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Monday, December 21, 2015

We Are Who We Love; in memory of a great man



Several days ago, a great and wonderful man passed away.  

He was my Uncle.  This is my tribute to him.  

I confess that I struggled to find the words to articulate what I was feeling.  To try and sum up someone who was as incredible as he was, was difficult.  No words could really capture the essence of someone who had the qualities he had.  I could only but try.  Suffice to say that there is a special place in my heart reserved just for him, and a fair chunk of my own moral code and character that has been shaped from his influence.  When reflecting about him with my cousin, we both agreed that if we were to pass away having only an 8th of his qualities, then we would know that we had made a difference in this world.  

Dear Bruce - this is for you.  XOX 

It is with a heavy, but fond heart that I pay tribute to my uncle, Bruce Miller, a true gentleman, whose compassion and community spirit was second to none.   I considered Bruce to be an amazing human being; one I was privileged to call my Uncle.


 Recently I read an article that outlined the ten most desirable traits in human beings, and my Uncle Bruce epitomized each of these traits.  He had integrity, courage, a sense of humour, and he was intelligent with a healthy dose of common sense.  Bruce had empathy for others, he was kind, conducted his business with self-confidence and discipline, he was generous to a fault and finally, Bruce was self-aware – he was a very astute person.  He taught me to believe in humanity, and to take the time to enjoy the small moments in life, because the most important things to value are not those we can purchase.
 


Bruce was honest, fair and he acted with decency.   When Bruce promised to do something, he did it.  Even when that promise meant trying to fix a boat so his niece could go boating on the pond.  Bruce knew that boat was never going to be an easy repair, and it was unlikely to last long, but he had promised and he delivered.  Yes the boat sank – with me in it.  But I will never forget the lessons of patience; following through on your word, and the value of being able to swim, that were learnt that day.
 
He had a quiet and calm way of being.   Bruce was a man you could share a conversation with, and one you could feel as equally at ease with, by sitting in silence.   Either way, there was always something that could be learnt from those times.  One just had to listen.
 Bruce had knack for facing challenges with gentleness and a wry smile.  An example of a time where having a good sense of humour saved the day was not long after the new house was built.   It wasn’t ideal to use dishwashing liquid in the new spa, especially when if filled the bathroom with a sea of bubbles to the ceiling, but he saw the funny side, and helped pitch in to clean up the overflow of bubbles!  The lesson here is that mistakes are what we learn from; it is how we grow as individuals, and to set them right again simply takes a calm head and a healthy sense of humour.
 


Generous to a fault, Bruce cared about his family and wanted us all to be successful.  I appreciated his belief in me, and his quiet encouragement.  He inspired me to want to be a better person and I always appreciated that he believed in what I wanted to achieve in life.  He taught me to work hard, set goals and to aim high.  I admired my Uncle, so much so that it was Bruce who inspired my husband and I when we named our daughter.   My only regret is not sharing that story with Bruce, as I suspect he would have appreciated the irony!
 


Bruce was a loving husband, father and grandfather who wished only the best for his family.  The foundation for this love for family, and his selfless acts for others, particularly the community, was his faith.
 


It is rare that we ever get to meet people who are as kind, genuine and sincere as Bruce, and I count myself blessed to have known him and to have been influenced by him.
 


One of the most important lessons that Bruce taught me is that of paying it forward.  To do something selfless for another is what gives the world around us meaning and fulfillment.
 


Whilst I will mourn Bruce’s loss, this ache is only temporary.  What will be lasting is the memories, the lessons and the selfless acts of generosity and kindness he bestowed upon others – an example that all of us can learn from and apply in our own lives.
 I am thankful for this legacy.



 “What we do for ourselves dies with us, what we do for others and the world remains and is immortal”  Albert Pine

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