A life well spent – Eugene

So I wasn’t planning on posting anything this week but I just couldn’t in good conscience pass up on this great bowl of inspiration I got served yesterday. You see, I had one of those purposeless weeks…actually been having more of a purposeless past few months (hence my blogging), so I decided to just lay low this weekend and not post anything since I hadn’t really worked on anything. Then yesterday happened. I know! I Know!! What was yesterday?

First, I just want to say that, one of my life lessons from this week is that “sometimes, to get inspiration for anything, you need to do something”. For me, it was going to a perfect stranger’s procession and celebration of light.

Back to the story. I’ve been staying with my friend (sister, really – let’s call her Dorris) and this past week, a friend/former business partner of hers died (…let’s call him Eugene). So yesterday, Eugene’s friends and family organised a procession and celebration of light to gather and share memories of Eugene. Mind you, I had never met Eugene in my life, didn’t even know what he looked like or really, anything about him except that he owned a business (which is weird especially in this digital age where you “know” everyone). But Dorris was going and I wanted to be there to support her, so I tagged along.

The plan was for everyone to meet at a church at 6pm and then proceed to his family home. Somehow we managed to leave the house at 6:05pm, so Dorris was driving like a bit of a maniac to make sure we didn’t miss it. Note that at this point, we don’t exactly know where we’re going (cause she’s never been there) but surely when we get there, we know we’ve arrived. There’s a bunch of people there already, all in black and some in T-shirts with his name and face on them. Honestly, I didn’t expect to see this many people (about 50 people). Anyways, we hang around for what seemed like 30 minutes and if I thought there were a lot of people when we arrived, boy was I in for a rude awakening cause the crowd had more than tripled in size.

Anyways, we proceed to the house, singing and holding our candles, some people crying, others snapchatting (I honestly don’t know how I felt about this). But by the time we get to his house, it’s already dark out. So the effect of the candles is in full force now. We are greeted at the gate by his mum, who was being strong for everybody. We sing a few songs and this guy says a quick word to her. Never going to forget what he said, “everybody here has a piece of “Eugene” in their hearts” 😢🤧. We march in, and the whole compound has been lit up with tea light candles and there’s a big board with a picture of this guy pasted on it (now I finally know exactly what Eugene looks like…and boy was he handsome. That smile on his face could light up the world). Everyone makes their way, in turns, to the family altar (yup…they have a family altar on the premises), to light a candle in his honour and pay tribute.

We get to the celebration part. Everyone takes a seat (and a lot more are standing). Honestly, what hit me was the sheer number of people who were presently at this event (more than 200 people). Mind you, this was a last minute get together. So only people in the area could attend. Imagine how much fuller it would have been if they had had more time to prepare. Just wow!!!! 🙀His friends, family, employees and people he had interacted with took to the stage to share memories. Underlying themes I picked up on were: his love for food, football, singing, his faith and love for Jesus, his smile, his compassion, his sensitivity, his heart, his generosity, his friendship. And I caught myself regretting that I never got the chance to meet this wonderful person everyone was describing. That I was never friends with him. I was also re-evaluating my life. And honestly, if when I go out, I have made this much impact in the lives of people around me, then I would know I have lived a life worth living.

So, here is to me being more present in life. Meeting more people and really trying to grow friendships. Being kind to everybody I come in contact with. Encouraging others to pursue their dreams. Inspiring lives. Comforting others when they’re down. Taking more photos (even though I hate pictures…but I don’t want my family to struggle to find photos of me for occasions like this one – marriage, death, birthday). Here’s to a selfless life.

Rest in peace Eugene, and thank you for inspiring me with your life. You ran a good race.

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