Thursday, May 13, 2010

Joie de Vivre

Today's topic at Five for Ten is Memory.

Since we had a bit of a shit week here, I had a humorous post planned about memory, the noun. As in the part of my brain that I gave birth to when I birthed my child(ren.) As in, why can't I remember where the hell did I put my keys, AGAIN? As in, I know we just met 10 minutes ago, but what's your name again? Yeah, that memory. The one I don't have much left of.

But then last night I went to a wake. A visitation for a 47 year old man, who died at the end of a beautiful day, that was at the end of a beautiful weekend, that was at the end of a beautiful life. And instead I want to share this with you what I learned last night:

Memories are made. It's up to you how often you make them, but if you live your life with purpose, as if each day may be your last, then you'll make them every single day, and you or your family will never be disappointed when your last actually arrives. Even if it arrives out of left field, suddenly, when you least expect it.

And, if you do live this way, you'll live on and on, long after you're gone. People will share stories of you around dinner tables and campfires. Pictures of you will cause others to smile, bringing back the sound of your laughter, or your voice in song, or even just the sound of your voice in greeting as you welcomed friends into your home.

And maybe, most importantly (for me at least) is that the spirit of you will live on in your children. Friends, family, loved ones will look at your child(ren) and they will see you. Remember you. Remember how much they loved you. They will see you, in what you have taught your children to be. Children learn from their parents - be it good or bad, but they learn it all, soak it all up, and then turn around and live it all over again, whether you're there to join them in their joy, or not.

Hopefully you're joining them. But just in case you're not...

Make memories, every day. They don't have to be Disneyworld memories, or epic events. It can be as simple as a backyard picnic. A hand held. A smile given. A smile received.

Last night I watched a three year old boy run into a funeral home with a grin on his face that lit up the room. He ran to his Mom, who was standing in front of his fathers, her husbands casket, and handed her a bunch of flowers that he had picked from some unsuspecting neighbouring garden. She smiled and laughed, and placed the flowers in the casket, along with the dozen or so other flowers that he had gathered through the day for his Dad.

Sure, there will be a day, or many of them, when he realizes what is missing in his life and he will be sad. But that joy, "joie de vivre," savour-every-moment and pick-every-flower-you-can kind of spirit, he gets that from his father. His mother too. Although she is suddenly a widow, she will never be alone. She has her son, and in him, her husband too, and all that they shared.

Life is short friends. Live it up.


Cheryl said...

Such a lesson, living each day like it's your last. But we tend to get bogged down in everyday crapola and it's easy to forget. Thanks for the beautiful post, and the reminder.

Lisa @ Boondock Ramblings said...

Great...yet sad...reminder!

Jen said...

Oh how heartbreaking. That image of a boy handing his mother flowers in front of his father's casket. And yet. I hope you can share this with him someday. Your memory of him. We all must live it up. Because life is too short. And creating memories is a powerful, positive way to make the most of every day!