Thursday, November 19, 2009

Life is short

I really believe that my recent overwhelming drive to find meaningful work and meaningful life experiences has a lot to do with the recent losses that myself and my family have suffered. We have lost a countless number of friends and family in the last year. Four of those losses hit WAY too close to home. I have been thinking about these people lately, especially on my visits to the cemetery to visit three of the four. I can't help but think that one of the reasons that they died was to teach all of us that life is short, so we should live it to the fullest - while we can.

The four people below really knew how to take advantage of all that life had to offer. I miss them all more than words can ever say.

Elaine Wilke "Aunt Elaine" - Died November 16, 2008.Aunt Elaine was my mom's aunt. She was an amazing woman and was active and vibrant up until the last months of her life. She was a volunteer at a hospital and a women's center. She played tennis and golf. She did all of these things well into her eighties. She was married for over sixty years, she was the proud mother of two and grandmother of two.

John Lodewyck "Grandpa John" - Died January 4, 2009.

My Grandpa was a man of many talents. You name it, he tried it. He was not only a wonderful husband, father and grandfather, but he was one of the most multi-talented men I have ever known. He was a photographer, sketch artist and painter. He was an actor, a singer and a writer. He drove race cars, scuba dived and played sports. He traveled often - he went camping, took cruises and went on international tours. He also served courageously for the United States Army in World War II. He was a prisoner of war twice. One time even bravely escaping the horror of prison camp, only to be recaptured. He was married to the love of his life for 66 amazing years. He was the proud father of three, grandfather of eleven and great-grandfather of four. He gave the best hugs ever!

Victoria Sandy-LaCerba "Vicki" - Died March 8, 2009. Vicki was my sister-in-law and friend. She lost her life way too soon. However, she packed more into her short life than I could ever dream to pack into mine. She was a lifelong learner - eventually earning her Master's Degree in Medical Radiation Physics. She dedicated her life to fighting cancer. She was asked to speak at many medical conferences. She enjoyed music - both listening as well as playing. She traveled often for leisure as well as work. She was an avid reader and would often share her books with me when she was finished. She was married to my brother for almost seven years. They had two beautiful boys - one of which will only have pictures and our words to remember his mommy by.

Rosaria Anthos "Rosie" - Died May 25, 2009. Rosie was a dear friend of our family. She also lost her life way too soon. It was amazing what Rosie was able to do - all with that great smile that she had. She co-owned a beauty salon. She belonged to many groups and clubs. She belonged to a cousins club, a movie club, the Elks club. She golfed and played cards. She was always willing to help out without hesitation. Rosie would always ask how you were doing and you could tell that she genuinely wanted to know. She had a great sense of humor and was a joy to be around. She was the proud mother of two sons.

This blog post has been incredibly difficult to finish. I wanted to be sure to honor my loved ones in a way that felt right. However, there is so much about all of them that I miss everyday, that I knew that I could never write enough. These descriptions don't nearly do justice to the incredible accomplishments of these four amazing people. I have just provided a small glimpse into their lives for you to see. . .

All of these people grabbed life by the horns and lived it to it's fullest - leaving behind an inspiring legacy. I can't help but think about what my legacy will be. Right now, I'm feeling like it would be pretty empty, so I am taking steps to enrich my legacy. I really believe that living my fullest life, includes finding work that makes a positive impact on the world. I am seeking out volunteer opportunities that are meaningful to me in the hopes of finding my true passion and hopefully a new career. And at the same time, I will be helping out some awesome causes!

"The life given us by nature is short, but the memory of a well spent life is eternal."
~ Author Unknown