Success by Ralph Waldo Emerson:
To laugh often and much
To win the respect of intelligent people
and the affection of children;
To ear the appreciation of honest critics
and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate the beauty, to find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch,
or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.
If you have ever met one of these people, you know it instantly. They shine brighter than us all. They infect us with optimism and the thoughts of possibility. We subscribe to their joy and lust for life, and when they leave us, we feel the void so deeply we struggle to find the words to capture it properly. We must lean on one another and layer on to one-another’s stories, and memories, and smiles as we remember “that time” we as individuals, will never forget.
When KSP called me on July 7 as I touched down in Detroit, he led with, “I have some weird news.” Unsure what “that” meant and how to react, I paused and uttered “ok.” His words that followed landed like a bomb on my heart. “I think Will is dead.” I sat in shock as I felt the beautiful supernova of Will’s soul scream past me and evaporate leaving me only in deep sorrow.
My inability to rationalize what KSP was telling me came from the larger than life footprint Will created with everyone he met. It came from knowing his incredible wife, our friend K, whose own vibrancy and grace was what balanced Will and tethered him to this planet so that we could all dip in and out to benefit from his gifts. It came from knowing his children who still model everything I hope Q, E & M will grow up to be one day; kind, thoughtful, polite, passionate and smart. It came from the notion that those of us that were lucky enough to know him beyond in passing, feel as if we wallow in that cavernous area left behind, at least so I thought until we went to his service.
As I looked down at his program, nearly 2 months after he passed away in a tragic accident while on holiday at a wedding in Zimbabwe, it hit me that Will’s birthday is today, October 5. I knew Will’s birthday was in October. I had always thought it was the 13th due to the times we had celebrated in the past, the most significant of which was October 15th, 2009, the night I stayed out late, 28 weeks pregnant paying tribute to Will at a club in Hollywood. After a fun filled evening of having random club goers come up to touch my burgeoning belly, and Q and E bouncing around with the thumping of the music as I sat under Will’s careful eye to make sure I was feeling ok and had enough water to drink, KSP and I came home and 3 hours later my water broke and our lives would never be the same.
If you have spent any time here then you know I believe everything, every moment, every person comes into our lives for a reason. Whether you know why immediately, or the big reveal is reserved for a series of chills that takes over your body as the realization of the impact of a chance meeting in a pool in Mexico would change your life forever as you sit at a service to say goodbye, you almost always come to connect the dots eventually.
Will’s gravity pulled us in as we enjoyed a vacation in Cabo. Between a water spout and hurricane like conditions, we bonded with the Pooveys and spent most of our holiday finding ways to entertain ourselves indoors through endless hours of card games, business ideas and burning pizzas. When we all found out we lived only miles away from one another we knew we would be life long friends. And so it was; vacations, concerts and visits to one another’s homes for parties. During this time of our initial friend courtship, I was also trying to get pregnant. We had been unsuccessful, until April 2009 on the exact day that my grandfather passed over to be with my grandma.
If you have already read the post above, or if you don’t have time, in short, I believe my grandparents had a role in the very special delivery of Q & E and of course Baby M.
My grandparents we married on October 5. Will’s Birthday is October 5.
As I sat in Will’s memorial and stared at that date, chills spread throughout my body. Somehow it was linked. KSP and I never meet people on vacation. After years of travel, Will and K were our first resort friends. We made time, invested time to spend with them and they with us. Will’s brightness and K’s spirit kept us coming back for more.
That night in 2009 for Will’s 39th birthday, I almost didn’t go, I was tired and working late. I was pregnant. But it was Will. I wanted to go.
48 hours later I gave birth to Q & E. What I once saw as the most traumatic things in my life (and some days it creeps up and haunts me), I now see as a blessing in most ways.
Had Q and E not been born so early, we would not have tracked E’s progress.
We would not have had such amazing access to doctors, and resources.
We wouldn’t have known she was delayed.
We might have waited even longer to have her genetics test.
We wouldn’t know she had Angelman Syndrome.
So today, on what would be Will’s 44th birthday, I know why we he came into our life. Why he flashed so briefly, but with such strong light and presence he will stay with us in our lives and our family, forever. Why his memorial program will go in Q’s memory box so he can one day explain the significance of what I always thought was a chance meeting to his sisters and his own children.
Will, you are missed, and we are and always will be connected. Thank you for the many gifts you shared with us and even from afar we can feel you still burning brightly so that we will remember to aspire to the same success you achieved in your too short of time here with us. You are the epitome of ‘mynewfavoriteday,’ the ability to find a moment of joy and share that despite what swirls around you. I may not have totally understood that then, but I do so understand it now. You are truly a Supernova in a galaxy of stars.
Happy Birthday dear friend.
And to my beloved Grandma and Grandpa, take care of our Will. Happy Anniversary.
Source: Cover image from http://www.sci-news.com