Immediately, the following questions popped into my head:
Do I live with regrets?
Do I try and enjoy and cherish each and everyday?
Do I do my best to tell people I love them?
Do I enjoy life, live it to its fullest, and don't let the small stuff get in the way?
These are 4 questions that became very apparent and sat at the forefront of my mind during my visit in Maine. I think it is super important for us to talk about/think about/contemplate/meditate on our own mortality. It lights a fire under our butts, it gets us thinking about the stuff that matters. It is useful in our own spiritual development, whether we are Catholic, Buddhist, or Jewish.
Yes, my time in Maine has been somber yet I was able to participate in a well-deserved celebration of my grandfather's life. Below is what I wrote and read at his funeral:
"My parents taught me early on that when somebody goes out of their way to give you something from their heart, it is important to write a thank you note to express your gratitude for the gift. So I thought it would be fit to write one last thank you note to my grandfather.
Thank you for teaching me to have an affinity for reading and books. I remember going to the South Portland library with you and browsing the shelves, filling up paper bags and coming home and reading in the living room with you. For that, I will always have a library card and think of you when I use it.
Thank you for letting Nate and I play in the attic, even when it was 100 degrees up there. We loved exploring the old clothes, trinkets, and boxes of old National Geographic magazines for hours. For that, I will always seek out new places to explore.
Thank you for letting Nate and I eat all of your candy in the glass dish on the coffee table. It was yummy. For that, I will think of you when I unwrap a butterscotch disc or peppermint candy.
Thank you for letting Nate and I drive your golf cart around in Florida. Your only rules were, “Please don’t get hurt and please don’t crash.” For that, I will always remember these things when I step into my car.
When I called you from Seattle and asked how you were doing, you said with a chuckle, “It’s perfect weather, played golf this morning, just finished dinner, and I’m watching the Red Sox game. I can’t complain.” For that, I will remember that in essence, life is pretty good and I shouldn’t complain.
One of my last memories of my grandfather was when he and my dad took me out 2 years ago to play golf on a real golf course for my first time. I had a blast and will remember the lessons of patience, laughter, and most importantly, having fun every time I pick up a club, even if it’s a game of mini-golf or the driving range.
Papa, thank you for being a wonderful grandfather. A mellow spirit who thoroughly enjoyed your life and your retirement. You raised a wonderful son who is an amazing father and your life lessons will live on.
I found a book in my old bedroom called “Golffirmations.” As I thumbed through the book smiling, the last page proved to be the perfect closing:
“Cherish the beauty of a golf course at dusk. The cool has come. The light, now orange, slants through long shadows. The birds come alive again, deer or rabbits enlivened by the sun’s fade venture into a fairway. A peaceable kingdom is born. The players, weary and yet ennobled by staying the course, putt out to rising of the merest wind, the hush that comes with good night.”