Some people are motivated by thinking of what their funeral will be like someday. Perhaps they get a rush wondering how many people will show up, the great things they may say, or how much they’ll be missed. I know people who use funerals to motivate their performance on any given day. The chances are you know at least one person who has already, regardless of how young they are, planned their funeral to the last detail.
In some cases this is a loving gesture as the grieving spouse would not have to do this daunting task. My husband has planned his funeral as a loving gesture for me. I know exactly what he wants and it will be easy for me to carry out his wishes. I just have to get the notes in our safe and follow them.
The first time I said I have no need for a funeral one of my friends in London said, “I’ve never thought of that.” A funeral is not actually for the person who has died. They are no longer of this earth. There is no formal prerequisite to have a funeral in order to get into heaven or wherever you believe you go after you pass away.
Funerals are for the people who have lost that loved one. For many it is a major part of the grieving process and a part of closure to say good bye. If anyone in my life wants to have a funeral, of any kind, that is their decision. It’s not that I am against a funeral for myself, it is just I have no need for one. Yet, I would not deny my family or friends what they need in the situation.
A sidebar for me is the unnecessary high cost of a funeral. It seems another capitalistic industry at a very vulnerable time for families which can create emotional rather than logical decisions (which is understandable.)
Besides the fact that I physically would have no need for a funeral , I know why I feel this way. It’s because I’m comfortable with my own death as it is a natural part of life. For me exclusively, I know I am here for a reason and on a mission to make a difference in the world. I also understand this purpose will come to an end one day. This understanding does not mean as a wife and mother it would not be gut wrenchingly painful to leave my family. It just means as an individual, I understand every life comes to an end.
The final reason I have no need for a funeral is that I have an issue with one aspect of the idea of leaving a legacy. I believe the focus should be on living a legacy and there is a very important reason for the distinction between the two. It is not wordsmith issue. There is a concrete difference between these two ways of thinking.
The reality is that people will forget us and our efforts soon after we die. That is just the way it is for the majority of people. If you are able to have family or others remember you for a generation that is pretty good. If they remember you for longer than a generation you must have done something pretty remarkable and even if you made a massive impact on the world it is still hard to keep your impact here for very long. People who have done that are Mother Teresa, Napoleon Hill, Abe Lincoln, but think of all the greats of their time who are soon forgotten.
My belief is that you make your greatest impact while you are here because we are easily forgotten when we pass on. So that means you have whatever finite number of days you were given to impact yourself and others. That is your chance to LIVE a legacy, not leave a legacy.
My husband, Andre, our children, and my mom know I have only one wish after my passing. Donate my organs and cremate my body. It wouldn’t surprise anyone in my life that I don’t want to take up space on earth after my passing. My family can do what they wish with my ashes.
So perhaps I’ve depressed or inspired you with my post today. My wish is that I’ve made you think.
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