Sunday, May 8, 2011

it was worth all the while

Wednesday was the only sunny day we got in Seattle last week. It was fitting that this was the day that we celebrated the life of Kim Ricketts, my friend and onetime boss who passed away last week. The service was incredible: moving, sad and funny all at once with heartfelt speeches and stories from her family and friends; it was held in one of the biggest cathedrals in the city and it was packed to the gills with hundreds of people who loved her. I met up with a couple of the other women who worked for her beforehand and we didn't part ways until twelve hours later. 

I had been dreading the day. Funerals are hard: I feel uncomfortable crying in front of people and I'm always desperate not to say the wrong thing. But as the day wore on, and the day became night and the nearest and dearest stayed on to drink and eat and talk about the amazing life of the woman we'd lost I began to feel as though I never wanted it to end. Surrounded by all of these wonderful people who I'd met through her, I couldn't hep but feel as though she would come around the corner at any moment. She never did of course but I swear I could feel her there. I heard people saying the same thing to each other all night. 

I've been thinking about death more than I would like to lately but this is only thinking about life really. Kim was a woman who knew how to live; she was passionate about doing the good things in life, eating good food, drinking good wine, reading good books and spending time with good people. Her life wasn't nearly long enough but I can't imagine anyone getting any more out of 53 years. She had a storied career, a beautiful family and about a billion close friends. 

Reflecting on a life so well spent can't help but make you question how you're spending yours. Are you doing the kind of work you want to be doing? Spending enough time with the people who you care about most and not too much time worrying about the rest? When you are gone what will be left of your efforts here? A family? A business?

When someone is diagnosed with a terminal illness, we begin to measure the time remaining: six months, two years. But it's always finite, the clock is ticking on all of us. Now is the always the time to make it count. The only question is how.

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