My Grandmother was well known for sending obscure articles from the newspaper that she found interesting. When I was about 16 years old I received one of these articles and I opened it up to find an obituary. It read that J.L. Boney, III died today. This was interesting, after all, I had the same name. But, being a 16 year old, I paid little attention to it after the initial chuckle it gave me and I tossed it on the table next to my bed and forgot all about it.
A few weeks later while lying in bed, I couldn't sleep and I noticed the crinkled newspaper clipping on the table. With a smile I reached over and seized it to take a closer look, after all, I never really read the thing. I carefully unfolded the article once more and there it was again, the profound statement that J.L Boney, III died today. I turned on the light and sat on the edge of the bed to take a more in depth look at this obituary.
As I read I saw that this particular J.L. had passed away at the age of 85. He was survived by a wife, 6 children, and 13 grandchildren at the time of his passing. It didn't give a ton of other insight to his life, other than the obvious, that his family would miss him. This made me think for a brief moment about my own mortality, after all, at 16 you just don't think about death that much. But then something else entirely crossed my young mind that truly gripped me as I starred at the flimsy paper in my hand.
I thought about the exact opposite of the article, I thought about life. I had long since known that I would die, this inevitability was not lost on my conciseness. But what I had never truly considered was how long my life could last and what I may leave behind when it came my time to touch the sky. I had never conceived of the fact that I may have a wife, children, and grandchildren that my legacy would survive through.
I found myself even further from sleep at that point, because I wondered if I would make it to see through the eyes of an 85 year old. Would I marry the woman of my dreams and would we grow old together watching our children grow string and realize their own dreams? Would we see our Grandchildren enter existence and make their way through the world to create memories and traditions? I thought about a lot of things and I was still sitting there thinking when the Sun came up and it was time for me to go to school.
I was completely lost in the thought of whether my obituary would stack up with the one I was holding in my hand. It almost made me laugh when I realized how long I had been there traveling through my own mind to my children's college graduation and passing out bubble gum cigars saying "It's a Boy!" when my first Grandchild was welcomed in the world. With that I sat the article back on the table and went on about my day, yet I still have it in my possession until this day.
You see, when I first opened the article, I did the same as everyone else, I looked at it as a notice of death. Black ink on thin paper that made us all aware that someone had passed from this life. But after starring at it for a moment or two, death had nothing to do with it. I looked at it as a notice that someone had lived. I always knew that I would die someday, bit this was the first time I really though about how much I wanted to live and what I wanted out of my life. I wanted to someday have an obituary that would not only let people know I had passed, but the I had truly lived. It's amazing what you can learn when you consider the life of someone you would never even have the opportunity to meet. But his death and the alert of his life had a profound affect on mine. And so one day, people we see a similar title in the obituaries, and they will be on notice that I too have not just died, but truly lived.
JL Boney, III - Columbia, SC Realtor - Russell and Jeffcoat Real Estate
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