It was a tough end to the year with the loss of a dear co-worker. The combination of that, skimming the local obits as I’ve done every day for a million years, and seeing the annual reviews of famous people who died the past year put a thought into my mind. This may sound like a downer but it definitely isn’t. It’s quite the opposite.
What I think would be absolutely amazing would be a recap of the passing of people who made impacts on our individual lives. Solicit the public to send in a photo and a paragraph or two describing the person, and why she or he made an impact on them. Could be friend, acquaintance, co-worker, relative, anybody. Put ’em all together into one big recap. I think we’d learn about some wonderful people whom we’d otherwise never know about. Maybe we’d find inspiration in their lives that would spark new commitments to creativity, courage, honesty, devotion, a new hobby, taking a chance on an unfamiliar challenge. Perhaps some priceless anecdotes would cross the transom.
The obsession with celebrity is certainly nothing new and I’m as guilty as the next person for sometimes falling under its spell.
But when I’m asked who the most memorable people were that I interviewed over the years during my journalism career, I always respond that they were the people who overcame adversity with no complaints, brilliant researchers looking for ways to make our lives better, children with innocent views of life, anyone with courage and creative talent.
Sure, there were always famous people that crossed my path and they’re good for name dropping or the memoirs I’ll never write.
But it’s people leading normal lives making an impact on those closest to them I admire the most and think deserve a little recognition they may have been too modest to seek in life, simply had no interest or the opportunity to do so.
One thing that makes us better people is learning about the best people and what made them that way. What a shame not to share the brilliance of their lives.