Life in a Beautiful Day

Donald Raab
3 min readSep 28, 2021

What my cousin Chris taught me about living

My cousin Chris on the London Eye, 2004

It’s a Beautiful Day

I hope this story reminds you of one positive thing, every single day.

My cousin Chris passed away on September 28, 2012. This is the first time I am writing about him. I don’t really know what to write to be honest. Chris was less a cousin, and more of a brother to me. A brother from another mother he would say.

Chris died a year before my wife was diagnosed with Leukemia. He was only 42 years old. My memories of him and the life he lived brought me comfort and strength in the hardest times, as my wife fought her war against AML.

Chris loved the U2 song “Beautiful Day.” Every time I saw him, he would happily and emphatically say these words to me.

It’s a Beautiful Day

I love the song, and think fondly of Chris every time I hear it. It will forever be his song. I enjoy listening and singing along to it and smiling as I think of him.

Surprisingly, I have never seen the video of the song until today. I just watched the official music video for the song for the very first time. I did not know there might be more to the song than the amazing melody, and motivational lyrics. I think there will be a permanent palm print on my forehead after today.

The reason I say this is because Chris was an airline attendant for most of his career.

After watching this video, the song has an even stronger bond to Chris for me. I know Chris is smiling down at me as I learned this today.

Live a Beautiful Life every single Beautiful Day

Chris would always make me smile. Even during the darkest times of his short life, through all the battles he fought, Chris lived filled with happiness, love and with his motto ready to be shared with all.

Chris saw more of the world than most of us probably ever will. He came to visit my family when we lived in London in 2004, which is when I took the two pictures I have included in this post. Chris knew how to make the most out of a one or two day layover in a city. He knew how to live a beautiful life in a single day.

The last time I saw Chris was in NYC, the summer that he passed away. I have the last conversation I had with Chris saved on my phone from nine years ago. I was hoping to arrange a visit with him in Houston where he lived. He passed away before I got the chance. Our last words are a constant reminder to me, to live my life each day as a Beautiful Day.

Chris: Thank you buddy… I promise I will let u know!!! Love you

Me: Love U2… The band is great as well. ;)

If there is a heaven… I’m certain Chris is there enjoying every beautiful day. Chris was an angel on earth, possibly just dropping by for a quick layover to make sure we all learn how to live life in the moments we have. His life was a gift, and I am lucky to have been a part of it.

Wherever you are Chris, I love you, and I miss you.

It’s a Beautiful Day

My cousin Chris, enjoying a Beautiful Day



Donald Raab

Java Champion. Creator of the Eclipse Collections OSS Java library ( Inspired by Smalltalk. Opinions are my own.