“Life is not measured by the number of days or years you spend on Earth but rather, by the number of people you inspire…”
I met someone recently who lost a friend too soon. Five weeks from diagnosis to passing. He was 40 years old and a father to little ones. I met some ladies yesterday who shared similar stories of loss. One lost her husband after 45 years of marriage and another discussed the dedicated details she attended to for her husband’s military burial. All this in just a couple days and when you add to it the recent loss in Parkland, I was left wondering what can we do, how do we make sense of it?
Life can be too short for all of us and while we know that intellectually, in order to truly internalize the lesson, we have to experience extreme loss. But what if instead, we could learn from others? What if the legacy of the ones we love inspired us to dream big, be daring, and value every minute? And so I ask the question, few dare to consider:
What would the 17 say to us today if they could? What would they have done if they were given just one more day on Earth? Would they tell us to fight? Tell us to be more cautious? Would they tell us to hold back, focus more on worries, concerns, loss? Or would they tell us to soar? To enjoy our families and friends? Is it the strife and mundane we want to remember, or the moments of brilliance? Joy? Strength?
In other words, what would honor the 17 – not just remember them, not just fight for future children, but what would help them leave behind a legacy of inspiration?
When I lost my daughter, I knew I had to find a way to think of her with a smile. I couldn’t cry forever – that wasn’t the legacy I wanted for her. So we started doing what we call “Sarah-Inspired Activities”. We remind ourselves to boldly act and live in ways we might have shied away from previously. We do things as a family as a point and include her in our discussions as just one of the kids – albeit an angel kid. When we lost our neighbor at the age of 50, I applied this same idea – his goal had been to get out of the hospital and take his jeep to the beach. He didn’t get the opportunity but in his honor, I took my jeep and had a blast.
In honor of the Parkland 17, I challenge you to find something in your own life you’ve been neglecting, putting off, or wishing you could do but have been afraid – and do it anyway – do it for you, do it for them, do it to live every moment you have on this Earth!