Big and small; long and short…do you know what these words mean? However you may define them today, you will redefine them tomorrow. Our perspective and relative perception of these words changes as we go and grow — the trick is to avoid letting these words become part of your decision making process. A recent experience of mine reinforced just how relevant this ‘loophole’ is, as my close friend’s younger brother passed away. Here is the story, or the long and the short of it:
A SMALL GESTURE IN THE WAKE OF A LOVED ONE’S DEATH
After hearing the news that his younger brother passed away unexpectedly at 23 years old, I attempted twice to speak to my friend without breaking down myself, to no avail.
Even if I had ‘words of wisdom’ at the time, which I did not, it was not the time for them. Sometimes it is just time to mourn. I couldn’t offer some profound advice that would change his perspective on the loss, and yet, I couldn’t merely be the friend that sends a fruit basket or some flowers.
As I contemplated what to do, I read his brother’s facebook wall… the messages were amazing. The amount of people that were inspired by his brother was inspiring itself. I decided my small contribution would be.
I compiled pictures from his wall, batched up the quotes, looked at his ‘musical likes’ and mixed an audio based on two Modest Mouse songs (as well as some covers which transitioned them together well). Since they have family in Mexico, I did my due diligence to try to translate some of those quotes so they were not overlooked — they were some of the most profound sentiments in the end.
I finally had the words, through others, to put together a message… Nothing that has not been done before in one capacity or another, but something I thought was a good summation of his life and impact.
A BIG SURPRISE IN THE WAKE OF A SMALL GESTURE
Long story short – my friend greatly appreciated the gesture… That is all I hoped for, giving my friend just a small bit of peace in a very tough time — by providing a him something he could reference to remember how his little bro left his mark on this world and in others.
Then — a week later, 2 days before mothers day, it was me who was touched.
I received a call from my friend, who said his mother would like to talk to me. I had not seen her for over a decade, since we’ve lived states apart ever since college. I immediately expressed my condolences. And then his soft-spoken mom said to me words that I will never forget:
“I just wanted to thank you very much for the video. It makes me sad then happy, and it was the only thing that has given me peace. It helped me to believe in God again”.
Once again I cannot speak on this topic without shedding a tear – but this time, because it was amazing to me how something I almost considered NOT doing because I didn’t know how it would be received, could be the one thing to give a brokenhearted mother a bit of peace.
My friend told me his family watched the video together on Mothers day, and his mothers day gift to his mom was a tablet with a link to the youtube video, so she could watch it any time…
My lesson learned is to never assume that any gesture is too small if your heart is in the right place… Just as my friend’s little bro had a long lasting effect in a short life — sometimes even the smallest decisions can have the biggest impacts.