As Jack’s birthday approaches, his life & his impact have been on my mind more than ever. My journey with grief over the past 7 months has been filled with its ups & downs that have nearly always left me more confused about my life and unsure of what lies ahead for me in a world without Jack. Recently, my family had a private service, burying Jack’s ashes in his final resting place. For the service, I read a new favorite poem that has helped me see the light in the darkest of times. The poem is titled “He is Gone” and challenges the reader to focus on the life that was lived rather than the death that has occurred. There are so many things that we have all learned from Jack in his short time on this earth but the most impactful lesson I learned from him is how important it is to find what you are passion about and having the courage to pursue it.
In a world focused on material goods and wealth, Jack stood out, recognizing that those are not the things in the end that matter. It matters what experiences you had, the relationships you made and the causes you fought for. At a young age Jack become my inspiration in so many ways, but perhaps the times he inspired me the most were Relay For Life. Seeing him work endlessly as a team captain and committee member for years for a cause he felt so passionately about was simply incredible. I don’t know many people who would be willing to work as hard as he did for such an important cause. And after the weeks of stress it always caused him, I got to see Jack have some of the greatest nights of his life, laughing & crying, as he shared his story with all the other participants. We would drive home, exhausted but inspired by the sunrise we had just watched as yet another Relay came to an end.
Jack’s greatest passion was fighting cancer & providing hope to others. And I am forever grateful that while he is gone now, he has created such an impact that will live forever. It is not everyday that we find causes we are willing to dedicate our lives to, but I think when we find those things that we are most passionate about, it is imperative that we fight for them. Finding a good job to pay the bills is important, don’t get me wrong. But few of us are lucky enough to find a career that also is our true passion in life. Our jobs on this earth matter but are they more important than the impact we leave here once we’re gone? Will you be remembered for how much money you made? Perhaps, but you will undoubtedly be remembered and honored for the good you did in this world.
On Jack’s 19th birthday, and everyday there after, we can remember the impact he has had on our lives and carry on his message by living out our own passions. No matter what it is that you are most passionate about, it is imperative that you live it out in anyway you can. We are lucky enough to live in a day and age where there are organizations for nearly every cause you could think of. So find one that speaks to you and give it all you’ve got. Despite the hardships you may face because of it, know that living out what you truly believe in will be worth it. Everyday that we get on this earth is a chance to show the world who we really are and what we stand for. We don’t know if we have 60 more years or 2 more weeks in this life so why would waste your days not living out your values and working towards your dreams?