This is the obligatory column about the recent tragedies that have struck our nation in the past week. It is with an extremely heavy and saddened heart that I even need to write this column.

“The highest death toll in an elementary school massacre in the history of the United States,” one news report stated.

“Teachers shielding their children, and stuffing them in to lockers, bathrooms and cubbies,” the news continued.

“20 children dead, 6 faculty members,” the final death toll.

Why? I ask you, why should I even have to be writing about this? What on earth possesses someone to do this? To harm innocent lives, to cut their lives off before they even get started? And to take adult family members from their families too?

I know everywhere you look people say that there are 20 new little angels in heaven now. But we mustn’t forget all the adult lives lost. The mothers, the fathers, the sisters, the brothers, the aunts and uncles; that were also lost that horrific day.

And to take the lives of 20 innocent babies, because that is all that they were, were babies. They hadn’t even begun to see or enjoy their lives, or understand how much they were loved by their parents.

As President Obama stated, they will not be able to enjoy their graduations, their weddings, or even kids of their own. And why is this? Insanity, anger towards his mother, a moment of rage? I don’t know if these questions will ever be answered.

This is not a political piece, because we all have our own opinions, I am writing you to remind you that every day could possibly be your last. So remember, as my grandmother Al used to say… “Stay up and fight it out … never ever go to bed angry.”

We all hear every day “to enjoy life to its fullest”… so what does that mean? Does that mean we need to go bungee jumping off the Empire State Building, or travel through Europe while giving up our job and selling all of our worldly possessions, or jumping out of a perfectly good airplane, just to make yourself feel more alive? Personally … I think not.

Life isn’t a competition; you should be happy and blessed with what you have. You shouldn’t always feel like you have to “one up” everyone else. So your friends took an amazing trip, be happy for them, not envious. So they got a promotion … SUPER! Let them take YOU out for drinks to celebrate—with all that new money they’ll be earning.

In my mind, having a full (and fulfilling) life is:

1) Kissing your babies good night every night, and meaning it.

2) Spending some quality time with your mate.

3) Never going to bed angry.

4) Being thankful for the job you have and the roof that is over your head.

5) Appreciating the friends in your life.

6) Setting aside special time with your kids.

7) Having a little personal time; either reading, movies or exercising.

8) Remember that unconditional love is not only given, but received as well from your kiddos.

9) Tell everyone you love just how much they do mean to you, every single day.

10) Always kiss each other good bye.

If you are able to accomplish all those things in one day … then you are absolutely living life to its fullest. You have set the bar amazingly high for yourself and your friends and family. If you feel something about someone in your heart, tell them right then and there, don’t ever wait for “that perfect moment” because the present is the perfect moment … after all there may not be a tomorrow, or a “see you after school today,” or “see you after work honey.”

And we all know that all too well in light of the recent happenings in Connecticut and 9/11; that there was no end of the school day or end of the work day for some. So always remember to tell those you love, exactly how you feel, when you feel it and appreciate all the things you have been given or earned.

Samantha Stroube-Daviss is a local columnist based in Corsicana. She may be reached by e-mail at columnwriter98@hotmail.com. Following Samantha’s blog at http://samantha-daviss.blogspot.com