The University’s current slogan is “Seek Light”, but the one we used to have before that was “Life Impact”. I have decided that at least for myself I would like to keep the old one, because recent events have shown me its true meaning.
My mother-in-law Merle died almost two weeks ago, and last week was the funeral and memorial service. She was not just my mother-in-law, but my second mother, and life will never be the same without her. The main reason I feel this way is because my life was already never the same because of her. And not just for me: more than three hundred people came to her memorial service and Dad has been receiving twenty to thirty cards in the mail every day since the news was announced. Clearly, Mum made a huge impact on hundreds of people during her life.
How did she do this? She wasn’t a well-known public figure famous for her musical skill, or for curing a disease, or for changing history. She was just an ordinary woman — a wife, a mother and a nurse.
I think the impact Mum made was at least in part due to the fact that she believed in the power of little things. She believed in doing what she promised to do, in asking people how they were and actually listening, in writing thank-you notes, in telling shop assistants they were doing a good job, in baking cupcakes just because, in offering to do the dishes, in opening doors for people, in learning her patients names, and in simply giving a smile. I am sure that it was all these little things that made such a huge impact on so many people.
The University used to post stories about how people’s work at the Uni has had “life impact” because of the big changes it made to the world, but Mum has shown me that the greatest impact you will ever have is on the people around you every day, and that this impact will happen through all the little things you do and say.
I feel humbled and sometimes overwhelmed to think that I am in a position in the University that puts so many people around me every day who I will impact in this way. I only hope I can continue the legacy she has left, and remember the power of little things. I would feel truly blessed if I had even the tiniest fraction of the positive life impact Mum did.