When I think of this question, and it arose for me this week when a relative passed, I oft get down to the fundamental pondering of how did this person make use of their life, and how I have to this point as well.
Craig was not a close relative. I only met him a few times. He was my father’s sister’s daughter’s son (whatever that makes him to me; even after looking at the charts of 1st and 2nd cousins and once/twice removed, I still don’t have a clue). I liked the guy. When we met; when we interacted those few times, we got along. He seemed nice, which is good in my book.
He had his difficulties; I’ve had mine. He made mistakes; I’ve got a list of those for myself as well. He probably could have done better with his life; I’m often asking myself that very question. We make choices. We live with them; we try to do the best we can.
The truth is, I think, we all matter to someone. We all have an impact on the lives around us; the lives we touch. Craig impacted my life in small ways. One small way was, as I mentioned, him being easy to get along with and a nice guy on the few occasions we met. Another was his middle name was the name I grew up with: Joel. My real name is Joseph, but I was called Joel until I went to college (they didn’t want to call me Little Joe, since I was named after my grandfather). I know this is a small thing; but I remember him having ‘my’ name — I remember his mother saying something about her thinking of me when she named him; though his father’s name was Joel too.
Craig mattered to people. I’m willing to bet he impacted some people in profoundly positive ways during his lifetime. Isn’t that our real legacy? The good we do; the people we touch; the people that we matter to, and who matter to us? It’s not the awards we’ve won; the money we earn and have; the trappings of wealth, and so forth. It’s those day to day things that we do that make a difference to others.
So I say this for Craig: I hope you have the greatest incarnation possible in the next greatest manifestation of who you are whatever that may be and whatever is really next for us on the other side of it all. RIP cousin.