I woke up Tuesday morning hearing the celebration of Nelson Mandela’s life. NPR was live broadcasting reports, music and the ceremony. There is something about listening and not seeing the celebration that really brought Mr. Mandela’s joy, passion and his life’s work, well, back to life.
His work, years on Robin Island, leadership and commitment to what is right and true leaves us with a legacy we must uphold – from South Africa to North America and everywhere in between.
Listening to the music, speeches and thousands of people in the stadium celebrating his life – in the rain – gave me pause. There are many ways to say goodbye to those who have died. Around the globe, different cultures have different rituals.
This South African celebration of life – so large, so loud, so joyous – even as tears flowed is the way to go. To paraphrase a comment I heard – once the person is gone we have only their legacy and life to remember – why not do it with joy instead of sadness.
Not that I am anywhere close to Mr. Mandela impact on all of us, but I intend to recommit my life to really LIVE today and everyday, making a difference (large or small) that allows for a celebration when I’m gone. I am leaving instructions to friends and family – have a celebration – no funeral. And it is up to me to be sure to live a life worth celebrating by touching the lives of others in a positive and joyous way. Once I’m gone, there is nothing more anyone can do – might as well celebrate.
As my Mom always says, death is a part of life – from the moment you are born you are dying. Death needn’t be something you fear or avoid – but life is something you can celebrate.
Thank you for all you have done Mr. Mandela – even at the end teaching us how to say goodbye. We know we can’t see you – but you are watching over us and making sure we carry on your legacy – wherever we may be.
Peace be with you.