More than 600 people filled the gloriously sunlit chapel, from little infants to the aged. There were smiles and many tears, music, literature, and stories. All to celebrate a man who lived all aspects of his life with passion, and who was taken from this earth too soon.
It moved me in a way that is hard to explain. Certainly I’m mourning the loss of an amazing friend, and grieving the road ahead for his beloved wife and children. But the community that surrounded him touched me deeply. He was a person who always was part of a larger group — his fraternity, his church, his school — and he was always an integral part of that group, a leader. He truly touched the life of every person in that chapel. His facebook page is covered with tributes: from the students he taught, the colleagues he worked with, the athletes he coached, his poker buddies, the fraternity brothers from years ago and from his circle family and friends.
It is indeed cliché, but I can’t help but think — if I passed from this world, would I have touched others’ lives so deeply? Have I lived with Marc’s kind of passion?
Marc is the first friend I’ve lost in adulthood. My experiences with death and loss have been expected, the passing of elderly relatives; or distanced, a classmate’s parent or a student I didn’t know. This loss is one that hits home. While it was anticipated, it was unfairly premature, so much of his life still to be lived. I know there is much Marc would have wanted to be here and to have done — seeing his children grow up, loving his wife into old age, teaching his students and enjoying those in his life. But yet I can’t imagine that he would have expressed any regret over the life he lived. He never let an opportunity go by, and worked to help others find their own.
Like I said, it’s a big old cliché, but I’m really feeling that pressure to live in the moment, to not hold back from doing, to live life with passion. And it is easy to have these feelings now, in the pain of loss. I’m writing this today to remember, remember these feelings when I’m hiding from life. I need to honor Marc and really see my opportunities, not just to lead a fulfilling life, but to touch others as he did.