Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I attended a funeral with my dad yesterday. It was for a friend of the family who had long been battling Parkinson's Disease. On the ride home I listened as my dad talked about his own funeral plans and shared his thoughts on the rituals of death in general. It got me thinking...

First, the eulogy at the funeral we attended was wonderful, just the right amount of humour, mixed with thought-filled remembrances that would mean something to everyone in attendance. I was thinking that it is too bad that we wait until a person has passed on to list their attributes, accomplishments and value to us. Wouldn't it be wonderful if, say, on your 30th, 60th, 75th birthdays if your family and friends could put an announcement in the paper just to say -- "hey I love this person, and this is why she is great and I'm glad she's in my life."

Secondly -- I spent some time reading obituaries this week and noticed that some are very long and detailed, and some are short, one or two paragraphs. The nosy-parker in me wanted more information on the short-obit folks. While the long versions usually give family connections they also reveal community involvements, awards, professional information and accomplishments. I think that the short-obits are that way because there aren't accolades for a life well-lived. Good people who just choose to do the right thing and take care of others don't necessarily win awards or receive certificates. Wouldn't it be wonderful to make a point of thanking those around us who do good for good's sake; who are good neighbours and friends that we know we can count on. I don't do it enough; rarely, if I'm honest. Busy lives mean taking small measures for granted. My friend's passing has reminded me that it's time to stop, look around, notice and give thanks.

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