When I heard that my friend’s mom had died, I was, of course, crushed. I don’t think I’ll ever forget sitting in the middle of that conference last week, thousands of people buzzing all around me, exhausted and yet exhilarated from sharing my business with potential clients, taking a break from standing on my feet, when I opened Facebook for a quick hit of something, a quick break, a quick look into my friends’ adventures a quick relief…. and saw the news.
My friend’s mom, Bonnie, who had beat cancer, had died.
Yes, I kinda knew it was coming, but it still took the wind out of me. Everything slowed in my head and I fought back tears. She was gone. Ouch.
I felt for my friend. We are way too young to be losing our moms (Actually, no matter what your age, we are all too young to be losing our moms.)
I thought about my mom. And the fact that she lives far away. And the fact that at that moment I was also very far away from my own children. And I tried to hold it together so I could go back on that expo floor and meet more potential clients. A few days later I flew home and then attended the funeral the next day.
I had only been in Bonnie’s presence a few times, but every single time she made me feel absolutely special, as though she knew me, cared about me and genuinely wanted to hear what was going on in my life and with my family. Even when we were in a crowd of people she stopped, asked about me and listened, really listened. I was amazed by her interest and kindness. I wanted to sit and talk with her forever.
At her funeral I heard a similar story from everyone who spoke. She made every single person feel like they mattered to her… and not because she was faking it, but because she really did care. Her heart was huge and it showed to anyone who came into contact with her. Story after story was shared of her kindness, her compassion, the way she made everyone feel loved and did love them.
Listening to those stories made me want to have those types of stories shared about me some day– and about all of us. Imagine if each of us tried a little harder to listen and to really care about those around us… every single person. I thought about the fact that I think nice things about people but do not share them nearly enough.
I want to be one who listens. I want to be one who makes people feel as special as they really are. I want people to feel love and warmth and I want to be the type of person who lived like Bonnie. I want my legacy to be one of love, kindness and making others feel special, because each of us really is special in our own way. Could there be any better legacy to leave? Isn’t that how Jesus taught us to live?
Thanks, Lara, for introducing me to your mom. And thanks, Bonnie, for being such an amazing child of God. I will think of you and I will make an extra effort to show more kindness in this world. You inspired me and I hope that inspiration never fades. Thank you.