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Saturday, April 2, 2016

An Anguished Goodbye

Yesterday, I found out my brother-in-law had passed away, and my heart has been heavy ever since. Per his wishes, he's being cremated with no memorial. As much as I would like to say a final farewell to him, I'm glad there is no memorial. He was never much on pomp and circumstance, and he would have hated having one. He loved being outdoors, roaming around the acres and acres of land on their property. I imagine, at some point, they'll sprinkle his ashes on the land he loved so much, and he'll become part of the forest ... just like he always wanted.

They were married for 40 years, and have two grown sons. I'm sure they had their arguments over the years, but they loved each other deeply. They were best friends. They shared the kind of love most people can only dream of. My heart aches for my sister and her boys. She is beside herself with grief, and it hurts that there is absolutely nothing I can do to help ease her pain.

Ever since my son's accident, I am acutely aware that the last time you saw someone may be the last time you see them. I do my best to live my life in a way that let's the people in my life know how much I love them. I think I do a pretty good job, but I'm going to try to do even better.

There's a song by Tim McGraw called "Live Like You Were Dying". In it, a man is diagnosed with something, and someone asks him, after receiving the news, "Man, what'd ya do?". The chorus then lists all the things he did  ... the things that he'd always wanted to do and he never thought he had time for. The song went on to say he loved deeper, spoke sweeter, and forgave those he had previously been unable to forgive. He treated every day as a gift and lived life to the fullest.

My brother-in-law always lived by those principals. He spent his life doing the things he loved. Unlike most of us, he didn't fret about what he didn't have ... he was simply thankful for all he did have. He's one of the few people that didn't need a terminal illness to appreciate life ... and he spent all his days living like he was dying. I think everyone would be a lot happier if they lived like they were dying ... and my brother-in-law did. What a gift. What a legacy. What a calming memory to leave your family.

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