the secret to a meaningful life

Silo and Sky
Silo and Sky

The last few days have been spent traveling some of the bleak roads of the midwest in midwinter on our way to the funeral of my partner’s grandmother. Like most family gatherings of this kind, it was a kind of miasma of joy and regret and eye-rolling and hugs.

Also like many midwestern families, my own included, there was a lot of humor shared to counter the grief of the loss of their beloved. Many joyful memories were shared, lots of wry joking, including the observation by my partner that “This was probably just Grandma’s way of making sure we all got together for the Holidays!

We all laughed, and into my head came an image of Grandma raising her matronly finger and saying “I’m going to reunite them if it’s the last thing I do!” Because in a way, it was.

Now, before you shake your head and say Gray, really? Show some respect! I have to say yes, I know, it’s not the most reverent thought. But at the same time it was an epiphany.

How to make every moment count:

It’s pretty simple: just remember that death comes for us all, often unexpectedly. So whatever you’re doing right now could, conceivably, be the last thing you do.

It that what you want remembered? No? Then you’d better start doing whatever it is you do want people to remember you doing. I got to see dozens of people between the ages of five and ninety-five remember Natasha’s Grandma in fond terms, and over and over I heard people saying how glad they were to see each other. I didn’t know the woman very well – met her only once – but I saw so much of her reflected in her family’s eyes.

Hers was a life well-lived. It made me want to pay more attention to my own. To make every moment worthy of being “the last thing”, because eventually, one of them will be. And in the meantime: how could that be less than an awesome life?

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