A few weeks ago, a close cousin unexpectedly had a heart attack and a few days later passed away. He was a year younger than I am, an accomplished lawyer, with a wonderful family of five. To our close knit family, those few days before he passed away felt like years and were moments of mixed emotions – disbelief, hope, sadness, despair. As his physical body slowly surrendered to his Creator, all that was left in our hearts was deep sorrow.
There was deep sorrow and longing that this could be a dream. Deep sorrow for a great loss. Deep sorrow that sometimes felt like not only was the rug pulled from under us, but the floor itself caved in. As I wallowed into this sad feeling and interacted with everyone else who came to say their last goodbyes, something amazing happened.
Everyone had something to say about my cousin. Not just something to say but something amazing to say. He had a gregarious spirit that would light up any room. He was the biggest cheerleader for his academic and sports minded children, their coach and most avid motivator. He helped everyone by extending his services as a lawyer to those in need, paying or non-paying clients. People would describe him as “someone always in the present moment” and “someone who prioritized family over everything else”. His daughter summed it up in one word: Love.
Reflecting on the 24 hours between the wake and the funeral, it is ironic to experience how death of a loved one is also a celebration of their life. The energy around the room was sad but very warm and positive. Our grieving hearts are uplifted with the appreciation of the simple, most basic ingredients in life – breathing, smiling, and hugging. We long for these small but precious present moments that give us comfort. In our quiet thoughts, we have a renewed sense of how fragile life is, realizing that life happens right here, right now.
Small moments well spent are what make life's big memories.
I have come to the conclusion that it is the small moments well spent that make life’s big memories. It is the simple things we say and do that touch people’s hearts. And that a life well lived is all but a series of small moments where we are truly present for each other.
Do you recall the last time an unexpected event happened in your life? What unexpected insight might have you learned, if any?