In the last four months I have lost both my mother and best friend Dick, who I've known since grade school. Other than my wife and children, these two people knew me better any one I have ever known. Those relationships are hard to replace. I still find myself talking to both my mom and Dick virtually every day…in a different kind of way.
A few weeks ago on Mother’s Day it was hard to believe that Mom was not going to be with us to play cards or to help us plant flowers. On Memorial Day weekend it is our family custom to put flowers on family grave sites. This year I have two new grave sites to visit, but because of other family obligations, I won’t get to visit with my loved ones who are buried in Jefferson City on Memorial Day.
My mother was 93 years old and was ready to die. She had lived a good life and was at peace at the time of her death. My friend Dick just turned 65 years old and he still had many things he wanted to do with his family and his job. His illness was not part of the plan, yet gradually he accepted his fate even though he fought a vigorous fight to live.
This Memorial Day, I am a new grandpa and I'm so excited to spend time with my grandchildren. As I spend time with my new granddaughter, I'll certainly be remembering those who have passed and think about how the cycle of life continues. It is up to us to leave our world a better place than we found it for our grandchildren. Though I miss them every day, I'm proud to say my Mom and Dick accomplished this goal.
Steve Roling is the President/CEO of the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City. Each week he blogs about issues that inspire him as we work toward eliminating barriers to quality health.