Life lessons appear around us each day if we can just remember to be attentive. I certainly wasn’t expecting to find one at a celebration of life ceremony for the son of a friend. I guess because it was unexpected that I felt (and still feel) a tremendous sense of awe and gratitude.
At just 31 years old, unable to recover from a devastating two-year battle with a brain infection, Catzby Pitzvada died on December 17. I had never met Catzby; it was only through the stories of his mom Denise that I knew of him.
The ceremony was TRULY a celebration of life because Catzby lived a full life…full of adventure, travel, learning, music, friendships, laughter, and love.
Although the eulogies and tributes were each uniquely personal, one clear message shone through them all:
Catzby cared deeply about people.
Catzby understood that relationships need to be nourished.
Catzby encouraged those in his orbit to also care deeply about people and nourish their relationships.
A high school friend of his was brave enough to admit that she’s always been kind of a loner. She said she had let many friends drift away, but that Catzby always kept in touch over the years and nudged her to do the same, to keep reaching out, to maintain bonds.
That was the lesson that hit home for me. Because it’s easy to get lazy about relationships.
Right now (without having to think twice about it), I can name four people I’ve been talking about visiting for over a year. Each lives within an hour’s drive from me so why do I only talk about it? Do those people feel loved by my inaction? No. Likely they feel forgotten.
A line of poetry by Edwin Arlington Robinson goes like this:
We cannot know how much we learn
From those who never will return,
Until a flash of unforeseen
Remembrance falls on what has been.
Catzby, thank you for being such an inspiration, for choosing a full and joyful life, for having smile lines around your eyes before you hit 30. And especially thank you for the flash of unforeseen remembrance that we need to hold onto our relationships, to value them and care for them like the precious gifts they are.