Dear Uncle P.,
Your first cradle was a shoebox on Grandma's warming shelf on her wood stove. You fit in Grandpa's hand, your tiny feet only reaching to his wrist. Though it wasn't the name you were christened with, they called you Thom Thumb. (Which became your alias in years to come:-)
Perhaps it was because you fought death from the moment of birth that you had no fear. Crazy stunts and wild disregard for rules - any rules - were common fare for you your whole life long. You lived life in every moment, laughing and joking and loving every minute, no matter what trouble came your way. You taught me not to worry about tomorrow - right now is where I need to be.
You expected nothing but 110% from yourself and everyone around you. Having built yourself up from an uneducated immigrant to a well-known businessman, you knew that hard work and persistence would get you ahead. Though we rarely saw eye-to-eye, you taught me that when you get knocked down you just get right back up, as well as how to stand up for myself.
You made an impression on everyone you met. Humorous, ambitious and hard-working, you still always had time to lend a helping hand. We didn't know you for very long and your time here was cut tragically short, but your family's loss was also felt by ours. You taught me to make people important - not accomplishments. The 800+ people at you service had all felt touched by you.
Dear Mr. W.,
You scared the crap out of me that morning I found you stretched out in your hay field next to your truck. You were just taking a nap, you said. With cancer ravaging your body and the chemotherapy literally knocking you on your butt, you were still plucking away at your chores, even if you could only work for a few minutes at a time. You taught me that there are no reasons to not get the work done - only excuses.
You all inspire me.
What valuable lessons have you learned from others in your life?