Love Doesn’t Die – People Do
Lessons in living from a life well-lived. Sharing memories lives on in each of us.
A dear friend and mentor died a couple of weeks ago. She was a month short of her 97th birthday. The funeral service was truly a celebration of a life well-lived. In fact, she was the model of how to live life in grace and because she was such an inspiration, people were not weeping but laughing and smiling as the clergy along with family and friends shared stories of her life.
Love Doesn’t Die – People Do
I was so moved by the clergy who wanted us all to know that the love we had for Joan will never leave us. She may have left the earth, but she lives on in all of us evidenced by everyone in attendance who came to celebrate her life.
This is a reminder to all of us who have lost loved ones – know that the love we have for them lives on in our memories, in our families and often in the legacy they left behind.
You’re as Young as You Feel
Joan was recognized as one of the oldest motivational speakers in the U.S. which she started at age 50. She published her first book at age 56, “I Don’t Want Much From Life, I Want More!”
Up until her death, Joan was committed to empowering others and believed that we have more control over our own ageing than we did in the past. Her sixth book “Now or Never – The Choice is Yours” was published in 2018” and sure to inspire others for years to come.
Loss Teaches us Lessons in Life
It sometimes happens we get stuck in our grief; we have a hard time moving forward to live our own life following the death of a loved one or any other deep loss such as divorce, loss of a job or a home. Yes, deep losses can leave a hole in our life, but Joan would say “remember, your loved one would want you to keep living.”
As life happens, sometimes we get hit by some challenging curve balls and Joan’s life was no exception. She was orphaned as a child, abandoned, divorced and a single mother. At 65, she endured the loss of her home from a fire. Losing all her professional and personal belongings she thought she would never be able to start again, not at 65.
One day, in a monthly magazine published by AARP, she came across a statistic that changed the way she perceived herself. The statistic was, “The fastest-growing age group, are people in their 80’s.”
That fact inspired Joan to re-build her business and start again. It also changed her thinking to more positively proclaim, “I’m only 65.” One of Joan’s powerful messages today is not to let the calendar dictate when you are old and worrying about age is a waste of time.
No one else is going to come along to make your life more than it is. Your life is an individual responsibility, an individual opportunity, and an individual experience
Everything in Life is a Choice
In March of this year, Joan’s doctor recommended hospice care, he said to her “Joan you’ve climbed many mountains in your life, you’re not going to get over this one.” At the time I had been working with her on a facilitator manual to accompany her latest book. She wanted her legacy to be carried on through her work and have others teaching workshops based on her book. She told me a couple of weeks later that she didn’t think she would be graduating from hospice so best get the workbook done!
Everything in life is a choice, Joan reaffirmed this to me every time I talked with her. After hospice started paying her a visit, she said one day “I’m not alone, I’m not sad. I feel like I’m part of the future.”
Tomorrow isn’t Promised to Anyone
I’ve learned much through my own losses along with wisdom from my friend Joan. She said, “the things we wish we had done in our lives will be the things we put off, the dreams we let slip away, relationships we failed to nurture, and projects we started but never finished.” Well done Joan.
Make the decision now to celebrate your life while honoring and loving those who have passed on.