Trisha was a dreamer. She chose to look at all that life could be and celebrated the special moments. She met people and ideas with excitement. Even when she was diagnosed with cancer, she dreamed big. Outside of her husband, she wasn’t going to tell anyone and cancer certainly wasn’t going to stop her. In fact, her 38th visit to Disney World, the year she was diagnosed, held the same excitement as her first.
It wasn’t until Christmas that year that I even recognized she was sick. By that time, we knew she had cancer but the prognosis was always great, so we had no reason to suspect otherwise. That was just Aunt Trish. Come Christmas time, she was adamant about hosting her Christmas party even though she had already been given her terminal diagnosis. She never told us, so we never knew. She ended up in the hospital on Christmas Eve and wasn’t able to join us on our trip to New York the week after. We called her from our hotel room and told her about going to Mary Poppins on Broadway. Afterwards, were told that she lit up just thinking about it.
When we got back, we went to visit her in the hospital and we immediately saw the gravity of her condition. She was retaining fluid and having trouble breathing, but when I walked in to her hospital room, she lit up as usual and said, “Hey Matt Matt!” As we spoke and shared some time a nurse was helping her get comfortable. Aunt Trish was tired and you could tell. As the nurse leaned in to straighten her pillow, Trish said “You make my life easy.” To which the nurse responded, “You make my life rich.” Those words are cemented in my mind forever!
That was the last time I saw Aunt Trish and I haven’t spoken of that exchange since I shared it at her memorial. I miss her terribly and hate that she never got to meet my boys, but I celebrate her and the richness that she added to our lives.
It is only through great adversity that we find great success. However, we have to allow ourselves to recognize those moments. Actually, it is a choice to recognize those moments. Allowing the eyes of our heart to see and the ears of our soul to hear. Just like the simple exchange between a nurse and a patient; great, remarkable, extraordinary things happen everyday. We simply have to look for them.
A few definitions of “rich” can be found at http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/rich
My favorite is “abounding in desirable qualities”. What a great aspiration to be rich! To abound in desirable qualities! Maybe as a society we’ve got the right word, but the wrong definition! We’re consumed with the wrong meaning of rich! Consider your definition of “rich”. My proposal is this; if we seek to abound in desirable qualities, if we seek to bring value to those around us, we won’t have to worry about the World’s definition! We’ll be so rich we can’t stand it!
Whenever YOU are called home. How amazing will it be when, like Aunt Trish, someone tells you that you’ve made their life rich! That’s greatness! That’s greater than all of the money in the world!
Go live, richly!