Carve your name on hearts not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.
-Shannon L. Adler
When I die I hope I have a funeral like Lori Crotts. Lori was a beautiful woman who I admired from the gym. I knew her by her smile and her persistent presence in the weight room at the unnerving hour of 5:30 am. I had seen her there for months. Occasionally we exchanged pleasantries. It wasn’t until the local newspaper ran a story about her last October that I realized she was dying. She didn’t look sick. She didn’t act sick. She was the constant at the gym, who never wasted time between sets. 53-year old Lori told me that shortly after a half marathon last February, she wasn’t feeling right. By the time she was diagnosed, her colon cancer had spread to stage 4. Suddenly her many ambitious goals turned into just one: living long enough to see her daughter graduate high school. It may be the only goal she never completed.
Last Thursday, Lori died holding her husband’s hand, according to her obituary. I wouldn’t know, I didn’t really know her well. She was a teacher, a mother of three and a Girl Scout leader. I learned just as much about her through the paper as I did in person. Yet, she touched my life. Maybe it was the fact that she didn’t use her illness as an excuse to give up something like exercise, but instead looked at working out as one small thing she could control. Maybe a normal routine might prolong her days, even if just by a few. Maybe it was the fact that when I told her I loved to read and had just built a Little Free Library in front of my house, she headed straight over after the gym to give me (a stranger) her favorite book. Her gracious use of her time inspired me to the end. Her obituary also said that she turned her home’s entranceway into a giant dream board. Lori encouraged everyone in her family to take a corner and DREAM BIG.
Lori’s funeral was standing room only with a crowd filling the lobby beyond the sanctuary. I strained to see past the woman in front of me who was straining to see past the man in front of her. Wonder how Lori carved her name in their hearts?
Post script- Lori was the first person to contribute a book to our Little Free Library. The day before her funeral, I met some neighbors studying our library who were inspired by it and now plan to build their own.
Will your funeral be standing room only?