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You can’t make their life or death more meaningful

There’s been a lot of death around me lately. Well that’s nothing new. And not just for me. If you’re paying attention there is death around you too. All the time. Always. (And no, not just in the past year. Any and every year).

In this last month I’ve heard of a number of deaths linked to me. No one close to me, but many acquainted. A friend’s family member, a friend from years ago, an old client, to name just a few.

It’s always a good reminder of my own mortality. These people were a range of ages and died in a range of ways. Just like any of us can at anytime.

But what has particularly stood out to me recently is the desire for those ‘left behind’ to actively make the life and death of that person mean something.

This isn’t uncommon. Someone you love dies and you decide to live your life more fully as a tribute to them.

Or you plant a row of trees in their name.

Or you start a charity raising awareness and funding for their particular cause of death.

Or you use what you learn about death and grief through them to teach and empower and heal others. 😉

All of these are of course noble and worthy pursuits. But not at the cost of the meaning and direction of your own life. And certainly not for the reason of bestowing more meaning on their life.

You can’t make their life and death more meaningful. It’s already meaningful. What you can do is to commit to finding the meaning.

It’s not your job to create the meaning and beauty (and the reality is that we more often feel the need to create that meaning and beauty when we don’t believe there was enough of it already, like if they died younger than expected). But you can opt to discover the meaning and beauty that’s already there – in both their life and their death – and appreciate it.

Then you are released to create meaning and beauty in your own life….instead of dedicating your life (and sacrificing your dreams) in your attempts to make them matter more.

It doesn’t matter if they lived 100 years, or 40 years, or a single day. Their life was and is meaningful and beautiful enough.