There’s collateral beauty in even the darkest situations if you choose to see it. Just because you acknowledge the beauty doesn’t mean you need to minimize the pain and the sadness. Collateral means side by side. Beauty and pain can present themselves simultaneously. I saw it. I wept when I noticed the collateral beauty. The bursts of colors in the flowers. The joy in the photos of a life cut way too short, yet truly and fully lived. The intricate woodwork on the casket. The new friend who showed up unexpectedly because, “That’s what friends do.” The courage people had to stand and speak in the face of weakness and despair. The cherished memories that were shared, one by one, and put together like the pieces of a puzzle called Life. The countless individuals who were touched by one special person. Some are family by birth, some are family by circumstance and some are family by choice. But the best people are family because they’re all three.