November 5, 2012

What’s Left at the End of Our Journey

You will not be remembered for what you accomplished, you will be remembered for what you gave to others while  you were here.

Last week Friday, the mother of a lifelong friend passed away very unexpectedly.  While the story of her passing brings tears to my eyes there is something simultaneously peaceful, sad and thought provoking about it.

Mom was packed and ready to go on a trip out of town to join her daughter and son-in-law at a special  performance. When the driver arrived at her house, he found the door opened (screen door locked) and Mom sitting with her suitcase on the chair. She was unresponsive when he knocked and rang the bell.  My friend was contacted by the local police who phoned shortly after to tell her that Mom had passed away. 

Mom simply packed her bags, quietly waited, and left!

No one knows when our journey here will come to an end.  Sometimes a serious illness offers a sense of our mortality; though, even then we really don’t know when our time is up.  In this case, Mom was never sick or had any known indications of ill health.  Even though she was in her twilight years, she was very active and relatively vibrant.

I haven’t seen Mom in nearly forty years.  I do remember her and I know what she has been up to.  She was always pleasant, kind, and nice to me whenever I came over to the house.  I know she remembered me and talked with my friend about me, even though we haven’t seen each other in years.  Despite the absence of direct interaction, she always cared enough to stay in the know.

Mom was also loved.  Her daughter thought the world of her.  She enjoyed spending time with Mom whenever she could and she was close to her Mom in every positive way.  Even though Mom is gone, she will never be forgotten and the memories, experiences and lessons from her time here will go on and live on in the hearts and minds of those who knew her.

Few of us will have the simple luxury of packing our bags, sitting on the porch and quietly, suddenly, and peacefully leave this earth.  However, life comes and goes that fast, that suddenly.  Once we are gone, all we leave behind is the love, the lessons, the experiences, and the gifts that we have given to others.

As you sit in the midst of your confusion, your chaos, your struggles, and your quest for a better life, reflect on this – what are you giving to others that will be cherished and shared long after you are gone?  It is not what you accomplish in life that anyone remembers – it is how you loved them, taught them and appreciated them while you were here.

Mom, I am sorry to hear you are gone.  You packed your bags and left us — it was obviously your time.  One thing I know, you will never be forgotten, you are loved, and you will always be appreciated because that is the gift you gave us when you were here.

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About Dave Cooke

Dave Cooke is a dad on a mission. His mission is to help parents get control of their lives over the powerful, destructive influences of a child's addiction. As the father of a son in a ten year heroin battle, Dave knows all to well the challenges parents and families face. He also knows there is a way to find peace in the chaos. It is his mission to help parents discover their path to a healthier, balanced life even if a child's active addiction is still part of their daily journey.