My cousin passed away a couple weeks ago. I didn’t know him very well because he was a little bit older and always lived far from our family; either in the Philippines or California. From what I’ve seen in pictures and have heard over the years he was extremely smart, had a great career, and loved to paint and write. He was a son, father, brother and friend. My mom was able to go to his funeral in California last week and said not only was his immediate family there (his sisters, brother, and mom) and some extended family, but she said the room was filled with many grieving friends. He was loved by many. A few days after the funeral, family started the daunting task of cleaning out his apartment. Being a single dad with a grown son, he lived alone. The apartment was filled with books, paintings, and numerous journals. My mom said what was extremely sad was that his last journal was filled with loneliness. He wrote about feeling alone, wrote about feeling sad and about his debilitating illnesses. On the outside was a man with a giant smile, a great career and numerous close friends and family, but within his walls lived a man that felt alone and who passed away alone in his home. Why? No one will ever know his exact thought process but all pray he is finally at peace.
When I had cancer the first time I was in the hospital for awhile and there were many long periods of alone. At the time, the prognosis wasn’t great so my mind was all over the place. One thing that was extremely difficult for me was all the time I spent in my room alone while trying to process the fact my cancer was ‘worse than they expected’. It was a sad and scary time and I shed many tears alone in the dark. After leaving I had a tug on my heart to make sure no one would feel or be alone. I told myself I would figure something out, volunteer to visit those who had no visitors just to say hello and let them know that they mattered. Today, it’s been almost 8 years since that first bout with cancer and I confess I haven’t done a thing. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t struggled with loneliness, what’s out part? I guess it’s to make sure people know they matter.’Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty.’~Mother Teresa We are slowly losing the art of eye contact, smiling, talking (instead of texting). So no, I haven’t done what my heart was pulled to do 8 years ago, but I do try to make eye contact, smile at strangers, and listen intently. One of my work mentors flew in from Dallas to work with me and I watched him ask for people’s names,say thank you, asked how their day was or paid them a compliment; every single person from the valet, to reception, to people on the elevator. I can’t tell you how many times people’s face lit up with a big grin, why? Because someone noticed them…they mattered to someone even if for just that blip in time. Let’s try a little harder.
Today I wear Stila Color Balm Lipstick in Ali which is a berry/raisin color. This is my current fave because they’re creamy with lots of color. This color in particular looks like a pop of deep berry on my lips which adds a little pick me up to the day. Also, they actually feel like a lip balm on my lips which is critical during dry winters. Cheers!