In loving memory…

This blog is meant to be about work, life, health and how to not only get by but also to become the best version of ourselves in all of these areas.

My goal is to be completely honest with you about everything that I do and try, things that I go through and learn from.  Today’s topic is a bit of a personal one, but I think it’s important to talk about. It’s important because I learned so much from it and it caused such a sudden shift in my life that I know it made a permanent impact.  

It’s also important because it’s just about life. In life, we experience happy, beautiful times and losses that make us want to just curl up in a ball and cry.  We aren’t always going to be able to be go-getters and achievers, there are going to be low lows. This past April was that for me.

To say that the month of April totally sucked would be an understatement.  I lost my Uncle Jim and Aunt Donna exactly one week apart. Both of whom I was very close to growing up.  Both of whom I love dearly. One death was sudden and the other was more anticipated, but both hurt. Both hurt so badly that it felt like my heart was breaking.  I couldn’t control the tears coming down my face, I couldn’t believe it was happening and I had no words or thoughts. I just saw complete grey and felt a heavy cloud all around me that I couldn’t seem to shake away.

If you can’t tell already from my blogs, I am a “fixer”.  A “solution-oriented” person always trying to solve the problem or find the good in the situation.  With something like this, it’s hard to find any positives at all because there is so much loss, hurt and anger.  I kept trying and failing to at least find my silver lining in the clouds.

I had nothing until I listened to the eulogy at both of their funerals.

I really debated even writing this blog because I thought, “No one cares about this.”  “This isn’t important to your audience and it won’t help them.” But it’s important to me and it’s helped me. It’s important to me that I always remember them and what they each taught me about life.  What legacy they have left behind that I will hold onto, look up to, and strive towards forever.

Their legacy and memories are my silver lining.  

I’m not sure if some of you ever think about this, but I think about the legacy I will leave behind and the impact I will make on this world often.  I was so attracted to being a recruiter because I truly believe I am able to help and make a difference in people’s lives. That’s also why I love writing this blog so much.  But when I would think about the impact I will make in my life, it was always a far distant thought, nothing that would actually happen any time soon.

When I was actually faced with the end of a story for two of my close family members, I was saddened, but also proud of the people they were and what they brought to this world.  And I felt so, so lucky that I had them in my life for a time and that I was able to be loved by them.

jungle jim.jpgMy Uncle Jim had a couple of different people speak at his funeral, but the message was consistent.  He loved everyone, always. It did not matter who you were, what walk of life you came from, or whether you had just met on a plane.  He made you feel special, loved and like you were the only one in the room. He had an energy that would light up every room he walked into.  He loved to make people laugh and was the funniest man I have ever met. He was constantly cracking jokes, but never making fun, again leaving you feeling special and light.  Any time I would walk in the room he would start singing, “There she is… Miss America…” He would sing songs loudly, dance regardless of who was watching and dress up as a Teletubby or Austin Powers depending on the occasion.  He never held back his own joy and had the type of laugh that would make everyone laugh. He has always reminded you, without actually saying anything, to not take life too seriously. My dad was one of the last to speak and he ended it with saying that he was, “Our leader in happiness” and that he was. He truly was a light in all of our lives.

My Aunt Donna was my mom’s sister so my mom spoke at her funeral.  Her stories also aunt donnawere consistent with every person who came over our house to visit. All of us just spent a lot of time sitting around the kitchen counter telling stories of Aunt Donna, just like she would have wanted.  My Aunt was fiercely loyal, protective of her kin, unapologetically her unique self, and was always helping others. She would help me study for tests at Sunday dinners and was always there whenever I needed her even if I didn’t ask. She would proudly talk about all of my siblings and our cousins to anyone she would meet, just because she was proud that we were all related.  When she was younger she would help the neighborhood kids who were being neglected by bringing them peanut butter sandwiches and bathing them in her parent’s pool. And she continued to do that as she grew up. She never had much, but she would always take the time to stop and help the wounded, hurt or less fortunate. Doing whatever she could to make their lives better, even if that left her with nothing.  She did all of this without any care of what others said or thought of her. She was quirky and beat to her own drum. She was unique, interesting and absolutely wonderful in every way.

I think part of the reason I am so sad is not only because they are gone, but because they were such lights and warriors in our world truly making it a better place for us.  They each did it in their own way, but the impact they made rippled into all of our lives and made it a little brighter and better.

Death and the rainy seasons in our lives are inevitable.  It’s going to happen whether we like it or not, but when that time does come what do you want to be remembered as?  

What will your friends and family say about you at your final chapter?  

Did you fully live out each day you were blessed with?  Did you love as much as you could? Did you reach for your dreams?

So often we let ourselves get stuck in the small details of life.  We get upset or consumed by things that don’t really matter. I am totally a victim of this and do it more often than i care to admit.  Too often, I get upset about what my body looks like, or that I am not performing well enough at work, and I get annoyed with people I love for the DUMBEST reasons or give attitude to a stranger because I’m not happy about something else in my life.  

This is my choice and my mistake.  Our lives and our worlds are what we make of it.  The legacy we leave behind, what we are remembered for after we leave is by the actions we choose to make every day, the things we choose to say or not say, the way we treat others, the way practice patience, the way we give and receive.  All our choices, our actions.

Losing them, reminded me of that.  It made me really stop and think to myself, right now, this very day, have a lived out a life I am proud of?  Have I made the type of impact on the world that they did on ours? How do I show up for those around me every day?

My pause in my response was enough of an answer for me.  I am hard on myself, but it made me realize that I can get so caught up in being successful in what I do, sometimes I forget about why I want to be successful, which is so that I can have the freedom to spend more time with the people I love…  

At the end of the day, we aren’t promised tomorrow, we are only promised today, this very moment to show up as the best version of ourselves.  Since then I have tried to remind myself that every day. I have made sure I made more time to be with my husband and family, doing small things for them just because I love them.  I will continue to work towards that, trying to remember to stop and think what the result of my actions will be.

I hope if this blog does anything for you, it reminds you to stop and give gratitude for what you have in your life today and to take a minute to think of the life you are living, the impact you are making and the love you are giving.

In your final chapter, would you be proud of you?

I am so incredibly grateful for the time that I was given to be with my Aunt Donna and Uncle Jim.

They taught me to love with everything I got, be unapologetically myself, not take life too seriously, be a light for all of those I come in contact with, laugh a lot, and, at the end of the day, family and friends always matter most.  I promise to them, to never forget that and to do my best every day, to chose to live this way.

April was a hard month, a very rainy season in my life, really it was more like a downpour.  But this beautiful May day, with the sun coming up behind me, it reminds me that after every season there is another one waiting for you.  Another opportunity to try to rewrite the ending of our story. Another opportunity to start new, try again, and to stand back up.

After all, April showers bring May flowers.

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