The tiny home movement encompasses far more than the size of a home. It represents a return to simpler living, a lifestyle where the basics are met more essentially in order to more fully live dreams, make memories, and participate in life. This column embodies this philosophy. If you read through the writings contained within this column, you will find a range of topics all proclaiming this ideology. From the first uttering to the last, it has been my passion for people to feel free to pursue the dreams of their heart and live the life they desire—whatever that may be.
There is a saying which has resurfaced in my mind over the last few days with resounding amplification.
We are not given a good life or a bad life. We are given a life. It is up to us to make it good or bad.
This week has brought tragic news to my doorstep. My son passed away two days ago. Initially, I had informed my editor I would not be submitting an article for my column this week. However, I find my heart full and in need of sharing. I feel a need to honor my son and proclaim the above saying is not simply a bunch of words to idealize but a sincere way in which to live life.
For nearly two years, my son George put up a valiant fight, including grueling battles, multiple rounds, and tremendous hardships against Acute lymphoblastic T-cell leukemia and Acute lymphoblastic T cell lymphoma. You can read more about the details in his words here.
His attitude was beyond inspirational with his positive approach to life. It remained—perhaps even grew—through his fight. Throughout the entire ordeal, he continued to be upbeat and hopeful. Cancer may have claimed his last breath, but it did not take his life. His spunk, sense of humor, and rebel spirit (I like to think he got some of these traits from me) continued. He would not allow the painful process of undergoing the ordeal to steal his character.
And what a character he was.
I don’t begin to claim to understand or know why this kind of stuff takes place. I am not at all saying it is anything but excruciating to face this kind of loss. I am saddened, I am pissed, I am blessed, I am hopeful. The waves of these emotions have passed and continue to pass through me since I lost my son. One moment I am outraged and ready to destroy things—anything. The next, I am smiling with grand memories of what I have had the opportunity to experience.
It is unfair, it is devastating, and nobody should have to experience this. Yet as much as the above is factual in my mind, the reality is, we must. Really horrible things happen. I don’t know why, but they do. We have to continue moving along. Life is filled with good and bad. I suppose in some crazy way it is the sadness in life that allows us to find and appreciate gratitude and joy. Perhaps it is the experience of tragedy that makes happiness so beautiful.
We have the power to choose where to place our focus. We can allow the trials to either bind us or empower us. Either way, both good times and bad times will come. We do not have control of this. We only control our response, our focus, our attitude.
I choose to focus on the good, the positive, the joy, the happiness. Perhaps this is something my son helped strengthen in me. Attitude holds a significant influence on how we perceive life. Like my son, I choose to be grateful for the experience of life, placing my focus and energy on the beautiful even in the midst of the ugly.
My son Nathan shared an amazing comment about George. “He was strong to the last breath. Only the night before last, he took his wonderful wife to see a play at Tuacahn with a wheelchair and oxygen in tow. He wanted to to go spend time with her on their anniversary. And a few nights before that, he helped me get a car to drive when my was in the shop. Even though he wasn’t feeling well, he never stopped.”
The outpouring of love to our family has been tremendous. People from literally all around the world have extended their heartfelt love, support, and concern. It truly is a small world after all. We all share a desire to love and be loved. This horrible experience has opened the gates where love has continued to be showered upon our entire family. This is something George demonstrated in this life and continues to be responsible for beyond.
There is great joy to be experienced in this life. It provides wings to soar among the clouds. Most of the time, this is where I find myself, totally amazed and bewildered at how incredible this life is. Sometimes, those clouds are dark and filled with tremendous storm. Today, I find myself experiencing all aspects of what the clouds have to share. With the storm, I find hope in the rainbow.
I am blessed to have had my son for a few days short of 23 years in life. I am even more blessed to have his influence and the beauty of his soul with me for the remainder of my days.
My sharing this with the world is motivated by several factors. It is to honor my son and recognize his courage and amazing existence. It is my way to express gratitude to all of those that have so freely shared their love with our family. It is out of selfishness (I freely admit) in order to seek mending of a torn-up heart. It is to offer those that might find it as an inspiration to live their life with more meaning and appreciation and to focus upon what truly matters.
Sometimes, regret can be an insatiable barking bitch that will bite you in the ass. Don’t allow regret to imprison you with deeds done or not done, words said or not said, feelings shared or not shared. Take time to live your life on purpose in the way you desire and focus on what really matters.
Make it count!
I love you, kiddo. I wish I had one more chance to tell you this in person. I know I wasn’t always there in the way I would have liked to have been. So much more I wish I would have been able to do. You were amazing, and it is incredible to see how much influence and impact you have had on the lives of so many. You are an inspiration. The way you dealt with this astounds me. Thank you for the lessons learned. Thank you for the grand experience. Thank you for being able to proudly call you my boy.