Sunday, November 22, 2009

Precious Life... Precious Moments

When people advise us to cherish the moments we have together, to remember that these moments are precious, the message often goes through one ear and out the other. Although it may seem overly sentimental at times, the depth of this advice is infinite... and one of my best childhood friends is realizing the wisdom of this adage from his personal experience of great loss. His sister and best friend suddenly and tragically passed away in the spring of her life one week ago. When I saw him yesterday, he reflected on treasured memories of his beloved sister and embodied a deep sense of gratitude for those precious moments.

As a child, I often referred to David's family as my adopted family. His mother was a model mother in my eyes. She was caring, compassionate, thoughtful, firm, organized and so funny. Her expression of 'tough love' was always tempered with a clever wit that dissolved our resistance and made her seem to flow on the wings of grace.

Jean was the model little sister... loving, playful, creative, expressive, optimistic, confident, thoughtful and forgiving. Like her mother, she had a vibrant sense of humor, and was often smiling and joyful. Not that life is always rosy, but Jean was like the sun... she couldn't help but shine. Even when she was very upset with David, it didn't get the best of her... she would quickly forgive and forget. I think that Jean was wise enough to see that the attention she received from her brother was just another form of affection, regardless of how it was delivered.

At the mourning services, there was definitely grief and sorrow. And beyond that, there was love, admiration, and deep appreciation for the legacy that Jean left with her loved ones... of whom there are many. In celebrating her life and mourning her passing, Jean's bright spirit shines through. Those of us who were fortunate enough to know her came with reverence to her nature, and let that pervade the mystery of such an untimely passing so that we could remember the bigger picture, and reflect on the fullness of Jean's life. Dave said it perfectly... because of her ability to squeeze the nectar out of all of life's little moments, Jean lived more fully than most people will ever live.

On a more personal note, I started to think about my relationship with my own sister, Natalie. In the pursuit of life, we have allowed our relationship to drift apart. All I could think about yesterday was how grateful I am for her... that I can still squeeze her, touch her, laugh with her... that we can still make faces at one another, and share stories about how ridiculous we were as children. I was overwhelmed with gratitude and appreciation for my little sister who is so special to me... and feel a deep longing to connect more often with her, and to soak up the precious moments we will have together.