Three years. After three years, one would think that I would know my way on this grief journey. Yet I am still learning that my daughter, at 10 years old, has a wisdom way beyond her years and a simple, yet straight forward, way through the grief. I have learned so much from Jaelyn on this journey.
One of the biggest lessons started last year on the two year anniversary and became even more clear this year. Typically when one thinks about celebrating the anniversary of someone’s death, the first thoughts or ideas that come to mind are putting flowers on the grave, releasing balloons, etc. Last year it didn’t take me long to realize that Jaelyn didn’t want to “celebrate” her dad’s death, she wanted to celebrate his life.
Such a seemingly small distinction, but oh so big in significance. You see, Scott was so much more than his tragic and early death. He wouldn’t want to be remembered for dying young or dying suddenly. He would want to be remembered for how he lived, what he enjoyed doing, and what was important to him. Scott loved people. He was a loyal friend who helped his friends - often anonymously - without care for himself or recognition. Scott loved adventure. He didn’t want to look back on his life and wonder what kind of impact he had made. Scott wanted to change the world for the better. He was willing to take risks, both for fun and in life. He dreamed big!
In thinking about this tonight it reminded me of Jesus’ example. Can you imagine what our lives would be like if we celebrated Jesus’ death? How depressing. No, we have so much hope because we can celebrate his life! He wants us to know how he lived, what he spent his time doing, and what was important to him on this earth. Jesus didn’t do these things for recognition. Jesus changed this world for the better! He lived big!
See, celebrating Scott’s life reminds me to celebrate Jesus — and what better tribute to a life well lived than that!