Monday, May 26, 2008
(Memorial Day Editorial ('05))
Four years ago my world was thrown upside down. After leading Brown University in water polo my first two years, I blew out my shoulder and returned home to California to rehabilitate my injury over the summer. A few days latter my brother and his best friend past away in an automobile accident. I went from enjoying the pinnacle's of youth's pleasures (athletics, parties, academics) to searching for purpose and meaning in life.
I once naively believed that death was reserved for people as they declined into wheel chairs. I watched both my grandparents pass away and although it was really sad, it did not deeply impact me ...because I had the opportunity to say goodbye. They both lived prosperous and complete lives ...and it was their time. My brother's death deeply impacted me, because he was simply (in my mind) too young. ...Only 17.
It has taken me years to learn that we have no control over the randomnesses in our lives. I've often heard that "everything happens for a reason." ...well when randomness happens (like tragic automobile accidents), it's the community's responsibility to ensure that these random acts develop into meaningful testaments.
It's Memorial Day today, so I thought it is timely to revisit some old words. "William Faulkner once noted, 'the man who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.' The communities compassion has assisted my family with the process of carrying away the stones from our mountain of grief. These stones of sorrow are now forming positive remembrances of Max and Mark. Their lives rest as a testament for the positive impact that two young men can make in the community. Their spontaneous, cheerful, and compassionate attitudes will forever be remembered." -Sean Tiner '05.
I've learned that the excitements of youth (parties, sex, athletics, alcohol, rock & roll, drugs, social trends, "coolness" and acquaintances) change at a moment's notice and wan with time. My brother's accident forced me to grow up and aged my soul. It's been my spiritual pursuit that has provided an anchor to remain stable through the insecurities of youth. Consequentially, I've learned that it's the lasting impact of our actions that remain over time and continue in perpetuity. They build the foundation of our remembrance (no matter how short or long our lives may be).
Although, it's four years latter and I still miss my brother, I'm glad that his actions are remembered as "small stones" that have constructed a lasting educational foundation. It's exciting to see his memory continue through the lives of others.
I have moved forward and I am glad that now I focus on remembering the joy of my brother's life and not his end result. I'm enjoying diverse interests in life again and my creative energy as returned even stronger.
We have not control over our time on Earth, it's how we live each day that will allow others and history to remember us. I enjoy living each day to the fullest and trying to pay it forward to the best of my ability. ...Hopefully you do as well.
My thoughts go out to anyone else remembering the loss of a loved one today. You are not alone.