Can you imagine logging into Facebook, just to browse through your feed only to see that you had passed away? With friends sending “R.I.P’s”, you see first hand reactions of how your friends and family would take the news. It’s chilling… but that was my reality on May 31st. My name sake, footballer “Jason Marcano,” tragically lost his life in a car accident. The incident was the third in a 2 month period where I lost 2 other colleagues. All 3 of them were in their 30’s like me, so I was already reeling from the “what if that was me?” syndrome. Actually seeing your name associated with death hits you a different way. Death has a way of making us reflect on our own life, as we remember the ones we’ve lost and their stories. While we honour them, we seek a deeper meaning in the tragedies and see how we can lay rest to our past negative habits as we learn from the lessons they had taught us in their presence.
Lesson #1 – Do What You Love
I never met Jason, but it felt like if I lost a relative. We weren’t directly related, but I had known him for maybe 10-15 years due to his celebrity status. People always asked me if I was him. Having gained his reputation as a talented footballer and even playing for the Trinidad and Tobago national team, he was well known in the football circuits. To me, his existence represented an alternate reality for what my life would be like if I pursued a career in football (and if I were any good). I had actually wanted to be a footballer when I was younger, but never liked the idea of training, so it’s no surprise that dream only reached as far as being good at playing FIFA.
Ironically, we only connected for the first time a couple months before his demise, on Facebook. We discussed him moving away from football to start building his business, and by perusing his page I was happy to realize that he seemed like a down-to-earth, progressive, family-oriented man, much like myself. At only 38 years old, despite achieving so much, it feels like he would have continued to reach his goals because of his drive. I know he can rest easier knowing that he had pursued a career he loved and was successful at it. My philosophy is that as long as you are doing what you love and earning a living, you’ve won.
A lot of times our “coulda woulda shouldas” haunt us with the regret of things we never pursued. I’m glad that Jason was successful in doing something he loved, and to me that is how life is meant to be spent. We can’t control how much time we have here, but we can control what we do with our time here. Thanks Jason.
Lesson #2 – Inspire Positive Change and Lead by example
The first person who passed away within that period, was someone who worked within my organization. Again, I only met him for the first time about a month before he died, but his reputation preceded him. Lyndon Jackson was a Librarian attached to the Arima Public Library. I met him at a meeting where he sat on the executive for the Library Association of Trinidad and Tobago. Quite an ambitious role for someone so young, I thought to myself. I assume he was the youngest person there, and was impressed by his dedication to his craft, even slightly envious. Just like with Jason, I feel like people who find a job they are passionate about and can make a career out of it are the lucky ones.
Lyndon wasn’t there for the glory, his humble persona hid his enthusiasm for his job. He seemed truly passionate about helping people, using libraries as a vessel to do his life’s work. He had gone above and beyond the call of duty multiple times to serve in whatever way he could. He was mentioned in conversations about bringing positive changes to the library service, he was the silver lining in a dark cloud. Despite only learning most of this at his funeral, I could tell that the impact he made was monumental. Colleagues knew we had lost someone special. I can’t say if Librarianship was truly his passion because I never asked him, but Lyndon gave everything to his job, helped people along the way and inspired people to emulate him.
At the end of the day, our short time here should be meaningful and we should do our best to help people and change anything we can for the better. Lyndon’s inspirational journey inspired me and many others to do better. Thanks Lyndon.
Lesson #3 – Brighten Someone’s Day
The third person who passed away in the time period was Karlene Flemming-Fortune. At 34, she was someone I knew better than the others I mentioned. I had known her for a few years well from working within the same building. She was just one of those persons who could turn the mood around. We traded stories, and she offered an encouraging word when necessary. Even with colleagues who were troubled, I saw Karlene take the time to speak with them and make them smile.
I never saw her sad or upset until the weeks leading up to her demise. While I reached out to her to assist, I was really helpless to do anything because of her medical condition. Mere days before she passed away she posted an eerie status, it was the first time I saw her speak this way and it was a sign of what had ultimately happened. If Karlene was ever going through any major issues prior to that I would have never known, as she always wore a smile and was positive. While I do feel like Karlene was doing work she enjoyed, my main lesson from Karlene was from our personal interactions.
You have the power to make someone’s day better, so you should. It’s not always about trying to be the next big thing, your impact can come from every interaction you have with someone, making their day a little better than it was before they met you. Thanks Karlene.
If there was an overarching theme to this all it is that death causes us to reevaluate how we spend our time, because we remember our own mortality and the finite nature of our presence. Are we truly bringing enough value to this world? Apart from footballer Jason Marcano, I would like to put another one to rest. The old Jason Marcano, my old habits, my old approach to life, because despite trying to do a lot, I know I can do better, and utilize the lessons learnt from my 3 colleagues to be rebirthed with their values.
- Do What I Love – What sense does it make to live this life without fully pursuing your passions, you will never know how far it can take you.
- Inspire Positive Change – You can impact help make so many persons lives better while being here, why not try to do that.
- Brighten Someone’s Day – Be a beacon of light to the people you meet. A warm smile might be enough to lift someone’s mood.
I pray that these three amazing souls rest in peace and their impact helps them to live on forever.