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Monday, September 14, 2009

And on the Kitchen Table was his To-Do List

They say everything happens for a reason. I’m beginning to think that there is one thing that does not happen for any reason. No rhyme, no purpose. There is no reason why parents have to lay to rest their only child.

On August 28, 2009, Jeremy Moon Lew fell asleep and never woke up. He was found in his cabin on Ruxton Island, BC at the youthful age of 36. Saturday, September 12, 2009, family and friends gathered to celebrate the life of a person who lived more of a life than some people live in 80 years.

A fine carpenter, talented skier and snowboarder, and world traveler, the things people spoke about were who Jeremy was as a person. His kindness, generosity, acceptance of everyone and anyone, his energy and positive attitude were all at the heart of all the stories that were shared. I remember him as the “cool” older cousin who was always on an adventure, totaling a car, working on a movie set, hiking, always DOING something that garnered my jealousy and admiration.

I was able to say a few things at the celebration, which is a very not me thing to do, but I wanted to share a story and the last conversation I had with Jer. We had started talking about life and how his life path had gone so far and where I life was going. In that last conversation I will never forget what he said, “Live a life and live it well.” That has always stuck with me. It wasn’t until I found out about Jer’s passing did it finally really sink in. Live a life and live it well – that’s my pledge.

As we walked around Ruxton Island today, Jeremy was still very present. You could see him everywhere. From the ashes from his smokes dusting the drivers side of his boat, to his very organized home, to the books that he read and the kayaks in the living room, it still felt like he’d walk through the door at any moment. But we all knew he wouldn’t. His presence is now translated into the rays of the sun, the paths he walked, the cabin he built, the people’s lives he touched.

I called Ilsa on my drive home just to process out loud the weekend. I told her how much I hurt for Auntie Nadine and how so full of love I am. Ilsa calls experiences like these “tenderizing the heart.” While I will not understand and depth of grief and sorrow Auntie Nadine is feeling, my heart is tenderized. Just when I thought I didn’t have any great capacity, turns out I do. I think we all have a greater potential to love more, love deeper.

Lastly, when trying to draw out the bigger meaning, the lessons to be learned, I had my moment this weekend when it finally hit me. In a passing moment Nadine said, “And on the kitchen table was his To-Do list.” Of course he had a to-do list. He was always doing something. He was living, moving forward, crossing things off. He had every expectation to complete everything on that list. I started to think about my to-do list, which are really, eventually-get-around-to lists. That’s not really how I want to be living my life, because eventually never comes. “Eventually” comes and goes while you’re busy doing things that don’t really accomplish much. Or, “eventually” may never come.

So I still don’t believe this happened for a reason. There can be no reason great enough that would cause this much sorrow. But what I do believe is that from here forward, I can live a life and live it well. I can make new habits, cross of things on my to-do lists, accept more people in my life, invest in other peoples life with no expectation of repayment, offer a helping hand to someone down and out, and give more of myself, because that’s what he did. And it made this world better.

To Jeremy Moon, thank you for all you gave, all you did and living a life worth living. Those you leave here will always miss you until they see you again. Including me.


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