Celebrating A Life Well Lived

Written by stuestler on March 16th, 2009

I just returned from a short trip to attend the memorial services for a life-time family friend. Though not related by blood, he was my “Uncle Rudy” – as close as any of my blood relatives.


His wife, my “Aunt Barbara” insisted that the weekend was not for mourning – it was to be a celebration of a life well-lived. He had just turned 91, and had been ill for several months, so she had a time to adjust and say good bye. Rudy lived a rich, rewarding life and had accomplished everything he wanted to do.


In his 45-year career as a doctor he had given greatly to his community, and had received much in return. They traveled the world together, and experienced all the richness that life has to offer.


Seeing his life remembered in the photo-collage that the family had created was heart-warming and inspiring. It triggered memories of times from my earliest years spent with our families together. It’s amazing how just a single photograph can bring back so much, and recreate such happiness.


True to Barbara’s wishes, the weekend was a time of happy remembrances and a reuniting of family and friends. We all tend to think of the people close to us but time and distance has a way of separating us and we never find time to keep in close touch.


It’s a bit of a painful reality check to see how we can all drop what we’re doing and find the resources to come together to say goodbye to a loved one, but don’t seem to be able to justify the time and expense to get together to enjoy each others’ company while we’re all still here.


The weekend provided a chance for reflection and renewal for me as well. And it gave me an opportunity to connect with a young member of the family who I had known of only by name, who is now a high school student and an avid budding photographer. We hit it off right away and it will be exciting to help guide and mentor her as she progresses and grows. And maybe it’s also a way of continuing the legacy of our families’ connection for new generations.


I suspect that somehow Rudy had a hand in that . . . J


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