Yesterday the community gathered to celebrate the life of the Rev. Bert Tom. A number of my friends attended. Being on the opposite coast, I did not.
At the time of Bert’s death, my friend Laura Mariko Cheifetz wrote about Bert and Satoru Nishita, her grandfather who died at about the same time. Her reflections led me to ponder what I had learned from my mentors and family members.
My friend, and another person mentored by Bert, Irene Pak (she blogs at Abiding in Hope) attended the celebration of Bert’s life. She reflects on the celebration in a post from today. It is a warm, touching reflection about what Bert meant to her and to so many.
Irene frames her thoughts around her last meeting with Bert. A sentence near the end jumped out at me:
I wish I would have known that was going to be the last time I saw you–I probably would have hugged you longer.
Of course we rarely know when the last time we see anyone else will be. I have known with certainty on a few occasions. Sometimes I have had a pretty good idea because of the health of the other person. But over the past week, I have recalled how fragile life is and how quickly it can end – by illness or by accident or by factors unseen. Quickly let me add that no one died. But events of the week reinforced that lesson.
Not knowing makes Irene’s invitation and challenge more poignant and profound. It also makes it more relevant in every relationship. In response to Irene, it seems that we would do well to ponder if, at all times and all places, we should:
- hug our family, friends, and mentors longer (or at all in the case of any non-huggers out there – not sure who that might be)’
- enjoy our family, friends, and mentors more fully;
- listen to our family, friends, and mentors more carefully;
- tell our family, friends, and mentors what they mean to us more regularly; and
- make time for family, friends, and mentors more often.
See you along the Trail.
The photo is shared with permission from Abiding in Hope by Irene Pak.