I have been thinking a lot lately about all of the friends and loved ones of mine who have died. I’m sure I was annoyed or even really angry at most of them at some point. But this is not what I remember. I remember what they taught me about how to make the world a better place.
Some lit up a room with their smiles. They were the same people who showed me how to ask the right questions to get other people talking about their lives and smiling. Some took big risks in the name of doing whatever they loved in life. Some were great at organizing work until doing that work was no longer difficult or stressful. Some were so generous that I could not think of a reason to be any less generous to my other friends. Some were dedicated to their goals and able to pass up every distraction to make sure they got there in great time, and I learned to stay just a bit more focused on doing good. Two, both of them men, were incredibly good at parenting.
And the one thing I learned from all of their deaths is this: whenever you’re feeling annoyed at someone you love, you can make yourself happier and more grateful if you refocus your attention on the things you are going to remember about them after all the annoyances have been buried with them.