Last evening I learned of the death of one of my high school classmates. It has been a very long time since high school (over 38 years since graduation actually). I have not seen this classmate since high school. But, I cried.
You see, after many years, Melissa and I reconnected through Facebook. It was several years ago, and we only had occasional chats back and forth. I suspect she was a private person, and preferred simply to have us know her as she was, since it’s obvious many of us did not know she was ill. I remembered she had been involved in music in high school, and she had done some beautiful artwork. In seeing some of her posts from more recent work, I was greatly impressed with her talent. She also often talked about her husband and kids, and she adored them.
Melissa stepped up when I asked friends to support me when I staffed Royal Family Kids Camp…twice. Melissa responded supportively when I mentioned things about our adopted sons. Melissa was one of the first people who said if I write a book she would read it. And, Melissa was part of the reason I have this blog. She was a big encouragement to me, and I suspect she didn’t even know it. We never had the chance to talk about a lot of details, but in the few things we did share, somehow I felt that when it came to understanding, Melissa “got it.”
It would almost seem unusual that having a brief and irregular connection with someone would have such an impact. And actually, until tonight, I’m not sure I even realized the amount of impact Melissa had on me. But it’s obvious she impacted many people, and greatly.
As I sat here thinking, I remembered it was about a year and a half ago that the death of someone I knew brought out a tremendous awareness of his impact. Just like with Melissa last night, stories flowed in of remembrance and the affect and influence of his life.
And that got me thinking some more. What if we would recognize the impact of a person before they die? And when we do, let them know. I think others need to know they have affected our life. And as importantly, we need to see how they have spoken into ours.
Then be able to look inside our own life and see what kind of impact is created by the way we live. What if we would live and share whatever we have to offer, our abilities, our likes, our truths, our beliefs–not because we want to be liked or for the recognition, but because it’s who we are, and because it matters.
Melissa impacted people just by who she was and how she lived. Do you? Do I?