I don’t know if I (we?) feel it more because we are overseas and away from the comfort of family, if I have more time to reflect and be introspective (I spend a LOT of time sitting in traffic…), or if it really just bites to lose family – extended or immediate, biological or de facto – or, (most likely) a combination of the three, but when we lose a loved one, it hits close to home and thoroughly sends me in a tail-spin.
My uncle passed away recently. It’s not as though we were close, though I have tremendously fond memories of him and his family, and the kindness that they have extended to me and mine. It isn’t as though I thought of him every day, nor spent huge amounts of time with him. Perhaps I am dwelling on this because my dad’s passing is so recent, and perhaps just because losing a family member pushes me to think about those still living, and what I can do to better the connection I have with each of them. I don’t know. Suffice it to say, I am preoccupied with thoughts of family, and connections and what we can do to make these connections stronger. In this day and age of connectivity (internet/etc), we can't use distance as much as an excuse as we once could. In addition, I’m thinking about what impact I have made, what I might be remembered for, and by whom. (Honestly, it bears repeating, I spend a LOT of time in traffic.)
So I am asking myself:
How am I making an effort to stay connected? And with whom? Am I making myself available to the people I hold most dear and important? Am I using my time wisely to reach out, and also to reach in?
I wish in lieu of regret after losing someone, we would instead do our best to connect BEFORE the loss happens. I keep feeling this way about my immediate family, and my relationship with each of them. I keep feeling this way about my extended village of friends. What can I do to reach out more? What can I do to make a more positive impact on others? Not to be morbid, when the time comes to pass, but what do I want to be remembered for? I always feel like the best one can hope for is to pass away having a sense of happiness, contentment and connection.
So I’m asking myself:
Am I fostering positive change? And I leaving this place better than I found it? Am I building – literally and proverbially – instead of destroying? We move often, recreating our community each time. Am I contributing positively to each new space and place? Do I contribute positivity? When I see something I do not necessarily agree with, do I try to foster positive change? Am I respectful in my differences? Am I accepting of others, and help them through their trouble spots? Am I using the tools I have to spread positivity? Is this all too Pollyanna-ish?
I don’t know, it isn’t as though I want to start writing my epitaph, but this has given me a moment to pause and reflect. This is as good a time as any, right? And better now than wait until who knows what happens. Making good things happen, and searching for the positive is a lot more productive than dwelling on what isn’t or couldn’t be, methinks.