This past week marked the 28th anniversary of my mother's death. I attempted to make the traditional visit to her grave, but 3 feet of snow made it impossible to locate.
As I sat in my car and looked over the snowy ground where my mom is buried, I thought about the things that changed since she passed. It occurred to me the path that my life has taken is a direct result of her leaving us.
I was in my first year of college at IUN, but I wasn't really doing anything but spending time. However, because I lost a parent, I qualified for a grant for students that lost a parent and I was able to go away to college. I spent the next four years in Bloomington getting my act together.
While I was away at school, I met my buddy Matt Cozzi who, in between beers, decided that we should sit for the LSAT and go to law school. After all, neither of us were strong enough to become teachers.
While in law school, my life took direction, and immediately afterwards I met the woman who would eventually become my wife. Marrying Trish lead to three sons who are determined to suck the life right out of me.
Because of my mother's death, my life went in a whole new direction. One that I couldn't have imagined back then.
What I'm trying to say is that your passing will impact the lives of your loved ones in ways you can't begin to fathom. And although we can't help leaving the ones we love, we can try to make it a little easier on them by not leaving them a mess. I know it's hard to face your mortality and accept that one day you are going to die. But I also know that your death will have an unimaginable impact on the ones who love you.
When you see your attorney about estate planning, you will likely be told how it will bring you peace of mind, and it does. However, I hope that you also recognize how your life has touched those around you, and not just materially. Everything you do is imprinted on the ones who you love – both the good things and the bad.
Remember when you leave this world, it isn't just wealth that you are leaving behind. You are also leaving memories. I have been doing this long enough to know that you should plan for both.
I miss you mom.