“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

My brother and my dad died just after my 24th and 30th birthdays, respectively. Both were unexpected and left me to deliver twin eulogies about lack of closure, lives cut short, and empty chairs at Thanksgiving. With each tragedy, I felt shock, grief, and panic: When will my time be up? What will be in my eulogy?

Last year I emptied my childhood home, boxing my dad’s sailing trophies and business recognitions plus my brother’s attendance certificates and ski ribbons. Mementos of accomplishments long forgotten, sitting on dusty shelves.

But I’ll never forget the wind in my hair with my dad at the wheel or racing my brother down the slopes. I smile when I open photo albums, grateful to have birthday cakes and pool parties well-documented.

It’s bittersweet to outlive loved ones. But like my dad always said, you can’t drive forward while looking in the rearview mirror. So, as I left home for the last time, I gripped the steering wheel and pulled forward, photos in the trunk and awards on the curb.

In life, I hope to be remembered for how I make people feel—loved and appreciated—and I plan to take lots of photos.

— Alyssa Wilson