Being a beacon and passing it on

I lost a friend this month – more than a friend. Every once in while, we meet someone who is so kind, funny, and inclusive  that they remind us to be better people just by existing. This woman had a great laugh and smile, but what made her amazing was how she made each person individually complicit in whatever inside joke started the laughing in the first place.

I love to laugh and I’m infamous for mine. My husband jokes they’ll never lose me in a crowd because they can hear me for miles. But that innate open heart, the kind that lights up a room full of strangers, that’s rare. And beautiful. It goes well beyond the expression of joy.

As I joined a crowd in celebrating her life, more than anything I was reminded that that is a successful life. We want to raise kind, smart, hardworking and happy kids – but we want our kids to feel so confident that they can light every one else’s torches too. We think a lot about who the adults in our kids’ lives are; but someone like this friend continues to send ripples of impact into the world even though she’s not in it anymore.

She’ll live on through how she made everyone around her feel, and that inspires me to be a better person to the world at large. So she lit my torch – one among many – and it’s my turn to pass that on. If I do it right, her light will warm our kids and theirs. What a beautiful way to honor her.