How Do You Wish To Be Remembered??

 

Editor’s Note:

What a hollow day.

As we all have witnessed the devastation of school children in a small town in southern Connecticut, we feel helpless. Hopeless. As though our world is shattering all around us. 

What’s happening to us as a society? Is this how we treat one another? 

It’s easy to go to an ugly place – a place filled with grey haze and negativity. Children are gone. Families are torn apart, and nary a week prior to the most blessed day of the year. 

It’s heart-wrenching. How do we move forward after such pain and destruction? 

We move forward one slow, hope-filled step at a time. 

One faith-filled step. One step that there may be a purpose of which we are not yet aware.

There has to be. There is no other explanation.

In the days that follow such devastation, it is my hope that we – as a unified people – can find trust in one another. That we can find hope. Promise of a better tomorrow. A safe tomorrow.

It seems dismal, but hope seems all that remains. In honor of the lives lost, I am posting a blog written after the death of a colleague.  Perhaps after such tragedy, we dig deep within ourselves and find a way to be better. Act better. And treat each other better. 

Ask yourself, after you’re gone, how do you wish to be remembered? 

 

heart in sand on beach sunset

 

Today, I had the unfortunate duty of paying my final respects to a former colleague – our receptionist that “never met a stranger.” She was always positive and meticulous to the point of craziness, yet nary a harsh word ever passed her lips.

I’m 100% proof-positive I couldn’t make the same claim.

Sitting in the last pew of the local community church, along side half-dozen of my former colleagues – women whom I now consider friends – made me think. REALLY THINK. If this were my funeral, the end of my days, how would I want to be remembered?

What would I want people to say about me?

What words would people use to describe me?

How would people FEEL when they thought of me?

As I sat thinking of my friend, I thought, “Kathy was kind, and loving, and remembered every detail that you ever shared with her. She often inquired about family. In fact, nearly every day, she would greet me by saying, “How is Katie today?” She was always thinking of someone outside of herself.  More directly, Kathy always left people better than she found them.

This funeral also brought to light the element of time. Kathy was diagnosed with cancer in September, and not three months later was gone.

I evaluated in my head, “How do I use my time? Do I spend it lovingly, and freely with those who mean the most to me?”

Proudly, I could say a resounded yes to that question as I learned tragically 11 years ago, when we lost our “Best Man” unexpectedly, life offers no guarantee of the length of time you receive.

Through that very painful loss, I learned not to live in regret, and to spend time with people who light me up and not those who deplete my energy with drama or negativity.

And I always take time to tell the people how important they are to me. You never know if it will be the last time you have that privilege.

I share a hug, a laugh, perhaps a kiss.

{Note: If I say, “I Love You” to you, it’s not my intent to seem creepy or weird or needy. I just want you to know how much you have touched my heart! I nearly said it to a friend on the phone today, but thought, “She’s going to think I’ve gone zag-nuts and burnt-out my last brain cell.}  

Nestled between former colleagues, now friends, who shared that last pew with me, made me realize, work friends are like non-other, and probably the best of both worlds. If you can survive eight hours every day – or more on the road – next to them and still choose to spend MORE time with them – then, it’s a huge success. It certainly doesn’t happen all the time, but when it does, it’s akin to holding the winning lottery ticket in your hand.

Based on that row of women, I’ve already won.

And for that, my cup most definitely runneth over.

This post is in honor of my colleague, Kathy, who not only taught me the virtue of patience (wait until all of the coffee has arrived in the carafe before pouring a cup) but most importantly, by living authentically, and with kindness and love, you give people plenty of opportunities to say nice things about you after you’re gone. 

 

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