Life is short. On July 27, 2014 it was one year. A year since a dear friend's son died in a motorcycle accident. Just shy of his 29th birthday, it took just one moment for his life to change. This trickled to the life of many changing. He left behind one wife, one son, one mother, one father, one brother, one youth softball team, and so on. He was born one day after my anniversary. My youngest child's birthday falls exactly one month before his birthday, though born years apart; they were both the youngest in their families.
Before his death, I didn't have a picture of Will on display in my house. Now I have one small picture of him in my living room. It was given to me at the funeral home. In the picture, Will is sitting on his early birthday gift, a cherished motorcycle he admired and was given to him by his one soul mate, wife Kelly. It is the motorcycle he was riding on July 27, 2013. I could give you at least a dozen reasons why Will is a fixture in my house now and they would be accurate. There is, though, one true reason he remains prominent.
At Will's funeral service, the time we gathered as one group to celebrate his life along with his death, the residing priest gave each of us one challenge. I do not have the exact words he stated, but it boiled down to live your life like Will. Not be like Will or model your life after Will, this was different. He looked into the faces of hundreds of people, saying something like this, "What one word, one sentence embodies to you how Will lived his life? Look at how many surround you in this church. He had to have done something to have touched so many people. What was that? What one word comes to your mind? Live that."
Immediately one thought came into my mind, "Love living life." To me that was Will. Do I know Will loved living life? No. Do I know that is how he appeared every time I saw him? Yes. Even on a rare time I heard him grumble about something, that young man never left without showing joy. He took the time for people. He took the time to acknowledge you in his life no matter how often you did or didn't see him. He worked hard and he took time to play, to enjoy himself and others.
Tears filled my eyes, because I knew I loved that about him. He always made me smile, even when I was cringing by something he said, inside I was smiling. He could be crass by something he said, and he didn't offer an apology. Oh maybe a small one by how it made you feel, but not with what he said. And no matter what you said, he was okay with that.
I think it boils down to one thing. We have this life. We can live it dissatisfied. Will had plenty of things that happened in his life to cause him to be bitter or unhappy. He chose to live his life happily. Something I don't always do. I feel sorry for myself, worry about something I said, or about something someone else said about or to me. What good did or does that do me? How does that improve my life? How might that affect others?
So I sit here. Will's sitting here grinning beside me in his picture on his motorcycle. One reason Will remains in my living room is as a reminder for me to LOVE LIVING LIFE. Will's picture daily speaks to me as if he's saying, enjoy yourself and value time with people. Love living life.
Each day I'm choosing what kind of life to live. Each day you choose what kind of life you live. So, I challenge you, no matter what has happened in the past, what hardships you are facing now, love living your life. Think of Will smiling, forever 28 sitting on his custom-made motorcycle. He had it right; love living life. Thanks Will; it's a beautiful way to live.