cold Dr. Pepper and maybe even create goals as your Dedication to Dani.
Please share your Dani Goal in a comment below :)