Last weekend my family and our close friends stood at my wife’s coffin in a simple ceremony. She was dealt a terrible hand at the poker table of life; denied at least 10 or perhaps even 20 healthy years to enjoy her grandchildren, family, and thousands that loved her dearly. I remain incredibly sad for her. No one deserves this, least of all my girl. As Tad Salyards, my Son and our official family philosopher summed up the whole experience: “There isn’t enough ketchup in the world to make a shit sandwich taste good.”
In contrast to last week’s graveside ceremony, my son-in-law Bob and I walked down to Halsted Street to today to watch some of Chicago’s GBLT Pride Parade. On this sunny Sunday afternoon these hundreds of thousands of participants and onlookers aren’t mourning, they’re ROARING! The energy and enthusiasm of this crowd was incredible. Nowhere (other than, perhaps India) have I been more jam-packed in a moving crowd.
No doubt there are many people watching or walking in this Chicago Pride Parade that have had to deal firsthand with the death of a parent, spouse, partner, friend, or (God forbid) even a child. Many of them have been caregivers for their friends and families. Yet, in spite of the sadness, unfairness, and downright cruelty that life can bring….THEY CONTINUE TO ROAR!
You see, we humans have to roar. Life is about giving, caring, interacting, planning, implementing, thinking, striving, love-making, heart-breaking, laughing, crying, hugging, and grinning. Most of us spend most of our lives trying as much as possible to ignore the fact that we are mortal. Death is something that we would just as soon not think about or talk about. This is probably a good thing. It is doubtful that Thomas Edison or Steve Jobs were consumed with thoughts about death; there were more interesting things to think about. We’re reminded often enough by the occasional funeral or memorial service that none of us live forever.
Remember that God put you here for a reason and that you are called to a noble purpose. But please, for God’s sake, keep on Roaring.