All That Matters

"Loss alters life.  And life carries on, with all the agony that suggests."

Saturday night we lost someone very near and dear to our family to cancer. This man had a profound impact on my life and was like a second father to me. My parents had been friends with him and his family for over forty years. Many of my fondest childhood memories included him. Some of the best stories centered around him and his enduring playful sense of humor. In short...he was incredible.

It has been a few years since I had seen him. Life, as always, has been a bit hectic since welcoming Lochlan.  I wish with every fiber of my being that I had made the effort to see him more. "Could have" and “should have” are immediate alternates when finding words to write about such dark moments. One learns a few more things about oneself, and it occurred to me while thinking about Winston and reflecting on another year without my Poppy. I think I’ve learned some lessons from their loss.  Further, that perhaps those lessons might be valuable to my peers as we all start to enter the age when these tragedies become more common and we begin to know, not think, but know what life is like without those dearest to us.

Here are a few for your consideration...

Call your mama more - Loss is a catastrophic event for all of your relationships.  Those relationships firmed in strong foundations are tested and usually emerge stronger, those without usually crumble underneath the weight.  It sounds like some self-help hippie horsecrap, but the foundations for strong relationships are truly built brick by brick over a long period of time. Those bricks are FaceTime conversations and picnics and road trips and vacation and holidays and phone calls.  Every interaction in every relationship is an opportunity, you can lay another brick or you can take one out.  The foundation of your relationship is ultimately the aggregate sum of those interactions and its strength is directly reflective of how many of those interactions were spent building bricks. It helps to have a lot of bricks with your mama and the others who are closest to you.  The storm will eventually come. The warning will be scant.

Help Comes In Different Forms - You will never “get over” your's a permanent weight in you that you will carry for the rest of your life.  But, there are a number of ways that you can learn how to make that weight manageable without making you and those around you miserable. Find a small group who you spent time building brick foundations with and hold onto them. Lean on them. The experience will be a lot of less difficult for myself and the ones I loved I think.

Humans First - Everything that really matters is already around you in the form of the humans you count as family and friends.  Stuff, money, title, power, influence and fame are all decorations astonishingly easy to get and lose.  But the getting rarely leads to anything but more wanting, and losing one is usually consoled in the greater acquisition of another.
Humans are the only things in your life you can never get back. When people are the most important thing in your life, your life starts to become a lot more important...quickly.

Hug like it matters - When last I saw Winston and my Poppy (just after his 90th Birthday), I said, “I’ll see you soon” just as we embraced and I truly meant it. I was sure I would see them again soon!  I hugged the shit out of them.  And you will never know how very grateful I am that I did. If you get someone in your arms, make it matter.  Always part company like it’s the end.

Love is all that matters.



  1. This is all so true! We gotta get 'stuff' out of minds and make people the most important. Sorry to hear of your loss.


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