I just finished what I like to call my mini-winter break vacation. As a State employee, I have both Lincoln and Washington’s birthdays off, so I usually take a few vacation days in between to make it a nice vacation, usually one that does not include going on a trip. This year’s mini-winter break vacation seemed to have a theme throughout: DEATH. But, not to worry, it wasn’t DEATH as in a horrible, tragedy, but more a realization as to what LIFE is all about.
I started my brief vacation with a visit to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia where I witnessed Body Worlds, the Gunther von Hagens’ anatomical exhibition of real human bodies. As you enter the exhibit, there is a memoriam to the men and women who have donated their bodies to the exhibit. These were once, living, breathing human beings, now preserved, displayed for all the curiosity seekers like me to see, bones, muscles, nerves, and other anatomical parts in full view. The viewer is informed that no information would be provided as to who these people were in their living state. In addition to the full grown human beings, there were fetuses in varying stages of development, from the beginning of the fourth week in uteri, to infants that were stillborn, many with different ailments. I must say this exhibit was amazing!
On Saturday night, I went to hear one of my favorite country music duos, Brooks and Dunn at the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City. What a fantastic show! During the song, “You’re Gonna Miss Me When I’m Gone”, visuals of many in the country music business that have died flashed behind the musicians. One could not help but recognize greats such as John and June Carter, Merle Haggard, and Tammy Wynette. All these individuals touched many lives.
Then it hit me! Not all of us become famous individuals that will touch the masses, but we all touch someone in our lives. Like those anonymous donors to Body Worlds, most of us will never be known but by our immediate family and friends. Many of us will live and die, never known to the world, but remembered only by those we did come in contact with. So what is important in most of our lives the impact on those we do become involved with. This, and “grabbing all the gusto” we can in our hopefully long lives. But, whether we’re here a few minutes or 60, 70, 80 years or more, we need to keep in mind the only thing that really matters is what affect we have on those we interact with. And hopefully, it will be a positive remembrance of us when we’re gone.