Focus, Balance and Death

Posted by on June 25, 2009 in Day to Day | 4 comments

It’s time to come back to my poor neglected blog. I’ve written a million posts in my head between the last one and now. One of the posts was about staying focused which related to my training for the marathon in memory of my mom-in-law. I’m happy to say that I completed it and will do it again next year in her honor.

Another post was about balance and how it doesn’t mean that you have to balance each individual day into equal and exact parts. Just that you have to balance it out over the long haul. John Assaraf once told me that there will be times that we have to focus on a particular goal and it may seem to dominate our time – that doesn’t mean we’re out of balance as long as we turn our focus back to the other aspects of our life once that goal is completed. In my case that was devoting my full attention to training for the marathon, now I’m back to the rest of my life.

I’ll have to end on a note I didn’t see coming.. I really dislike that part of life sometimes – at least at first. Eventually I settle in, find my lesson and move on as much as I can. Sometimes it takes much longer than others.
I went to Colorado for a family gathering and for some much needed down-time. While I was there, I received a call that one of my aunts passed away. My Aunt was from the side of the family that raised me and the side that is dwindling rapidly. The celebration of life took place before I was able to get back for it, although I was able to come to terms with it in my own way. That was last Wednesday. Today, a week later, I received a message that still has me reeling.

My Uncle Frank was our family patriarch, historian and caregiver. He was the glue that held us all together regardless of how old we were. He was a WWII vet who served in counter-intelligence, and at 89 was still living on his own and mowing his own lawn! Up until a few years ago he was walking more than a few miles a day – his physician asked him to slow down. He’s one of the people that I’ve admired the most over the years. He was still very active socially and had beaten heart attacks, congested valves, and got a kick out of the fact that his pacemaker sometimes set off security alarms. He had a sense of humor that comes from appreciating life and all its bumps and quirks.

Yesterday, I lost my uncle to of all things, a car accident. His car was T-boned and unfortunately this time he didn’t pull through. I’m still in shock, dazed and it all seems very surreal. I feel like a melted clock in a Dali painting. I expected a midnight phone call telling me to come home, or racing the clock to get there in time. I prepared for a hospital visit or a quiet goodbye.
As life will have it, I was not prepared for this. At this point it just feels senseless. I am, however, eternally grateful that a couple of years ago when we lost another close family member, I wrote my Uncle Frank a letter. In it, I told him how much I loved him and how much he meant to me. I thanked him for everything he had done for all of us over the years. I can’t begin to tell you how much peace that single act has given me today and how much it meant to my uncle when he received it. It doesn’t make the loss hurt any less, but it does give me peace of mind that my uncle knew what he meant to me and how much I appreciated him. It’s my quiet reminder to anyone reading to take the following quote to heart. 😉

Death is a challenge. It tells us not to waste time… It tells us to tell each other right now that we love each other.
Leo F. Buscaglia

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestmailFacebooktwitterredditpinterestmailby feather


  1. This is a wake up call. Losing time doing things we always wanted to, but apparently skipped by using whatever reasons we can think off, is an issue we need to seriously avoid. We have only one life, and to fully live it has to be our utmost priority. Thanks for the message in this post.

    Maths Is Interesting
    Anything Gorgeous

  2. Hi Lim,

    Thank you for stopping by – may you always live your life to the fullest and remind others around you to do the same. 😉

  3. You’re Uncle Frank must have known how lucky and honored he was to have a family who loved and respected him as much as you obviousy did.

    I hope that when it is time for me to depart that I shall feel the same.

    It is the way of things that we must make way for those who are yet to come . If it were not so then man could never evolve and there would be no progress, so yes, shed a tear, but think of the happiness and blessing that your Uncle Frank has given to not only you and your family but to the world. He is truly blessed, his light will let you smile.


    • John,

      Thank you so much for the beautiful words. I consider myself more fortunate than I can express to have had my Uncle Frank in my life. He is definitely one of the people who taught me what it meant to really “live” today and to always be in the here and now.

      Seeing him at eighty-nine gave a whole new meaning to “age is just a number.” He did so much more than some people my age. I hope I can pass on even a small glimmer of all that he taught me. As much as I mourn his death, I do understand our circle and will always celebrate his life, contributions and service to others.