jI’m going to start this off with the fact that this post did not go in the direction that I originally started it in. It started out as a simple, “We went to a memorial for a wonderful woman that had been an apoted Grandma for Evie and Mom for Ara,” to my feelings about life AFTER the memorial. So, don’t judge this one on style, but more on the message – especially towards the end.
I have never liked funeral-style gatherings. Call them what you will, a celebration of life, a wake, a funeral, a memorial or just a service, they all mean the same thing, someone that affected a very large number of people on this planet is no longer here. As I was sitting with Evie and Ara at a very good friend’s mother’s memorial today, I realized why I disliked them so much. It wasn’t the fact that we lost someone special, but it was more that there was a room full of people that were hurting when that person’s sole goal in life was to make sure that nobody was hurt.
You see, I didn’t ‘feel’ the effects of my mother’s passing as badly as some others did. I knew she was in a place where her damaged body was no longer causing her pain and she was safe. I knew that she had left us all in good hands with our new families and that we were all going to be ok. There were very few tears that were shed for her and that’s exactly how she would want it to be. She would not want us moping around desparately clinging to the past and memories that will never be repeated. She would want us to live and celebrate every day, before our turn comes. She would want us to, as it was so perfectly put at this memorial, carry her torch and teach others what she taught us.
It’s really pretty simple. I’ve never hated funerals because of who was lost, but the fact that they seem compltely counter to everything that people believe while they are here. I’ve seen the happiest, joy-filled people remembered in the most depressing ways. I’ve seen someone with no friends have hundreds of people show up because they ‘had to’ and someone with a thousand friends have nobody come, because they “just couldn’t do it.”
I want to drop a challenge to everyone out there. I want you to make everyday your friend’s funerals. Wait, I know that sounds crazy, but hear me out here. At that funeral, when you get up and speak about them, you tell a wonderful story about that one time that… You talk about the great times, and sometimes the painful ones… You enjoy time together with friends you haven’t seen in forever and you talk about things that some have forgotten… You live life with the others that are still here, and that’s what I mean by making it youf friend’s funeral.
Take the time to reach out to old friends. Make the effort to them down and grab a drink or a coffee together. Play a round of golf with your dad or shoot hoops with your brother. Get a pickup softball game going on Saturday mornings or meet at the old football statdium on Friday nights. Do what you did before life got in the way. Don’t wait until someone is gone to say, we should have hung out more and remembered all the good times. It’s amazing how fast time goes when life gets in the way, but it’s up to us to slow it down and enjoy it. If we don’t, we will just have that big group of people we hardly knew talking about us to each other when we are gone instead of an amazing group of people that are sad to see us go, but have had richer lives because they knew us.