What will be said at your memorial?
“In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Is a quote attributed to Benjamin Franklin
We will all be faced with death at some point. Some people fear it, some embrace it. There are many beliefs on what happens to us after death, but we need to put our focus on living instead.
I have unfortunately been faced with two sudden and untimely deaths in the last month. While spending time with my family and sitting through the funeral and memorial for one of my beloved uncles, I started to wonder, “What would people say about me at my memorial?”
At my uncle’s service the same character traits were mentioned time and time again. He was a
loving and giving man. He devoted his life to caring for family. He took care of his aging parents and raised several great-nieces and nephews. Nothing was mentioned of how successful he was at his job, how much money he made, or what kind of car he drove. Things we put so much importance on, but truly in the scheme of things, don’t mean much at all.
My memories of my uncle involved the time he spent with me and my other cousins. He was only 13 years older than me so when I was young he was in his late teens early 20’s. When we came to visit he spent time with us. He took us horseback riding, participated in Easter egg hunts, even took us out when he had errands to run, we had fun, even if it was just a drive to the dump. We didn’t sit around and watch TV, we all spent time together, we ate together, we laughed together. As I look at our current teens and 20 something year olds, time is spent staring at screens. There is no conversation, no being out in nature, very little family time that doesn’t involve a screen of some sort.
Both of these men that were taken from this world too soon put their loved ones first. This is the memory left for the family. Time and laughter are free.
We live in a world that puts “things” above people. We work long hours, we have other people raising our children, and we don’t eat meals together. Our children have a long list of afterschool activities and are used to eating many of their meals in the car. We are all running on adrenaline, exhausted, and stressed. Is this really living? What are we modeling for our children? What is the cost to our health?
It is ok to work hard and be successful, but don’t let it consume you. Be there for your friends and family when they need you. Don’t make your partner or children feel they are second to your career. Make those memories now. We don’t know how much time we have with the ones we love, don’t take time for granted. Leave your friends and loved ones with wonderful things to say about you when you are gone. My wish for you is that it is later rather than sooner.