THE FIRST OF 19

Over the past week, my family and I have been mourning the loss of my aunt.  Have I told you that my Mom is one of ten kids and my Dad is one of nine?  So to say I come from a HUGE family is a slight understatement.  My Aunt Lisa was the youngest of my Mom’s siblings and she is also the very youngest of all 19 of them.  She died of a heart attack and it was shock to the entire family and everyone in her life at a mere 50 years of age. 

Being from such a large family, when tragic things happen, everyone pulls together.  We spent 4 full days together talking about the incident, her life, her contributions and where the family will go from here.  The conversations were sprinkled with bouts of crying and fits of laughter.  We are not short of comedians in our family and the mixture of the humor and the sadness does an interesting thing to the physiology and helps things to process.  I am sure you have found yourself in an intense moment that was interrupted by a shift created from laughter. 

I learned a lot from sitting around and listening to the stories that were shared.  Two important lessons have surfaced from it all that I wanted to share with you. 

LESSON #1 :  SHOW UP!  My Aunt Gail, one of Lisa’s sisters said one of the things that came to mind when she thought about Lisa was that “She showed up.”  It is so true…whenever there was something going on, or someone needed something, Lisa showed up.  She showed up for family functions and parties.  She showed up for her husband and 3 children.  She showed up for her own friends and friends of her children.  She showed up for the family.  She showed up at work and for her co-workers.  She showed up.  This concept makes me look at my life and ask the question…”Am I showing up?”  And furthermore, “How am I showing up?”  and “Am I giving it 100%?”

LESSON #2:  PLAY FULL OUT!   If life was a game, Aunt Lisa played full out.  She always had a good time.  She celebrated a lot and was usually in the middle of any conversation that was happening.  If she didn’t start the conversation but wanted to be in it…you would her her raspy voice say, slightly under her breath, “What are you guys talking about?”.  If she was around in the room, you probably could hear her laugh.  Somewhere in the Callard lineage there is a gene for loud laughter, and she expressed that gene strongly.  After the funeral on Monday, I heard someone say, “You know, she was only 50 when she passed, however she lived more in those 50 years than others do who live into their 80s or 90s.”  What a great awareness and awesome perspective to have on what seemed to be a life cut short. 

My first real memories of Aunt Lisa were when I would babysit for her children.  At the time, she happened to be living in the same subdivision where I currently live and though the house is no longer there, I have vivid memories of being there a lot.  Over the past few months I have spent quite a bit of time running the roads around my house, passing that location twice per run and of course, like I do a lot, thinking about life. 

With the sudden passing of Lisa last week, and her funeral just a couple days ago, along with my regular morning runs and thoughts about life, that particular location has new meaning to me.  I will forever hold it as a place during my runs where I turn inside and remember to SHOW UP everyday and in every way in my life and PLAY FULL OUT!  What better way to start the day than with reminders like that.  I haven’t dealt with much death up to this point in my life, and am of course dreading the idea of the other 18 passing, however there are always lessons to learn about LIFE from both living and dying…and for that, I am grateful.  Thank you Aunt Lisa for those very important lessons and may you rest peacefully.

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  • Posted by Sarah Tino on June 21, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    Nice tribute to your aunt, Erica. I’m sure she would be honored that you were able to find important lessons from the example she gave you while here on earth.

    • Posted by Dr. Erica Peabody on June 26, 2012 at 4:50 pm

      I find healing and an increased ability to process something like death through writing. There is always something to be learned from everyone in our lives…hopeful that we can recognize those lessons from those living as well as passing. Thank you for reading.

  • Posted by Jen on June 22, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    I have 19 too! Except in reverse… My Mom of 9, my Dad of 10.

    Fantastic new blog site!

    • Posted by Dr. Erica Peabody on June 26, 2012 at 4:51 pm

      You and I seem to find more and more similarities between our lives as the years go on!
      Thanks for the compliments about this new site. I am getting used to it! 🙂

  • Posted by Theresa on June 27, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    Nicely said Cousin,sniff..sniff..

    • Posted by Dr. Erica Peabody on June 27, 2012 at 8:11 pm

      There is always so much to learn from people in our lives, and especially from family…thanks for the feedback!

  • Posted by Terry Peabody on June 28, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    WELL SPOKEN, Erica, Thank you for Showing Up and your Insite. Love MOM

    • Posted by Dr. Erica Peabody on June 29, 2012 at 12:51 am

      Thank YOU for always showing up!! And I know I speak on behalf of a lot of people in your family when I thank you.