Monday, February 13, 2012

A Lasting Legacy

Sadly, I bid a final good-by to an associate of mine the other day. I’d only known her a short while, but I liked her very much. I worried about her. I learned a great deal from her. In the end, however, I was astounded by her.

You see, my associate kept her business just that – her business, so you can imagine my surprise when I discovered certain things about her during her memorial service. Things like her philanthropy (award-winning philanthropy, I might add). Things like her adventuresome, beach-loving nature (I had no idea we had the sand and sea in common), her vigilant commitment to style and fashion (she never told me she met Tim Gunn, but lo and behold, there she was, photographed with him following some sort of fashion event).

Discovering these aspects about her made me realize how exceptional she really was. Showered with wondrous opportunities and accolades, she handled all of it gracefully, with dignity, and quietly.

I'm afraid we don’t see too much grace, dignity, and silence these days, do we? In this age of social media, everybody’s a celebrity. Constant status-updaters and tweeters, revealing the minutia of their daily lives, have carried the ‘Look At Me’ mentality into their personal encounters. We’ve a lot of people talking (about nothing, really), and too few listening.

Had my associate talked a little more, we probably would have become great friends, for we shared many of the same interests and possessed similar demeanors. Had she only spoken up, those of us who knew her would have understood just how ill she was in her final months. She never complained, though, and we all hoped and prayed that she’d get better. She didn’t.

 I suppose that’s why I can’t suffer foolishness right now. I prefer my communication with others to be short, sweet, informative, helpful, enlightening and entertaining. I go absolutely mad hearing complaints about mild tummy aches, sinus pressure, and paper cuts. My associate spent the last few weeks of her life incredibly frail and, at age 51, needing the assistance of a walker just to get to the powder room. You’ll get by with that wart on your thumb, trust me.

I don’t mean to come across as uncaring in the previous paragraph, but my associate’s death really made me realize how silly we all can be. We take things for granted, and get too wrapped up in ourselves to do what we’re really here to do: to love one another, and to leave this world better than we found it.

 Following her memorial service, I vowed to do more to make my community a better place. I’ve recommitted myself to keeping apprised on the latest in fashion, education, and writing because that’s how I make my living and resting on my laurels certainly won’t get me any further than I currently am, professionally speaking. I’ve also promised myself to have more fun, remove myself from social-media marathons, and to really go out make the most of each day. I shall love more, listen more, and laugh more.

And I shall never forget this amazing woman, her legacy, and the impact her life story had on me. Thank you,dear heart,and may you rest in peace.