When our loved ones die, we ponder the imponderable. The “whys” and the “what-ifs” consume us at times. We pore over days and decisions in the past that we cannot change. We feel as if the world should stop for a moment to mark the passing of our loved one. We wonder why everyone just seems to be having a normal day when our days are anything but normal.
When we hear of a celebrity’s death, our hearts go out to the families of the public figure. Although they were fodder for gossip magazines and television shows, they were also sons or daughters, mothers or fathers, husband or wife and friend to many. We recognize the pain of grief is universal and cannot be relieved through riches or connections or fame.
The world mourned when we learned that Steve Jobs had died. He was young, he was wealthy, he helped to change the world – and now he is gone. Medical technology and the best care that money could buy were not able to save him. We are left to wonder “why?” – a question that is never going to be answered.
Steve Jobs' legacy is more than an iThis or iThat. Beyond the products he created, he left behind words of wisdom that so beautifully sum up his philosophy on life. Take a moment to ponder the following quotes from Jobs:
Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me … Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful … that’s what matters to me.
When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
When our loved one has died, we find it difficult to look forward to what life may bring. Yet Jobs reminds us that each day we are given is a gift. We may use it to heal our hearts, to remember the good times or to begin to build our new life, our new normal. Robert Frost put it best when he wrote, “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: It goes on.”
May you take comfort and strength from the words these great men left us. May you find your way in a world that is changed, yet still can be sweet.
Nancy Weil is a leading authority on humor and grief. She serves as Director of Grief Support for eleven cemeteries and is a Certified Funeral Celebrant and Grief Management Specialist. Through her company, The Laugh Academy, she offers products to ease the stress and pain that grief can bring. Bandages for Your Heart on DVD or CD, Laugh for the Health of It on CD and her new book, If Stress Doesn’t Kill You, Your Family Might, can be ordered by clicking here.
Top Image: In this Jan. 15, 2008, file photo, Apple CEO Steve Jobs holds up the new MacBook Air after giving the keynote address at the Apple MacWorld Conference in San Francisco. Apple on Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2011 said Jobs has died. He was 56. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)