Last Friday was a difficult, emotionally heavy day. As per the request, among a sea of vibrant colours, Rob and I attended the celebration of life for his cousin. Another precious victim whose time on earth was ended far too soon by the ugly disease we're all too familiar with, cancer. The impact the day had on us was too significant for me not to share with you and so in my own, simple, way this is my tribute to her living legacy.
What would they say?
I have included the above obituary so you can start to feel and gain a sense of the beautiful woman I want you to picture. I will add, of my own experience, that she was funny in an unassuming way, she made time for you even when she likely didn't have it to spare, she was encouraging and supportive, and left an impression on me that I only wish I had shared with her. When her loved ones got up to speak, they had us all laughing and simultaneously tearing up. Collectively, their memories and testimonies were what you would want said about you. Such love and admiration for the genuine spirit she possessed and graciously shared with everyone. She was taken too soon, there's no way to eloquently state it. However, in her 49 years, I can say with full confidence, she lived life fully - embraced it all and delighted in the most simple of blessings we're all afforded. Nature, a cozy afternoon, putting talents to good use, family, art, photos. Hearing such pure, heartfelt accounts of a life fully experienced, had me questioning my own. That in itself should convey to you how wonderful she was. If I died tomorrow, what would be said of me? Would I be content with what would be shared? Am I living today in a way that would make my children, family, friends thankful they had the pleasure to know me, even if it wasn't as long as they would have liked? Would I pack a church full of people all of whom I influenced and in some way, made their lives richer? Am I putting more of myself in the things that matter, or am I allowing them to be overshadowed by the trivial ambitions of today? These are big questions, the answers of which are a constant work in progress. If people gathered for your celebration of life, what would you want them to say? Are you living a life that is reflective of what you would wish to be recounted? If not, why?
What should you say?
On almost every subject, I have more questions than answers. I do however know that there are no guarantees for our time on earth. Death is not prejudice. None of us know more than the day we have at hand, and even then, in a blink tragedy can strike. I share this because though we assume we may have time, we cannot be so arrogant to think sharing the important things can wait. They can't. Life is frail. I know from personal experience, the haunt of things left unsaid. We are all connected through our impressions, impacts, and insight that we share with one another - that's the sum of our humanity; as equal to our individual need "to love and be loved" . Sometimes our words are all we can offer, but they often times hold the most amount of weight and are the greatest gift we can give. Be simple, but be intentional about letting every person that means something to you, know that they do. If you have a friend that you know will always be your listening ear, thank them for that blessing and acknowledge the gift they possess of empathy. Thank your partner for the little things that don't actually go unnoticed; these little things often make the most difference. Thank your parents for the selfless love they afford you. Let the neighbour who means more to you than they likely know, know that they do... Life is just too precious to wait for tomorrow. What are some of the things you should say?
And with that said, thank you for reading this.