This may not connect with you, but this obituary always sets me straight.
I cut an obituary out of the Detroit News more than 20 years ago. It’s still something I read two or three times a year, especially when I’m in the midst of a crazy holiday and school calendar, and I feel myself losing sight of the right priorities. OK, it’s not just during the holiday season, as I often let my calendar overwhelm me and I’m quite capable at screwing up my priorities throughout the year. So I’ll admit, no single news clipping could really re-direct all of my personality quirks and work habits forever – but this one comes close. I’m glad I came across it again this week.
Imagine, the clipping itself is now kind of yellow and a crackles a bit when unfolded. It describes how twin sisters Ruthie and Verena Cady lived their seven years together – literally joined together – while they shared one heart. They were born in 1984 and were attached at the chest. They shared a liver and were given little chance of surviving their first year.
The headline of their obituary reads “Twins got along in life, death.” This pretty well sums up Ruthie’s and Verena’s short life story accurately enough, I suppose, but it was the quotes from their mother, Marlene, and older sister Maria that always get me thinking . . . particularly when I think of my own petty self-doubts and squabbles; those that I cause, and those that I just can’t let go.
Here are the two quotes from the obituary that never fail to get me back on track:
Ruthie and Verena took turns each day making decisions said their mother Marlene. “When you can’t get away from the person you’re arguing with, you solve it quickly,” she said.
“Sometimes I feel sorry for my sisters being attached,” said older sister Maria, “because they do not always want to do the same thing. But when they aren’t arguing I think they’re very lucky to be together.”
Both at home and at work I’m blessed by some pretty incredible people all around me. But I’m embarrassed to tell you how often I forget this fact. And when I do remember, you’d think I’d let these people know how I feel about them. But I rarely do. How ’bout you?” (And don’t worry. You couldn’t do worse than me!)