My father-in-law died. Jack was always a positive person who wanted everyone to be happy and healthy and to feel included. There were no boundaries to his positivity...everyone was either a friend or a friend he hadn’t met yet. The man had a heart of gold, and treated everyone (and I mean everyone) with real kindness and dignity. The world felt much darker and less good without him.
I thought about things I had said to him while he was in hospice. In particular, I remember that I told him “don’t worry, I’ll take care of everything.” At the time, I meant it in reference to ensuring his daughter and wife had good lives. That was the start.
After he was gone, I wrote a eulogy and was asked by my MIL to share it at his service. It was brutal...saying the words aloud was even harder than I expected and I had to pause several times, but I got through it. I view it as one of the most important moments of my whole life and still feel so honored to have been the one to speak for him.
Later, while reflecting on what I had said, I saw opportunities to try and fill the void that his death created. I could be the guy to arrange group activities, or drive groups places, or make silly jokes. I could be there to support people’s passions and tell them they’ve done a great job. I could be more kind to more people. I could be more like Jack.
Jack has been gone for 5 years now. I think of him most days an still miss him dearly, but try every day to be a better guy in his memory. I’m nowhere near the man he was, but I’m trying. We should all be more like Jack.