You probably know I love rock & roll. Unless you’ve taken shelter under a rock over the past week, you know that we lost a legend - David Bowie. What started as a David Bowie birthday tribute show on the way home from the airport a week ago Sunday turned into a reflective week-long revisit into the entire oeuvre of this very talented, very glamorous gent.
In my social circles, the Bowie tributes have been impossible to ignore. The story of the man and the making of the man. His contribution to art, music, and life over nearly 7 decades is astounding. In my familial circles, there have been parallels. You may not know of Lydia “Grandma” Heckler or Bernie “Grandpa” Snyder like you know of David Bowie, but they were very special people to my husband, Craig, his giant family and me. We’ve been celebrating their long lives and their transition to the next one over the last couple months.
Here’s what I’ve observed lately: When someone dies, people turn out to pay their respects and share stories about all the places the deceased’s life intersected with their own. Through laughter, tears and some sometimes laughter through tears, you hear how much this person shaped or contributed to the lives of everyone around them.
For right or wrong, I found myself trying to comfort those around me with platitudes like they knew how much you love them. While we each may have an opinion on what happens (or doesn’t happen) when this life ends, we don’t really know. It got me thinking…
What if the people we adore knew we adored them during their life on Planet Earth?
Before they’re chilling in a casket. Before they’re dust in the wind.1 Before any potential regrets can even take shape.
So often in the work that I do, it’s commonly thought that health is simply achieved through what we eat, how much we exercise or numbers on a lab result. While it’s not always as easy to quantify, connecting with others has significant impacts on our health (and happiness). If you don’t believe me, check out what researchers way smarter than me have to say about it.
With more frayed or severed relationships, it might not be easy or something you’re ready to tackle. With other relationships, it might be as easy as sending a thank you note. With strangers, it might be simply smiling if you make eye contact or paying for a stranger’s coffee because you can. Be creative. There’s a whole continuum to explore; and you can dive in wherever it’s most comfortable.
While I’m no Pollyanna, I wonder how these small, but radical, acts could shift our inner physiological and emotional health. More importantly, how could these radical acts reshape our external world and all the relationships in it? Because like it or not, we are connected.
Who’s with me?
￼ 1 I couldn’t help myself. Plus, my family is into cremation.