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Life Lessons from My Loss

Life Lessons from My Loss

My brother unexpectedly passed away yesterday. My entire family is devastated.

As I scroll through crazy texts from last week, reminisce about caring phone calls, and recognize that our annual holiday pilgrimage to Palm Springs will never be the same without him, I’m also reminded of lessons he taught me.

1. Find the funny

Whether it was dealing with the unscripted chaos of navigating a divorce or medical problems, my bro was quick with a quip. No gathering was complete without mascara running down my face from laughing so hard. (Louis: I’m trying hard to crack a smile).

2. Don’t Jump to Judgment

It was easy for folks to make quick judgment about Louis – a tall, imposing figure who oversaw the LAPD motorcycle fleet. Yet, he read and watched the news voraciously. It’s time to stop judging the book by its cover.

3. Embrace Metaphors

As the resident auto mechanic, he could simplify tough topics. For example, in determining if my sister should get rid of her car because both the brakes and transmission failed in the same week, he put it this way: If your microwave dies and then next week your refrigerator gives up the ghost, you don’t burn down your kitchen, right? You just got unlucky this week.

4. Face the Future, Not the Past

His mantra was this: “Your car has a gigantic windshield for guiding you to new adventures and a tiny rearview mirror just so that you don’t hit anything on the journey.” Great advice.

5. Collect Your Catchphrases

One of my faves of his way: vu jade (vs. déjà vu) meaning did it once, don’t need to do it again!

6. Live Today Now!

He retired from the LAPD early because he calculated the costs against his happiness. Happiness won. He and I were also both fans of carpe diem. We didn’t hesitate, we didn’t wait, we just did it. We kicked to the curb the concept of “well, it will always be there.” No, as we’ve learned, events, trips, and people will not always be there.

It’s been a year beyond comprehension. We lost our aunt earlier this year and my mom 5 years ago. It brought us 3 siblings closer than ever. Now, it’s just two of us: Wendy and me.

Louis leaves behind his son, sisters, nieces, nephews, friends…and a legacy. I’ll miss him always.

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