Today I attended my fiance's great uncle Pat's memorial service. I'd met Pat a few times before at family gatherings and parties, Pat was the family patriarch. Unlike my own family, Pat was at the center of a large and close tribe. In spite of spending little time in his company, it was clear he was the magnanimous figure required to hold together such a network.
At the memorial I heard many stories from those closest to him spanning his entire lifetime. As a child he was often at the bedside of his mother who suffered with asthma, an affliction Pat himself shared. Although asthma would take his mothers life, new drugs emerged in the 80's and saved Pat's life.
He would go on to work as a air raid warden during the blitz — whilst working full days at the office in the city — an organist at his local church, a husband, father, grandfather, and eventually great grandfather.
Pat worked hard and succeeded. He was happy. He could see peoples' ability to succeed, and he championed everyone. He celebrated the achievments of those around him with never-ending enthusiasm. His grandchildren said each of them felt like he was their number one fan. So with no surprise, the church was full.
Simon Sinek said that great leaders eat last, and it seems that's how Pat lived his life. The ceremony acted as a powerful reminder that a New Year's resolution can be an opportunity to focus on more than my own creative development. It's a chance to develop as a person, the kind of person people want to remember.