Memorial services and funerals have always been for the living -- a way for family and friends of the recently passed to acknowledge, honor, and celebrate the life of their loved one.
I attended a memorial service today for the husband of a friend. We’re not close friends – but she’s a woman I like and admire, who had been very supportive when I started running, and I wanted to show my support in her time of loss.
The funeral home was standing room only. I got lost on the way and was late, so I stood in the back with many others. It was lovely to hear the speeches and learn a little more about my friend’s husband, whom I had met quite a few times at their neighborhood parties, but didn’t know well. His brother, best friend, coworker, and neighbor all spoke volumes about him and shared their memories with us, occasionally choking up. It was beautiful, and I hope it brought some peace to his family.
The service brought back memories of my dad’s memorial service a little over a year ago. The love, grief, disbelief and mourning were palpable in the air. Someone much loved was gone before anyone was ready for him to go. And as with my dad’s lovely and deeply meaningful service, this too was celebration of a life lived well.
I decided to walk the six or seven blocks from the reception hall back to my car, needing the fresh air and some space. I’m not a profoundly introspective person, but was struck with the fairly eye-opening thought of: “What would people say about me if my life were to end tomorrow?”
I think like most of us, I try to be a loving and kind person – even a Golden Rule kind of person you could say. I try to do things that I hope make a positive difference in other’s lives. And yet, I’m only human -- I’ve made my share of mistakes and bad choices; said and done things I wish I could take back.
My profound and thoughtful moment continued as I drove home. We always assume we’ll have enough time -- enough time to get the daily minutiae of living out of the way, so that we can do the “big” stuff, the memorable stuff. And I was reminded of this Robert Brault quote: “Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.”
Today is the day to start making sure you’re living the life you want to live, making a positive impact on those around you. No one knows how much time he or she has left on this earth, and I for one, would like people to be able to celebrate my life as one well-lived. Truly, what more can you ask for?
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