16 February 2016

My Father-in-Law

My father-in-law just passed on, at the ripe old age of 78, I think.  He was a nice man, a person who was very kind and caring.  He didn't make any big splashes in life--he never was in the public eye, and he never had his fifteen minutes of fame, as far as I know.  But he leaves behind a very loving family who will miss him dearly simply because of the person he was.  He was kind to all, and he really did care about them.

His was the kind of life that I try to remind myself of regularly.  His life was subtle and unspectacular, but it was a life well lived. During his last hours he was still joking with his family and talking about how he was ready to move on--there was no fear of death due to regrets or thoughts of things that he should have done but never did. He was ready. And being that ready is a reflection, I believe, of having lived well, and of having done the best with what he had.

Of course, there were bad times and probably things that he wasn't all that proud of. We all have those. But for the last few years of his life, those most definitely weren't the main focus of his life, for they weren't the norm--they weren't how he lived his life, but just things that happened that he moved on from. By the end, they were completely insignificant, put behind him as they should have been put behind. At the end, his focus was on the people he loved and on gratitude for all that he had had and experienced in life, and thus he was able to move on peacefully.

We can all learn something from this kind of ending. We can see that it's not necessary to have adoring crowds mourning our passing--it's important that the people in our lives feel deeply the loss, but that the mourning be mixed with gratitude that we were actually a loving part of their lives. It's not necessary to have changed the world, but to have contributed in small ways to the lives of the people around us through encouragement, love, and caring is just as important--and even more important for most of us.

He will be missed, of course. But those doing the mourning now are focused more on celebrating the fact that they got to share his life with him than they are on being sad that he's no longer here. When I go, I'd like to think that some people will be reacting the same way about me--and I know that what I do today is going to be the deciding factor if that is to happen, for tomorrow is not guaranteed to me, and I'd better spread love today because tomorrow I may not be around to share the love that is a part of me.

Spread the love now so that you'll be able to end your life well, without fear or regret. Another bonus is that you'll more than likely be able to see the results of the love that you pass on to others--you don't want death to come a-calling before you're able to give the love that's yours to give!

Rest in peace, Conrad.


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