An important reminder that life is fleeting so make every moment count..

While I usually write about lighthearted topics, I’ve decided to tackle something a bit heavy today. The reason is that a terrible tragedy took place on our block this week. One of the nicest neighbors we’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing was killed in a car accident.
Although Murray was 83 years old, you never would have guessed it. He had the energy of someone 30 years his junior and was always so friendly, thoughtful and genuinely concerned about our well being. Yesterday, we attended his memorial service and what we discovered was that while Murray may no longer be with us, he touched countless individuals in his lifetime.
Murray was a devoted husband who lost his wife more than a decade ago. But over the last five years, his daughter in law introduced him to a lovely woman who became his constant companion. She was one of the first to speak about how lucky she was to have met Murray and thanked him for being such an important part of her life and for being by her side while she underwent chemotherapy. His daughter and two sons shared heartfelt stories about their dad who clearly was a role model to all of them. His heartbroken granddaughter told how her life will never be the same without her “Papa.”
Murray’s 22 year old grandson was incredibly eloquent when he expressed how his grandfather was one of the brightest stars in their lives and while he disappeared in a flash, his impact–much like a shooting star–will have a lasting effect on future generations. His co-workers talked about his devotion to his career and to the workers he inspired as one of the most well-respected engineers in the construction industry. A childhood friend of his sons shared how much he admired and respected “Mr. Fleisch” and reminisced about how he practically grew up at his home. But most touching of all was his friend of 71 years who, while choking back tears, told how Murray was the big brother he never had, how he sent him supportive letters while he served in the Korean War, was always there for him during some of the most difficult times in his life and how he looked forward to dining with him every Wednesday. In fact, the day he died, his friend was planning to visit Murray at his home so they could catch up on the week’s events.
As tears were streaming down my face, I reflected upon the legacy Murray has left behind. He was a loving husband, incredible father, doting grandfather, a leader in his industry, a consummate friend, devoted to his faith and a wonderful neighbor. And that’s how he will be remembered. Murray was a true gentleman in every sense of the word.
So now here’s your turn. How do you think people will remember you? Are you racing through each day too busy to enjoy your family, your friends and life in general? Perhaps this Memorial Day Weekend it’s time to take stock in what’s most important. I certainly learned an incredible life lesson as a result of this tragedy and know that at the end of the day, it’s about touching lives, inspiring others and being the kindest person you can be.
Rest in peace Murray. You will be sorely missed.

Originally posted January 1, 2010