Saturday, May 28, 2016

Smile and Remember Those Who Lived Fully

My friend, Linda, died last week after a 5 year battle with cancer. I didn't write a blog post last week because it seemed inappropriate to write about trivial little things that make me happy as though this major sad thing didn't just happen.

The 19th Anniversary of my brother's death is coming up as well. He actually died on May 30th, Memorial Day, in a car accident . Chris was a runner, so I've been running in the Bolder Boulder every year on Memorial Day weekend in his honor. Even though he didn't die in the war, Chris was an Air Force pilot, so when people honor the veterans on Memorial Day, I can kind of feel like everyone is stopping for a minute and remembering, if not him, someone... someone they loved and lost.  And I feel comforted in sharing that moment of remembrance.

When someone you know dies, it feels strange for life to just go on. People still get upset about the littlest things and you want to say: It doesn't matter! You're alive and healthy. Don't waste a minute being upset about something stupid.

At Linda's funeral, her daughter gave a wonderful eulogy, reminding us of how much spunk and vigor Linda had and how fully she lived.  She told us that Linda didn't want us to cry because she'd died, but smile because she'd lived.

Though facing mortality is tough, it does force you to remember and savor the joys in life.  I feel so grateful and lucky for all the sweet moments I enjoy daily.

A few of my recent sweet moments?

* Beating a new Minnesota friend (and a big, athletic guy!) at tennis. Though this may not seem like much, I've never been very athletic (always the last picked for the team in High School) so winning at any kind of sport is a big deal! Plus it was just fun to be playing with a big, athletic (and handsome!) guy.

* Coming home to Colorado for the week and being able to work out of the local Broomfield office. I'm so lucky that the office is less than 3 miles from my house and everyone was very friendly there.

* Seeing Reneya perform in her first big ballet performance. And today, I attended a beginner's ballet class for adults with Megan while Reneya had her 4-year-old class.

* Being home to see my irises and lilacs in bloom. My yard is so beautiful and I'm so lucky to have a housemate who lives here and takes such good care of it.

* Being in town for the celebrations both of Linda's life at her funeral, and the marriage of my friends Brad and Allison. Linda and Brad were both members of the Rebuilding Divorce Recovery group I was in over 10 years ago. That group of friends has been like extended family over the years.

* Celebrating my friend, Sue's, birthday at her gorgeous, newly redecorated home. Even though it was her birthday, Sue created such a beautiful table setting with a candelabra bouquet and fine china.  And I made two of my traditional strawberry-rhubarb pies!

 These are just a few of the things that have brought me happiness in the last couple of weeks.

It can be hard to find happiness in the little moments in times of grief..  it almost seems disrespectful or insensitive. But actually, I think those are the times we need most to find those simple joys and to smile. It doesn't mean we've forgotten the people we grieve. It means their death has reminded us to live fully.

So for Linda, Chris, Dad, and my friend, Craig... Thank you for setting the example of lives well-lived.


eric said...

Liked Your article. Sometimes we forget that life is way too small to get into worries and worldly things. A smile is what the least we can do. Such a small gesture can bring cheer and happiness to the person facing us. Great.

Lara Harding said...

I agree with you. Sometimes we got very busy with our lives that we almost forgot to enjoy our lives. Thanks for the reminder to live and enjoy our life to the fullest. Because who knows what's gonna come next. Love the way you write your blogs. Thanks for sharing and I will definitely suggest this blog to my friends.
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