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Live A Life Well-Lived: A Moment Of Reflection

by Marc Luber

When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced.
Live your life in a manner
so that when you die the world cries and you rejoice.
-Native American Proverb

When starting Careers Out There, I made a conscious decision to keep the site career-focused and not make it an outlet for my personal ramblings. I’m bending that rule a bit today as I’m in a moment of reflection due to the death this week of one of my favorite people: my cousin Eddie. Because I think he set a great example for all of us, and because I think you’ll find his life interesting and because his path ties in with many of the 15 Career Development Topics That Will Follow You Through Life, I’m writing about Eddie today.

Death is unfortunately a part of life…and even when there is no tragedy and someone lives as long and full a life as one could ask for, that doesn’t make us miss them any less once they’re gone. After all, remember how bummed we all were when Yoda died? And he was what, like 900 years old? Eddie’s life, career and volunteer work have inspired me for years and always will.

I never got to know my grandfathers. My mom’s dad died before I was born. My dad’s dad died when I started kindergarten – but his brother Sam, who had moved to L.A. from Chicago long before I was born, kind of took over that grandfather role for me until his death when I was 16. Sam’s daughter Charlotte was married to Eddie. Once Sam passed away, Eddie really served as the de facto leader of our massive California family…and to me, felt like an adopted grandfather. 10 things I’d like you to know about Eddie:

1) He achieved a work/life balance
– He & Charlotte were together from 1945 until he died this Tuesday night at the age of 88
– He has 5 kids, 10 grandkids and 1 great-grandkid
– He was always willing to hop on a plane and fly to an event for family & friends

2) He served our country
– He was a captain in the Air Force during the Korean War

3) He found a career that fit
– He became a dentist and moved to L.A. from Chicago in 1952

4) He went through career changes, focused on his strengths and reaped the emotional & financial benefits
– He got his law degree, contractor’s license and became a builder and real estate developer
– He became a sharp businessman and entrepreneur

5) He lived life to the fullest
He made the big bucks
– He got to travel the world and enjoy life at his pace and by his rules

6) He gave back to his community in a huge way by volunteering his time, money and skills to philanthropic causes:
– For years he traveled to Israel’s Sinai desert to provide emergency dental care to native Arab nomads
– He led the construction and fundraising efforts for many L.A. institutions
– In the LA area he financially supported legal services for the needy, a home for the aging, a center helping families confronting life’s challenges & crises, religious institutions, school buildings, an overnight camp, a drug rehabilitation center and memorial parks.

7) He was always supportive of me and my career
– He & Charlotte put me up when I was first moving to L.A., interviewing and looking for housing.
– He provided volumes of career advice and encouragement over the course of my years in L.A.. He always made me feel like I had a fan.

8] He kept an open and curious mind into his old age
– One example that always comes to mind: I was staying with Eddie & Charlotte shortly after Kurt Cobain died. Already in his 70s, Eddie could have taken the typical “bah humbug, stupid drug-addled 20-something guitar player died” attitude. Instead he asked me a ton of questions about who was this guy Kurt Cobain, why was he important to me, what did I feel he contributed to music. I’ll never forget that refreshing conversation.

9) He had an ear-to-ear grin this past Saturday at a great family Father’s Day party.
– His youthful vibe faded rapidly this year as old age set in…and I had a feeling my goodbye on Saturday would be my last. I’m happy that I’ll get to remember him smiling on that day, just 72 hours before his death.

10) He checked into a hospital on Saturday night and died peacefully on Tuesday night surrounded by his immediate family singing his favorite songs.

A perfect ending to a life well-lived….RIP Eddie….