In the past week two people passed away…one of whom I had never met and one I had met only once, however, both of these people were extremely close to people that I know well.
One of these people was 25 years old…his passing is way too early. A parent should never have to lay their child to rest. The other had been on this Earth for many years, roughly 77, and lived a very full life, even celebrating her 56th wedding anniversary right before passing.
Both of these people passed due to cancer.
In both situations the people left behind are hurting and understandably so. In the case of the 25 year old…he left behind his mom, dad, sisters, and so many other people. Some would say he was gone far too soon, that he did not have time to truly live life. I tend to agree…but based on all the amazing things my friend told me about his son, what a life! Once he found out he had cancer he was on a mission to change people…and he did. He reminded us of courage, love, faith, and the importance of our time here.
As for the other person…she was not born in the United States but many describe her as the most patriotic woman they had ever met; dedicated to honoring veterans and serving her community. Some would say that she lived a wonderful and full life, raising six children and as I said above, just celebrated 56 years of marriage. She too reminds us of strength, loyalty, dedication, and giving back…from all the stories I’ve heard about her she reminds us to fight the good fight, and she did!
I don’t know what the purpose of this post is…I’ve already said what I wanted to say. I feel in some way I can write about these things here and then never have to think about it again. This is my therapeutic writing spot in which I can dump the contents of my mind and be freed from it, but something feels different. Death has not been the same for me since April 1, 1996 when my Grandfather (Papa) passed away (pretty much unexpectedly in my opinion). It was the first real death I’ve ever had to deal with in the sense that it was someone very close to me…it did callous me to some degree.
When my wife’s Grandfather died in 2011 at 101 years old we all expected it…but it did not make it easy. We’re given this life knowing that it is not permanent yet we find it so hard to say goodbye. All the people mentioned above are loved and all gave something to this human experience. Whether it be the 25 year old or Annie’s Grandpa that passed at 101…they each gave to this world significantly.
It’s sad to me that we need reminders to REALLY live. It’s disappointing that when we are not experiencing a death or an illness we get complacent. It’s frustrating that we say that we’re too busy to do this thing that we really want to do…when our time is up…our time is up. It angers me that we allow stupid things like drama, trash talking, money, status, and keeping up with the Jones’ to fill our lives rather than truly paying IT forward.
If all goes as planned my son will be born in October of this year…I worry that I won’t do a good enough job for him. I worry that I won’t teach him that love is stronger than anger, that giving is better than receiving, that people matter more than money, that learning and exploring and helping and fighting for what’s right trumps everything. I know he’ll get an idea of these things from me but I worry that I won’t be able to word it just right so he understands the importance.
I wish he had an opportunity to know each of the people mentioned above…they would have done a good job explaining it to him. They each had unique understandings about this life…their individual paths, be it short or long, and no matter which corner of the Earth they came from…they each paid it forward and had a deeper understanding of this purpose here.
We all talk about changing how we live and really trying to focus on the important things, but we each fall off the wagon. As corny or lame as you may think it sounds…we have got to start getting more in touch with ourselves and the people around us. When you are on your death bed, nobody cares how many hours of Jeopardy you watched or that you drove a Mercedes. We care about the substance of people. We care about the dedication, loyalty, and love given in your life time. We care about how much you care.
We have overcomplicated this life with buzzers, shiny objects, glitter, and clowns…strip all that away. Find your purpose…find the thing that drives you and do it. Leave something here for the next group of people. Leave something here for your family and friends. We have this one life to do our work in…have you started? If you have, thank you. If you haven’t, why not? What barriers have you set up? All those people mentioned above were busy raising kids, working, going to school, and so on…yet they gave a damn. They each left a legacy…Daniel (the 25 year old) touched hundreds and thousands of hearts with his story. Gisela, the woman who had just celebrated 56 years of marriage came from Germany (where she met an American soldier that became her husband) unable to speak English and raised six children all while earning the praise of being the most patriotic woman they had ever met.
Papa started his own business that is still in operation today and taught me that hard work, determination, and love of family can take you places you’ve never dreamed of. Annie’s Grandpa started a business in 1949 that is still in operation and was also City Councilman and Mayor of Santa Maria (among so much more). There were former employees at his funeral that wept…that speaks volumes. He was a master story teller, amazing with people, and gave back to the community.
What are we going to do with the time we have left?