Don’t hurry. Don’t worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way. ~Walter Hagen
Last month, I wrote a post (i.e., All I Really Want for Christmas Is Presence!) prior to the Christmas holiday. It focused on being fully present in life’s moments (both big and small) to create a series of beautiful moments with the people or things you love. At the start of this month, the previous month’s message rings true with a resounding echo. On January 5, 2015, my grandfather made the transition to heaven early in the morning after living nearly 85 full years on this beautiful earth. I got the call from my mother ten minutes after arriving at my office on that Monday morning and all I could say was, “OK and I love you.” I grabbed my bags and exited work before anyone could see me shed a tear. My car was full of plenty of tears by the close of the morning. However, in the midst of my sadness, I found joy because I knew that I was blessed to have my grandfather’s presence from birth until adulthood. His unconditional love, support, gentle nature, loving spirit, and amazing family meals are some of the most vivid experiences that life has afforded me thus far.
In many ways, my grandfather and grandmother helped to raise me and all of my siblings with my parents. Every weekend, summer break, and family holiday was spent with Granddad and Grandma Maze. I spent countless hours in their car on the road to visit family all across the country. We traveled to places from St. Louis to Miami to Little Rock to Charlotte to Detroit and numerous places in between. Each road trip was a unique adventure for me and helped to cultivate my restless spirit of adventure at an early age. Two years ago, I decided to relocate back to Alabama from the San Francisco Bay area after my Granddad became increasingly ill. My family comes before anyone and anything so the move back to Alabama was a non-negotiable decision for me.
I was blessed with two more years to spend quality time with him despite the ever present challenge my family faced while caring for my Granddad. I know that I am a lucky because I had the opportunity to know and spend time with him all the way to the end. He was a living example of fortitude – in spirit and action. He grew up through the 1930s in Mississippi and endured difficult circumstances that make any trouble I have experienced seem laughable. Yet, he persevered and made his way through life with intention and purpose. He went on to become a successful career man and business owner in Chicago while balancing family and faithful service to his church and community.
There are many people who talk about what they are going to do but my Granddad was always a man of faith and action despite being a man of few words. He was the first person to receive a call and the first to show up to lend a hand to anyone in need. I am thankful that he always led by example and attended to all the needs of his family and friends. In addition, I am forever in debt to the sacrifices, hard work, faithful service my Granddad provided to my family. No one will ever replace him and I will continue to honor the his legacy while I’m blessed to live. Although it is difficult, it is imperative to cultivate gratitude and find joy even when dealing with loss. Be thankful for what you have experienced along the way and store those beautiful moments in your heart to carry yourself through the tough days. Likewise, Eat Drink Savor Life is an affirmation of my commitment to celebrating life and cultivating gratitude in all situations – good, bad, sad, and all things in between. I decide to be thankful every day.
Until the Next Post,