Next morning, Laura and Jan were up early, enjoying the warm desert dawn and checking out the arrid landscape, even shooting a few putts on Steve's putting green by the pool. I noticed her rubbing her lower back and seeming to try to get a kink worked out. Jan said she had been complaining of a pain there for a little while, thought she had pulled it dancing. I suggested Celebrex, an anti-inflamatory, which he hadn't heard of but which I had found some relief with for tendonitis.
The warm day had been full of activities and swimming, good food and catch-up conversation. It had been many years since all of us had been all together and we were savoring the time. That evening, we played scrabble on a giant board built into my brother-in-law's upper patio off their enormous country kitchen. Laura and I were teamed up as partners. She was quick witted, sharp with the game, had a teenage giggle. Wish I could have seen her dance and hear her sing. She and Jan had been quite a performing pair at Utah State University, she around eight years his junior, with a fit, petite dancer's physique and youthful beauty which belied her 57 years.
A few months ago, my sister called me and told me that Laura had cancer. Those back pains she was having back in September had been tumors and had now gotten into her pancreas. The prognosis wasn't good but she and Jan were positive and welcomed our faith and prayers in her behalf. We have since been waiting for good news of recovery and a hope that they would be able to enjoy that house they were building for their retirement, which would be a place of welcome for their kids - and where she would play with her grandkids.
Laura died today - and a great sadness is in my heart for her family. She was brave and wanted to live. We knew from the life she had lived that she was in the hands of Heavenly Father and it would all be up to Him whether a miracle was in order or she had finished her mission here below. Our hearts go out to Jan and his loved ones for their loss of Laura today and we pray for the healing, comforting influence of the Holy Ghost to bear them up and give them peace.
Jan is a wonderful performer, has a real cowboy sense of humor, having lived in Logan, Utah most of his life. He has ventured into old west kinds of businesses on the side and done well for himself. I couldn't help but think he might be reminiscing on some of the lyrics of an old western tune we all used to sing an arrangement of by Norman Luboff - The Colorado Trail..."Eyes like the morning sun, cheeks like a rose; Laura was a pretty girl, God Almighty knows. Weep all ye little rains, wail winds wail..." Laura, we'll miss you. I'd like to dedicate something to her here, something that typifies her life and how she lived it and that gives us something to think about...
WHAT WILL MATTER
Ready or not, some day it will all come to an end.
There will be no more sunrises, no minutes, hours or days.
All the things you collected, whether treasured or forgotten, will pass to someone else.
Your wealth, fame and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance.
It will not matter what you owned or what you were owed.
Your grudges, resentments, frustrations and jealousies will finally disappear.
So too, your hopes, ambitions, plans and to-do lists will expire.
The wins and losses that once seemed so important will fade away.
It won't matter where you came from or what side of the tracks you lived on at the end.
It won't matter whether you were beautiful or brilliant.
Even your gender and skin color will be irrelevant.
So what will matter? How will the value of your days be measured?
What will matter is not what you bought, but what you built;
not what you got, but what you gave.
What will matter is not your success, but your significance.
What will matter is not what you learned, but what you taught.
What will matter is every act of integrity, compassion, courage or sacrifice that enriched, empowered or encouraged others to emulate your example.
What will matter is not your competence, but your character.
What will matter is not how many people you knew,
but how many will feel a lasting loss when you're gone.
What will matter is not your memories,
but the memories that live in those who loved you.
What will matter is how long you will be remembered, by whom and for what.
Living a life that matters doesn't happen by accident.
It's not a matter of circumstance but of choice.
Choose to live a life that matters.