Death & How We Lived

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“While I thought I was learning how to live, I have been learning how to die.”

Leonardo da Vinci > Born April 15th, 1452 & Died May 2nd, 1519


Before I begin, I thought I should let you know that I work for a small community in Wisconsin. Whenever there is a death or a passing of a loved one, they share it with those who work in the community as a small gesture for anyone who would like to attend the funeral to pay their condolences.

Anyways…


About two weeks ago I received one of these emails in regards to someone who had passed away at an elderly home. He was 92 I believe, and I’ve never met him nor did I know anything about him. In the email it described his life and all that he accomplished while living, it also talked about the things that he enjoyed and loved doing. When I finished reading, I found myself quite emotional.

He was a 20 year Marine Corps veteran who served proudly in WW II, Korea, and Vietnam. He repaired and drove the M26 Pershing medium duty tank during the Korean conflict. After he retired from his military service, he moved his family to Campbell, CA and worked for a company there  that built the Bradley Tank. He was a mechanic and then became a welder of this armored vehicle. After his retirement, he moved with his wife to Wisconsin where they built their home and enjoyed their years of retirement.

The email described how he took pleasure doing many things in life; traveling, gardening, tending the yard/home and hobby of wood working. He also enjoyed playing dominos and laughing. His travels took him to see the marvelous sights of the U.S. He had a special place in his heart for this birth place and enjoyed visiting it when he had the opportunity. He also enjoyed visiting his children who resided out west. His youngest son, once he moved out he had located to Anchorage, AK which is where he enjoyed vacationing there to fish and enjoy the pristine sights of the state.

He was a sweet, loving man. He left a legacy with his family and he will be truly missed.


Maybe it was just me that day, but this really got to me. This mans obituary, even if it was summed up in an email, touched me in a way that life is precious. I began to think that if I died today, what would my obituary say? Would it sound anything like this, not exact, but would it touch someone the way this one touched me? In my honest opinion, I don’t think it would. It would probably be a bit pathetic and sad, maybe a bit depressing for some to read. Now I’m not saying that I dread my life in any way, but I know I haven’t been living to my full potential. I have so much to offer and yet, I allow my very self to get in the way. I allow these doubtful thoughts to enter into my head, making me feel like I have nothing to contribute to society. How do I want to be remembered? What is my dream?

I’m 24 years old and I’ve spent too much time trying to figure life out instead of actually living it. I wish I could be that person who just goes with the flow, to allow life happen as it should, and not worry about every little thing that faces me. If and when I die, I want people to remember as a good friend, a good daughter, a good sister, someone they looked up to. Just the other day I got down on one knee, eye level with my 3-year-old niece and told her this…”don’t grow up, stay little as possible. I’ll always be here for you, no matter what you may face in your lifetime…just know that I love you and I won’t let anybody hurt you.” As I stood up she looked up at me and said “really eeya?” I smiled and said “yes, really.”

I’m sure the 92-year-old man had some struggles in life, and even some tragedies that he had no control over. Yet he lived 92 years and passed away peacefully. I wish to live a long life, and that I would be able to look back and smile at everything that has happened to me. Life matters, you matter.

Are you happy with where you are right now? If not, what is stopping you from being happy?

 

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