Recently I lost a very dear uncle of mine to complications following a liver transplant. The transplant was successful, however other things developed afterwards that could not
be controlled. While I have lived away from both sides of my extended family (grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins) for my entire life and have not had the good fortune of having them be a part of my day to day life, they were always there. I remember trips to my grandma’s house where I would run up to my uncle and plop myself on his lap, braid his hair, do his makeup, play barbies, etc. As we get older we realize more and more the important roles our extended family took and how important they are. Often though, we don’t truly feel the impact they had on our lives until they’re gone. It is then that we realize what we have lost forever, what kind of person he or she was and how they have forever influenced our lives. As I listened to the eulogy and stories from family and family friends at this recent funeral it gave me both a warm fuzzy feeling and a sense of loss. It was good to hear this other side of him that I hadn’t seen, to hear about his trials and tribulations, the joy he brought to his family and friends and what a good person he was. On the other hand all of these things just made me miss him more, and made me wish we had had more time with him.
With every death you think that it’ll get easier but it just gets harder. As we age we will lose more and more people that are dear to us and things will get clearer and clearer when it come to leading a purposeful life. My uncle may have only had sixty-four years, but he “lived large”. He made the most of those sixty-four years. He got an education, married the love of his life (my aunt), had four kids, and then welcomed seven grandchildren. He had a booming social life and a purposeful career in the education system. He realized his full potential and aided others in finding theirs.
While he is no longer with us it gives me peace to know that he is no longer in pain – he has gone to a peaceful place. And now, while we are still unwilling, we must grieve and begin the healing process. He would want us to continue his mantra to “live large”, to take life by the horns and make the most of it, to squeeze out every bit of potential, and I intend to do just that.
Don’t simply exist, LIVE. And if that’s not quite enough to get you going think about what others will say about you at your funeral. Will they commend you for what you gave to this life or will they wonder why you didn’t do more? Will they talk about your accomplishments with awe? Will they see a family that is overcome with grief because of the truly remarkable person you were? I truly hope so. If you can make such an impact then you have lived life to its fullest.
And now to do this myself.