Yesterday I attended the most heart wrenching but heart warming ‘celebration of life’ I have ever seen. Just over a week ago a dearly loved colleague and friend moved through this life very suddenly, without warning. Everyone who knew her was shell-shocked and we struggled to find meaning from this. We felt lost and grieved heavily despite knowing that her passing was quick and that she knew where she was going. We weren’t grieving for her, we were grieving for us – those left behind, and for the gaping hole she has left behind.
That hole however will not remain empty. I believe that hole is filled with the legacy she left behind. The legacy of a life well, and fully lived. That legacy was always there even in her life, but the magnitude of it could not be comprehended until you walked into the jam packed church full of hundreds of people who cam to celebrate her life. Right from the outset you could tell that although the tears would flow and we would hug each person that much tighter, this celebration would not be about sorrow or loss. The service was sprinkled with light-hearted stories of yesterday’s, but shined with stories of the effect she had on every single person she met.
Personally, I had never heard a bad or negative word leave her lips despite how easy it is for us to do so. She embraced life and all that is in it with a grace and mercy mirroring that of people like Florence Nightingale and Mother Teresa…I kid you not, this woman was special. She gave every second of her days to helping others, both in her work and in her personal life and spare time. Not in a martyr-like way but in a way that many people were overwhelmed by the sheer enormity of her life’s work. I know I was.
So in keeping her legacy alive and strong I am calling myself to action. I am calling myself on my own sh$t. That’s not to say I’m dismissing or undervaluing what I already do or who I already am, it’s just that we can become complacent in first world issues and forget the sanctity of life and our connections to it. I want to live a life where the people that come to my funeral are those I have a deep connection with because if you haven’t the time for me now why come to my funeral? i have no doubt that each and every person there yesterday was connected in life with this beautiful woman. I want to leave a legacy. Not to be known for it or awarded for it. But to leave this world far better than I entered it. I want my children to look back over my life and say that they were blessed to have a mother like me. I want my friends to look back and say that they were blessed to have known me. I want to leave imprints on my community, society and our world, that will have implications for good for many years to come…even by the small things I do.
What I don’t want people to have experienced are missed calls, missed catch ups, conversations filled only with gossip, etc. so I have to actively work on this everyday…just as this woman did.
I will commit to being present with the people in my life.
I will commit to valuing the time people set aside for me.
I will commit to being real with myself and striving for a wholehearted life.
I will commit to giving of myself, showing up and being seen – daring to be vulnerable.
I will commit to sharing my resources with others in a way that empowers them.
I will commit to letting go of material need because ‘stuff’ doesn’t complete me.
I will commit to working trough my issues instead of hiding from them.
I WILL COMMIT TO LIFE