I find it almost impossible to believe it has been one year ago this week, since my dear sweet friend John made the choice to end his life. This is a post I have avoided…well, for the last year. Many friends have asked me to write this, but I just could not bring myself to do it. But today, I’ve decided is the day.
I have said this so many times but it is something I believe is true to my core. We are all authors, and the story we are writing is our life story. We are in charge of the story that will be told about us and how we will be remembered. The beginning of the story is not the whole story. Some of us have lots of chapters filled with suspense, love, laughter and even some hurt. But what are the themes inside those chapters that people will remember? What story are you writing?
A few weeks after we lost John, there was a celebration of his life that was planned for his family and friends, several of us got up and shared stories of our experiences with him through the years. Some of us has had a long history with him, while others were new to his story. As every single one of us got up and shared our stories, there was a theme that developed. John was passionate about his family, dogs, friends, the outdoors and his faith. He was generous with his affections, time and money. He always had a story that would guarantee a laugh. And most importantly, every one of us knew that he loved us and loved us well. It was amazing, as there were more than just a few people who spoke, and every one of us touched on all of these points. And finally…all of us were passionate about how we felt about John. John’s themes were clear and defining, his tragic end was not his defining moment, it was the way he loved all of us – just where we were, all of us a little differently. That’s how I will remember him! What story are you writing?
Candidly, even today I miss him. I think of him often, and without fail, I wonder if there was anything else I could have done. I’m so grateful that the last time I saw him in person, I told him I loved him. Around that time, I had decided I wanted to make sure the people I love, knew I loved them and that I told them. What story are you writing?
Life is short and should be enjoyed. How many of you have forgotten that? Is your motto: “Live to work, or work to live?”” Is someone in your family missing you at dinner every night? So today, I am begging you to consider the following:
1. We only have one story to tell, and there may be many chapters but what themes are you developing inside your story? What is the over arching message?
2. Don’t get so caught up in your work, or other commitments, that you miss out on critical time with your family and friends. Are you giving your best to the people you know the least?
3. Friends, family, and pets are a treasure, make time to enjoy that treasure. What are you waiting for? The perfect time may never come.
4. Don’t be afraid to reach out when you see a friend, family member, or even a colleague in need. A kind word or a smile can go a long way with someone who his hurting. So often, people say nothing because they don’t know what to say, when a simple I’m so sorry, or even a kind smile would do a world of good. A small gesture or kind word could make someone’s day.
5. Stop waiting for the right moment – that moment is now! We don’t know what tomorrow has in store for us – so go for it today!
Most importantly, if you find yourself hurting today, please, please, please let someone know. I am sure you have someone in your circle of friends or family who will listen…and I bet willing to help. I know there are days when you feel overwhelmed and like things can never get better. Don’t believe that lie! Things can get better, things will get better, just hang on. Reach out don’t walk through this alone. One thing I know for sure, things can change in the blink of an eye.
So as you set out today, commit to giving a little of yourself to the people you love and who cross your path today. Here’s just a few ideas to get you started:
– Make it a point to stop putting off calling that friend or family member that has been on your mind, do it today! – Hold those ones who are dear a little closer today.
– Pass along a smile to the person at the coffee shop, grocery, cafe (you get the idea) who always has a smile for you.
– Email, text, im, (heck, whatever works for you) someone special and tell them…even though they know – trust me the words mean a lot.
– Set out to spread a little of your joy today, be positive, don’t fall into the complaint trap at work.
– Leave work on time or maybe a little early and have dinner with your family.
– Take a moment to count your blessings.
– Come up with your own great idea and do it!
When was the last time you put down your electronics and just enjoyed some uninterrupted quality family or friend time? What story are you writing today?