It Shouldn’t Take a Loss for Us to Want to be Better People

A persons true impact on others really becomes obvious in their passing.


It is interesting to look back at the impact of the passing of those close to me (and some not so close) has had on me through my years in the Marines, my time after surrounded by addiction, and now a little later in life.

The growing role of social media in our daily lives has brought about some unexpected changes. When I was in the Marines, there was only a few other guys in units that I was in at the time that died. However, there were a lot, not only that I knew, but each other Marine knew individually. At such a young age and doing something so dangerous, we honestly did not spend a ton of time at the moment grieving over it, or really even thinking about it. It was probably just a coping mechanism, but we had to keep it moving…we had to be strong.

After my years in the Marines it seemed like friends and associates were dying left and right as a result of rampant addiction(especially where I lived in Mansfield and Akron). One thing that was different, is that social media was huge by this point. Maybe it was because most of the deaths that I had to deal with were of addicts, but I would always see the obligatory,

“So sad!”


“Such a good mother/father”….

I was just as guilty as the next person in posting these things not out of a sincere sense of loss, but out of a sense of obligation. It was just as important that others see that you care to serve your own ego, or because everyone else did also. Lets be honest, there was not always a ton of great things to say about a heroin addict in active addiction.

It is the current stage of my life that I am in now that has changed everything I thought I knew about loss, and the impact on the lives of those around us that we can truly have. With the passing of a friend yesterday, I saw something very different. Instead of the obligatory statement of condolences or sadness, there were a lot of long, detailed messages of how important this man was, and the impact he had on the lives of those around him.

This really touched me.

I have been up all night thinking about what will happen when it is my time to go. Will there be a handful of “RIP” for me, or will those in my life want to share how I touched and impacted their lives for the better? Obviously I hope for the latter, but then I started to feel bad about thinking about all of this. It felt like volunteering for a charity to get the “thank you’s”. It is not something that is done for the recognition, it is done just to do it and to help.

I heard somewhere that it is our “dash” that is remembered about us after our passing. It is the dash in between the year of our birth and death on our tombstone…our entire life summed up by a simple dash.

Life is too short for grudges, for conflict, for resentment, and most importantly it is too short to spend it doing something that we don’t love. That is what I learned yesterday. Matt did what he loved…sports! After putting in so much work at Akron U, I came to OMS to do the same. I want to spend the rest of my days doing what I love! When you are happy, you can then make a positive impact on the lives of others…because it makes you happy and makes you feel good, not just to have a better “dash” then the next guy, and to get more “likes”.

So, if you take anything away from all this, I guess it should be to be a better person, not because of Matt Medley, but FOR him. If all of those that he touched can in turn touch just half as many, his influence will continue to live on.




4 thoughts on “It Shouldn’t Take a Loss for Us to Want to be Better People

Add yours

  1. Jay,

    Very moving and so true. Life isn’t long enough to hold a grudge or to harbor hate in our hearts. I held on to so much of that hate for so long. As it ate me up from the inside, I realized that I trailed it in my wake as I passed through life. I thought that hate was created by the sand people in the Afghanistan or the brown people in Iraq. But as I reconciled it, I realized that my hate was actually produced from inside my heart, fueled by me because I really hated myself. Almost ten years after I make this self-discovery, I have finally learned that it is possible to replace hate with love.

    Sorry, I really didn’t mean to take up so much of your comment box. All that just burst out from what you wrote.


    Liked by 1 person

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