Leaving your mark

At the top of each page in my day planner is a quote pertaining to leadership. Itís why I picked this particular version over all of the others offered by Franklin Covey. Well, that and the pretty pictures. As much as I sweated out the decision, I hate to admit I rarely read these pithy little tidbits of wisdom.

But on a particular day not long ago, I found myself paging through the last month worth of entries, skimming over these sayings. More than a few were profound, but there was one in particular which really spoke to me. It was the following:

ďDo not walk through time without leaving worthy evidence of your passage.Ē - Pope John XXIII

Those words stuck with me. And this past weekend, when I found myself stumbling down the road of introspection, I contemplated them once more.

I guess you could say I was having a bit of an existentialist crisis. Iíd just gotten some news I was trying to wrap my head around. Heck, Iím still trying to wrap my head around it.



You may remember that, in July, I participated in Relay for Life. Prior to the event, I wrote about why the event was important to me. It was all about my Uncle Rich and his third battle with cancer.

Thatís right, third. After overcoming leukemia and then prostate cancer, he was diagnosed again just under two years ago. This time, however, he didnít respond as well to treatments, which seemed to drain him of his energy more than make any real in-roads against the insidious disease.

Shortly after Relay, he had a major setback which landed him first in the hospital, and then in a rehabilitation facility. Which is where he was when I saw him in early August. I thought he looked great, but he was very weak Ė drained from rehab and the strain of being away from home. (I know this, because he didnít even try to pinch my cheeks.) We had a good visit, though, and he was looking forward to going home in a few days.

That didnít happen, however. Another set-back sent him back to the hospital, and heís been bouncing back and forth between the two healthcare facilities ever since. The hope was heíd regain his strength enough to start a new cancer treatment, a drug which looked particularly promising in cases such as his. But as time went on, he kept growing weaker rather than stronger.

Last Friday, my Aunt Maureen met with his oncologist, and they decided it was time to call in Hospice.

I canít imagine how difficult a decision this was for her, Uncle Rich, and my cousins Barbara and Richie, to make. No one deserves to suffer so, but it takes such love and unselfishness to let him go, to allow him comfort, peace and respect as he prepares to leave this life for the next. To accept that life is about quality, not quantity.

So I spent a lot of time thinking about Aunt Maureen and Barbara, their strength as theyíve been at his side every day through this fight. I know no two stronger, more caring people on this planet. And I shed a boatload of tears for them, and what they are going through right now.

I also thought about Uncle Rich, and all the special memories I have of him throughout my life. I know without a doubt that when he departs this world for the next, he well have left more than worthy evidence of his passage. Because he will have left an indelible mark on not only his own children and grandchildren, but all of the family, friends and former co-workers fortunate enough to have him touch their lives.

Iím one of those lucky ones.

I wish peace, love and strength to all the Loprestis and the Farrells, who were joined together by their shared history and this man. And I thank Hospice, for being there to guide our family through the process of grieving and saying goodbye.

I love you, Uncle Rich.

Follow me on Twitter ... @evesunmelissa.

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