As you know, the last week has been a rough one for me, with my oldest brother passing away. And with the outpouring of love and support, I see that so many feel deep sympathies and sadness for me, and their support has been really comforting, lightening the burden of grief. I have learned a couple of things about the true meaning of life through this event, and I wanted to work it through and share it here.
The first thing I realized is that my brother had a positive impact on the lives of so many, within each of his circles of friends, colleagues and family. It was evident in their grief and their stories, and I was so proud that what I loved about my brother, others loved too. I can see very clearly now that his impact on so many was a tremendous achievement in life — one that means more than money, possessions, status, or other commonly held signs of “success.” Being a force for fun, a force for caring, and a force for stepping in and taking charge, he was a place in life that made others feel good. He was a bright spot in others’ lives, one that stands out from the routine, normal, ordinary, or robot like existence — what I sometimes see on this train!
The second thing that struck me and is reshaping my perspective is that Life IS the Goal. I capitalized some of the letters in that last sentence to add emphasis to that phrase. I don’t want to be morbid, but when I saw my brother’s lifeless body, it wasn’t the him I have known. His soul was out of his body, and what made him him was not there. The extreme sadness comes from the fact that what made him great, and what others loved about him, is now over. His game has ended and his chance to make the most of every day is done. How did he do? Pretty damn well. And what that means to me is that my time is now. As with Charlie, any day could be the last one. So I must make the most of every day, make a positive impact today, and not wait for down the road to do good, or be happy, or make the world a better place. The time is now. Every day is the goal.
Seeing a body without life makes me realize the gift and opportunity we have in every moment inside of the life we do have. In my brother’s passing I have been given a secret that is easy to forget amidst the stresses of everyday. And luckily the opportunity to stretch and jump and breath and create and give back and make all of our time better is right here, right now, right in front of me. The gift Charlie gave us is one that we can also give…through life.