1943 – 2011
The first time I met him, I remember that during the initial fact finding I assumed that Ray was short for Raymond. I was quickly told that I was wrong, it was just Ray. Had I known then what I know now, I would have understood.
Saturday night, Ray passed away. As I think back over the past ten years, I can’t help but smile. Whether it was getting an email joke forwarded to me that made me laugh or hearing him arriving for our regular meeting in his boisterous way, Ray was Ray. No he was a “ray of sunshine”. Hearing that he had passed elicited the normal response, the need to make some sense of it. He was so positive, it was all too fast.
It was then that it hit me. All too often I meet people that are suffering in so many ways and you can see it. After all, life isn’t easy. However, we all know people who seem to have everything but still don’t seem to be happy. Instead of counting their blessings, they obsess over the many things in life they can’t control. In some circles, we call them “downers”. They literally suck the positive energy from any room. I realized that for every ten “downers” the world needs one Ray to neutralize them. Ray did his job well by lighting up every room.
I decided to write this to remind everyone that it is all of our missions to be happy. As a parent, I can not guarantee how long I will be there for my children. I know that I can not decide for them what they will be, who they will marry, how many children they may or may not have or even if they will still be talking to me after their teenage years. I would only tell them that they only owe me one thing in this life. To try every day regardless of what life throws at you to be happy and have a positive attitude for their own benefit and all those who they interact with each day. I believe that Ray did that each and every day of his life. I believe we can learn a lot from happy people like Ray.
I heard it said that when someone dies, God must have needed another angel. In this case, heaven must have needed a “Ray of sunshine”.