Last night, I went to a memorial service for my spouse’s boss – a man who died too young after a short, fierce battle with cancer. I did not know this man well, only having met him a handful of times, but I was moved beyond words by what I witnessed.
The event itself was very non-traditional. As far as memorial services go, it was perfect in every way. The venue was intimate, non-religious and conducive to intimate chit chat and reminiscing among friends. There was a bar, there was food. The man’s wishes were for an event “no sadder than it has to be”. His loved ones definitely pulled it off.
It was immediately obvious that this man was held in high esteem by all who knew him. The lineup of people patiently waiting to enter and speak lovingly to his spouse, who personally greeted each person as they arrived, was beyond anything I had ever seen before.
A few his good friends and loved ones spoke about his life and the man he was. It was clear that, even though his life ended tragically, cut short by an awful disease, he lived life to the fullest in the time that he had. It seemed that everyone who was a part of that life felt grateful for the impact he had.
Behind the podium, on a large projection screen, photographs of the man in all his endeavours flashed across the screen. Just being in the room, feeling the love, was an experience unparalleled to any other in my entire life.
Already, typing these words, I feel frustrated because I don’t have the skill required to describe the atmosphere and intense emotion that filled the room.
I just know that, when it was over, I walked out of there feeling the strangest array of unexpected emotions. I felt inspired. I felt validated. I felt that this man lived the life that I have been trying to live, only he did it better, with more grace and humility and love. With more determination, flare and personality. I felt envious of the life he lived and of the people who obviously felt so fortunate to have been a part of it. I felt sad that someone with such tremendous spirit was taken too soon. I felt afraid that when my time comes, I will not have made a fraction of the impact on the people in my life that this man did.
I also came away with a renewed sense of gratitude. Gratitude that I still have today to work harder at being someone who deserves the kind of love and respect this man had in spades. I still have today to make my loved ones feel special the way his loved ones did. I still have today to live, to love, to travel, to experience, to be my best self.