We all know life is short and recently I experienced just how short life really is. I lost my brother in-law on December 26, 2013. Roy was a C5 quadriplegic and only 44 years of age. He was taken from my 42 year old sister Kathy, his wife of 18 years, his 17 year old daughter Raven and his 15 year old son Joshua way to soon. Roy became a quad at 22 and he dealt with many struggles and hardships that I can’t even begin to imagine having to cope with. Roy eventually returned to work after his accident and it was there that he met my sister and after dating for awhile they decided to get married. While Roy had a lot of limitations and didn’t enjoy the freedoms most of us enjoy every day he still worked, was able to drive a car and was a intelligent man. Roy & Kathy decided to adopt two children and though he couldn’t do many of the things most fathers do with their children, Roy created his own ways and things to do with his family.
I’ve learned a lot of things about Roy these past couple weeks that I didn’t know, even after being his sister in-law for 18 years. I am pleased I was able to learn new things about him however I wish it wasn’t through his passing. But through the many things I already knew about him and through the things I recently learned I know I will look at life much differently. I want to share with you how I think Roy saw life and how I think we should all take something from Roy’s perspective so that we can enhance our own life…..LIFE IS FAR TO SHORT.
For Roy, I think living life by his own rules started with understanding and respecting the way life works. Life is unpredictable. Life is routine and monotonous. Life is heartbreak, happiness and all the moments in between. Ultimately, life happens and unfolds in ways
we will never be able to predict. So how do I think Roy lived life on his own terms with so little control? I think Roy ACCEPTED, ADAPTED AND APPRECIATED.
ACCEPT ~ Come to terms with the situation at hand and decide it’s time to change how we look at each day. There’s no going back so we need to learn to deal. We can’t change what we can’t accept and we can’t change what we can’t confront. Roy looked life in the face each day and while he may not of always liked what life dealt him he accepted it and he moved on.
ADAPT ~ Make the most of what you have and make it work for you. You have to find something that you love enough to be able to take risks, jump over the hurdles and break through the brick walls that are always going to be placed in front of you. If you don’t have that kind of feeling for what it is that you are doing, you will stop at the first giant hurdle. Roy adapted, he was strong, stubborn, proud and wanted no pity. You never heard Roy complain or feel sorry for himself. Roy found something he loved enough…..my sister and his children and he never stopped at the giant hurdles, he found away to get around them.
APPRECIATE ~ I think Roy focused on what he had and forget about what he didn’t have. It’s easy to obsess about everything you don’t have going for you, but true growth lies in being able to appreciate what is right in front of you. When you can appreciate the simplest things, like holding his children in his lap, giving them rides on his wheelchair, scratching his wife’s back, taking pictures and videos of his family or listening to a favorite song. Roy tried hard to make room for more positivity in his life.
Roy and I shared a lot of laughter, talks and unfortunately arguments from time to time but that’s part of being family. Roy was a good Uncle to my children, the only Uncle they had in their daily lives and I know he loves them as much as my children love him. Roy, I will always be grateful to you for the lessons you taught our family though we had to learn them through a difficult time and for the love you gave Kathy and the kids. Wish I had of told you that when you were alive.
I will honor Roy through commitment to be there for his family and I urge us all to make room for positivity, it makes it easier for good things to find you. When good things come to find you, you can’t help but appreciate how great you really have it.