Monday, December 9, 2013
A life too short
Over the weekend I attended a memorial gathering for a woman who died too young. Accomplished, funny, beautiful, and in love with her husband of over twenty years, she was remembered in story after story told by friends who struggled to contain their grief as they spoke. She was a person who lived her life with gusto, who never hesitated to explore what interested her, and, who, generous with her enthusiasm and joy, shared it all with her friends.
I listened to the stories and each person told of how by a casual connection, an invitation for coffee after class, or a successful work assignment blossomed into a deep and lasting friendship that enriched their lives. I had met her, but I did not know her well - our connection was that our husbands are colleagues. At one point, perhaps, someone suggested we ask contact her about a mutual interest, but we never got around to it.
I am struck by how hit-and-miss it all is. How many wonderful people do we pass everyday, and miss connecting with them? What would your life be like if you hadn't taken that phone call, accepted that invitation, gone to that dinner party? How many friendships and enriching experiences are passing you by, right now, today?
She lived her life being open to what came. Her optimism, curiosity, and joy sustained her and those who loved her, even to the end. How did I manage to meet her, and yet miss knowing her? Who else am I - are you? - missing? It's a lesson to remember.