When we lose someone important and close to us, we try to capture the essence of their lives in a eulogy or stories. I’ve been flattered to have given quite a few eulogies at the funerals of people I loved and lost. My Mom. My best-friend Matt. My Grandpa and Grandma. We focus on big things they did. Things that everyone can agree on that made that person great, and that make us all nod our heads in agreement thinking, “oh, yes, that was totally him …I thought it was just me.”
However, we should also remember the very small things we know about those people if we were lucky enough to peak inside their private life and enjoy the subtle things these people did that made them happy in little happy moments. Today, on a morning in Michigan where I woke up to 11 degree temps and a house clocking in at 57-degrees (before I turned the furnace on), I enjoyed a tiny-joy moment shared with me by my Uncle Jerry.
Once, on vacation, my Uncle Jerry told me what he liked to do was fill his mug about half full of water and microwave it for one minute. The water heats up and warms the mug so when you pour your cuppa coffee, you’re pouring into a warm mug. The engineer in him explained how quickly a cuppa coffee cools when poured into a cold mug versus being poured into a warm mug, and it was very scientific . . . but the essence of microwaving your mug before you pour your cuppa coffee was enough.
In the cold winter months, when I wake up before the rest of my family, and the furnace is chugging away trying to bring my house from 58-degrees to a much more liveable 66-degrees, I microwave my mug of water and think about my Uncle Jerry.
The other odd thing I’ll be very few people know about my Uncle Jerry is that he drank Molson Ice. The fact that he had that obscure beer in his fridge, when most people only knew my Uncle Jerry as a red wine drinker, is bizarre. But, for him, if he was going to have a beer, he liked an ice cold Molson Ice – and not just pulled out of the fridge.
“When we’ve had people over and Denise and I are cleaning up after they leave, the tub of ice and water where we had drinks and beers chilling, is a perfect place to float a Molson Ice. The ice and water (he explained the science) makes the beer extra cold and when things are cleaned-up and put away <he squinted his eyes and kissed the air> …it tastes so good.” -Uncle Jerry
As I navigate this world, I draw on the very best qualities of the people I love. Kindness. Honesty. Integrity. Goodness. Big things and philosophies they lived by and I try to become a better person from those lessons.
Sometimes, however, it’s comforting to remember them and bring their memory into the little moments, too.