But I found a quote today that I really think summarizes a lot of my experiences and view on the world. I first have to tell a little bit of a story.
In undergrad, I was a geek. Well, I probably shouldn't limit the time that I was a geek to just undergrad - but those who read this know I was a very big geek in undergrad. But I was fortunate to have a great roommate, be active in NCState Marching band and active in Dorm life. These facts will make some sense in a little bit.
So my roommate pledged Mu Beta Psi, national honorary musical society - her big brother in the fraternity was Hugh. Most people called this dear man "Huggie Bear" or some other great term of affection. He was larger than life, he had a huge heart and he shared with everyone his happiness. One hug from Hugh and we all knew it was going to be a great day. He was that powerful. Since I was in the Marching Band, I got to see him at practices, at events and he was always the "one" that we all had to say hello to. He had graduated from NCState when my older brother had - even knew my sister-in-law before she was my sister-in-law. We would poke fun at Hugh's age, he was ancient in our eyes as little college kids.
Then, my roommate and I were active in Dorm life - I'm telling you I was a geek. I don't want to implicate Ali (my roommate). But we were on Sullivan Dorm Council or whatever it was named. We even held elected positions, how much fun is that. Well, we both met Sigrid - who was Residence Director. She was a paid staff there to make sure the dorm residents behaved well and in general kept the RAs and the Dorm Council together. To be completely honest, I don't quite recall what else she did but she was a fantastic person.
At one point, I finally said to Ali - I think Hugh and Sigrid would really make a great match. I basically just told them each great things about each other - and they both believed me! They were willing to at least meet and see what a crazy idea I had planned. Long story short - they were married a year or two later. It was even the first wedding that I was asked to be a bridesmaid, I was so touched!
Fast forward, I became friends with Hugh on Facebook a couple of years ago after finding some mutual friends. He and Sigrid were doing awesome things and it was great to have him back 'virtually'.
Sadly, he passed away on Sunday. He was only 46. He leaves behind my friend Sigrid and their son. My heart aches for them.
Coming full circle, here is a portion of his obituary:
Through his numerous presentations and ongoing commitment to serving others, Hugh stressed that each of us to has the power within to get the most out of life's opportunities and that no matter how we stumble, we can always land right side up. He lived by the belief that as we travel life's journey, it is the way we handle the challenges that makes all the difference.
This is completely Hugh. This is completely why each one of us would seek out a hug or a smile from Hugh when we saw him. He believed in the fullness and richness of life. He believed we were all precious and even if he called me "Short Stuff" or "Half Pint" - he gave out his love in piles!
I can hope to honor his memory by "getting the most out of life's opportunities" and "landing right side up"! I know we can all learn from Hugh.