Thursday, March 7, 2013

Life is Beautiful

The last 4 months have been rough. But through it all I have felt comfort in the fact that I believe there is more than this life to my existence. I know that God has a plan for me. I know that He is in charge. And I know that this life I am living has a purpose.
And that makes life so beautiful to me.
In November, my Aunt Betty passed away. I am ashamed to say it had been a long time since I last talked with her. It had been years. I wasn't able to attend her funeral either. I didn't have a very close relationship with my Aunt. Growing up I probably saw her and my cousins maybe two or three times a year, although we lived within 20 minutes of each of other until I moved to Utah when I was 19. I always admired my Aunt. She was very beautiful, smart and independent. I loved that she was an adventurer. She traveled a lot. Her favorite place was Florence, Italy. Every year she would send me a postcard with a picture of her in a different country. About three years ago my favorite one showed up in my mailbox. I put it on my fridge like I usually did and Teen 1 noticed it.
He said, "Who is this?"
I said, "It's my Aunt."
He said, "She has great legs!"
I said, "I know and she's in her 80's. She plays lots of tennis."
The picture was of Aunt Betty flying down a zipline in Costa Rica in short shorts.
She knew how to live.
I really missed getting a postcard this year.
Then in January, my friend Woody passed away about a year or more after being diagnosed with brain cancer. I watched him over the last year with amazement as he went through treatment for the disease.
Woody wasn't dying, he was living.
He was living every last moment of his life. He showed me that this life is precious. That the relationships we have are what matter most.
A couple of weeks before he passed away, he went to Disneyland with his family. There were pictures of them smiling and enjoying those moments all over the funeral program.
Woody came to church every Sunday and taught primary until the week before he died. He loved his calling and the children in our ward.
He was Teen 1's scout leader a couple of years ago. Teen 1 loved him. And Woody loved scouting.
There are so many reason I love and admire this man and his family.
Woody was known for his smile and friendly attitude. He didn't smile as much as he used to a few months before his passing. I thought maybe I did something to offend him, but I knew he was feeling pretty bad at that point. His last week at church I passed him in the hall and he greeted me with that warm friendly smile that I missed. I was so happy to receive that gift from him and to see his spirit bright and shiny that day. I will never forget that man's indomitable spirit.
The day after Woody's funeral, we had to put Ruby, our sweet dog, to sleep. It was the hardest thing I've ever had to do, but I knew it was the right thing to do. She had been sick for 6 weeks and was getting worse. She probably would have passed on her own that day or the next, but it was getting extremely painful for her. I knew it was time. It was in her eyes.
Her death was as beautiful as her life.
Our family learned a lot in the short time we knew her.
We learned to appreciate the simple little joys in life.

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