Essay: Loving Your Life

May 18, 2018

Most obituaries are rather similar—idealized portraits full of memories and tributes and good deeds.  But occasionally I read something original and striking that makes me think—not only about the person who died but about myself.

This happened recently when I read the sentence:  “He loved his life.”  He loved his life!  I wondered if I could say the same?  It haunted me, that phrase, and I began to talk with friends about it, asking what they thought it meant, to love your life.

Instead, they asked about the man.  Who was he?  Was there proof to justify his claim?  But I didn’t know the man and couldn’t answer the question.  Didn’t need to.

Next, they wanted to qualify the statement.  “Well, I’ve loved the good parts, of course.  Not the bad.”  But the obituary didn’t say, “He loved the good parts.”

So, I think what he meant was that he loved the experience of being alive—the whole package, good and bad, start to finish, period, full stop.  And I was so grateful to him for leaving me that message, that challenge.

I don’t remember his name or anything about him except the most important thing.  He loved his life.