My cousin recently lost a good friend and was going through a very rough time. One minute she was tearful, and the next minute she was laughing when she thought about the funny memories she had created with her friend. One thing was certain; the young lady that passed away had definitely made a massively positive impact on my cousin’s life.
A few days before the funeral, as my cousin was preparing to say the final goodbye, I went to see her and asked her to tell me about her friend; partly because I thought it would help her to remember the great times they shared and also because I was very curious about this seemingly incredible person.
My cousin said this of her friend: ‘She was amazing, down to earth, energetic and full of life. She could give all she had to make the next person happy. She would succeed in whatever she did and pull you along. She sounds too good to be true, but she was all this and much more’.
Wow! I remember thinking that I missed out on knowing this special person. I couldn’t help but think about what my friends/ people that know me would (truthfully) say about me when I’m gone? Would I get the basic, she was nice, fun to be with etc or would I get a heartfelt appraisal like my cousin gave her friend?
We’ve all asked ourselves that morbid question: ‘Will people miss me when I’m gone?’, but do you ever wonder exactly WHAT people would miss about you? If you were to ask the people that know you best that question, what do you honestly think they would say about you, and most importantly, would you be happy with their answers?
Truth be told, I’m still trying to find my own answers to that question.
Maya Angelou famously said: ‘I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel’. Talking to my cousin about the loss of her friend has illustrated this perfectly. We leave an everlasting impact, negative or positive by how we treat people, and what we generally put out in the world. My cousin may forget a few things her friend said or did, but she will never EVER forget how her friend made her feel.
One of my biggest goals is to leave a massively positive impact in the hearts of people that know me and also in the industry I’m working in. My cousin losing her friend gave me a huge reality check and I realise I will have to do much better if I want to achieve this.
This is a bit of a dark topic, and a lot of people don’t want to think about death, but sadly it is inevitable. The bigger question I suppose is what legacy will you leave behind? Are you leaving people with positive impacts by how you treat them?
And just because I’m a sucker for quotes, I’ll leave you with this one:
‘Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.’ – Shannon L. Alder