Have you ever had a tough week? You know one of those weeks that just fully drains and exhausts you and you find your self tossing and turning whilst you are trying to sleep at night?
I recently had a tough week. My brother in law, Michael, after 11 years of fighting passed away from Myotonic Dystrophy. It was a very cruel disease where he slowly lost muscle tone and control and spent his last years in a wheel chair. I was fortunate enough to be with him and the rest of the family at the very end and was able to say goodbye before his last breath. If you have ever lost someone close, it can be a very bittersweet moment—relieved that he is now finished suffering, but sad at the loss of such a wonderful person.
This also has caused me to reflect on a few important things that Mike has inspired in me that I would like to pass on.
1) Don’t Complain. As we were preparing for the funeral we had the chance to think back to all the wonderful times that we shared with Mike. It was interesting over the past 11 years I did not once hear him complain about his condition. He would get frustrated when he could not do the things he used to—like driving a car, walking unassisted or being in a wheel chair. But he never once complained, he just kept moving forward in life. Sometimes we need to just appreciate what we have and not complain.
2) Live Life to the Fullest with the Time You Have. Although he was physically challenged, Mike still kept exploring. He would still go to the movies, travel (including a big trip 2 years ago to Chamonix) and even went skiing in the Snowy Mountains in July this year. I think sometimes we need to take and make the opportunities that help us live our lives to the fullest—rather than waiting until the ‘right’ time.
3) Never Give Up. The other thing I learned from Mike is that he never gave up. He was stubborn and even if a simple task like picking up a bottle of beer took a few minutes, he kept at it. He never gave up along the way. Sometimes we need to stay strong to what we believe in and also never give up along the way.
These are a few reflections on the life of a good man. Sometimes we get so busy with life that we forget the things that are important—and the people that are important to us. I will never forget Mike and enjoyed the time that we spent together—and I will also remember the life lessons that he has taught me.