You got to treat people like they matter. Like they’re the only thing in your world. ~ Roy Watkins

My first husband will always be special. We were married for a month in sixth grade. I was Claudia to his Pilate in a Christian school Easter play, and I DID NOT want to play his wife. Chuck was gangly and nerdy, but what eleven-year-old boy isn’t?

I didn’t want to be his wife, because he was so much more gifted than I was. He occupied the space and commandeered the audience, leaving my woeful lack of skill apparent to everyone. For the rest of my life, he will be one of the most talented, creative people I will ever know.

He died this year.

Those words catch on my tongue. I still can’t get them out. He left a wife and a son and so many people who miss him, because he treated people like they mattered. In high school, he put together a series of hilarious skits set to music, and he knew which classmate would be perfect for each role. At work, he organized functions and events to bring people together and build community. At home, he was a model husband and father, AND he created gourmet food he couldn’t eat for almost five years. Less than a year before he succumbed to pancreatic cancer, he attended my book event at his local library. He was gritty and tough and destroyed and brittle and amazing.

When he knew he was dying, he got out his computer and put together a series of photographs, scenes that mattered to him from his too-short life. In most of his pictures, he was with others, sharing their victories and cheering them on. Chuck treated others like they were the only things in his world.

I hope my good deeds carry his essence. I hope humanity remembers him long after others are forgotten. I hope I see him again someday.


This is part of a series of pictures about making memories. If you liked the story why not share it with your friends? Let’s meet on Facebook or Twitter. If you prefer pictures you will surely like my Instagram. I’ve collected inspirational things and more on Pinterest! Any comments? Write them below!

treat people like they matter

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