After losing a second family member from a sudden, unexpected death, I have been thinking a lot about the many faces we show the world.
There is the face we show to our co-workers—some perhaps seeing nothing more but the serious, business side of us. To those co-workers who we see outside our office, we may reveal our lighter side, where we share jokes and a few personal stories.
We let our hair down with our closest friends and families more, allowing them to know our opinions and some secrets, because we know they will not judge us. Few of the people in our lives know every faset of our personality.
How many of Dad’s acquaintances knew that he did not prepare taxes for the extra pin money, but rather, for the little old lady who came in each year and waited just for him?
I bet many of Kelly’s friends do not realize that she used to take photos, pro-bono, of the reuturns and good-byes of military families at the airport in Atlanta.
Jamie never announced to the world that she tutored an ill student after school each day and then made sure she was included in a special ceremony at year’s end.
Casey is now preparing to meet a refugee family this weekend and help the children with their English. I am sure few know that side of her.
Those are examples of faces that are not obvious to the world.
Reading through the comments about Aunt Sara, I saw a side of her that I wish I had known—the Sara so many of the people in Maine that lived, worked, and interacted with her knew far more than we ever did.
Over and over I heard her called a kind and loving soul. She was referred to as a “beautiful, strong woman,” with “such an appreciation of life.” More than one friend said “Sara was indeed a shining light to all of us who had the privilege of knowing her;” “she was a true light in this world;” and “was always a bright spot on this planet.”
She had just finished finalizing a new job working at a nursing home and was returning home when the accident occurred. Having visited Grandma at her nursing home, we know that working in such an environment is a calling that few answer. It takes a lot of patience and understanding, so I should not have been surprised by hearing that “she always cared about everybody;” and “she had a gift for connecting, for listening carefully, and for sharing an open, positive, uplifting outlook on life with other.”
“Over the past year, she provided us with steady comfort and support;” “Sara was a thoughtful, creative professional who helped my mom and our family through some difficult transitions;” “Sara touched the lives of so many with her heartfelt and caring attitude,” and “Sara’s huge heart and giving spirit brought joy to so many people.”
Wow! I really did not know her. I have certainly learned a lesson about not letting distance and differences get in the way of keeping in touch with the special people in my life.
What will people say about me? If it’s not good, at least I won’t know.