Speaking of funerals, today, two friends are waking relatives, one her godfather and the other his father. As I listened to the conversations the last few days, I heard all about these men and their lives. One had loved the outdoors, fishing, and anything that would have him enjoying nature. He had married but him and his wife never had any children. This godchild, was like a child to them. I heard how he and his wife had met and so much more. The other gentleman, I was told had been ill for quite some time now, had 3 children, was a chef, and enjoyed being with his family.
Yesterday when I spoke of the value of funerals, this is what I was referring to. Those who may know the children, understand where their values came from. We also understand certain hobbies and traits. Even if we never had the chance to meet these people, we feel like we know them some how. But most importantly, we can share in their sorrow, express our sympathies, and let them know they are not alone. I may not know either of these gentlemen, but I do know someone who was special to them, who mattered in their life.
We all want to be remembered some how, we want to leave a legacy of some kind. As I have shared earlier, in my Thanatology class I have to plan my entire funeral. This may sound creepy and macabre to some, but it honestly does not bother me. I not only have to worry about my health care, but I have to prepare a will, decide what I want, who should be involved, etc. One of the most important components is my life story, how I want to be remembered. I have a stack of photos that my Mom found for me which I have to put into a DVD. I have to write out what I want people to know, what I loved, was involved in, what truly mattered to me, a history of me.
Since I have begun posting in this blog, I have come to know so many stories, so many trials, and learned so much about human nature and the strengths we all possesses. I look back at my own life and realize that I am stronger, more compassionate, and have more empathy for others. I have had my losses, struggled through upheavals, but yet I really believe all this has only added to the person I am, who I am becoming.
If you look at your own lives, you will see that you have overcome so many obstacles, have survived and are now are a stronger, richer person for it. I truly believe that, even if we don't think so, we could all write a book. Some a little meatier perhaps than others, but all the same, we all have a story to tell. We all have parents, families, went to school, worked, traveled (even if only to the next state or province). Some have married, some remained single, others have children and grandchildren, others chose a religious vocation. I would challenge you all to write your history, you may be amazed at what you have truly accomplished.
If you have ever had to prepare a resume, you are sometimes in awe of what you have done, the jobs you have held, and where you have worked. The key is to truly delve into who you are, what is important to you, who has been instrumental in your life, and anything and everything that has made you who you are. Once you have completed this, share it with someone, ask a loved one if they would add anything to what you have written. This is your legacy, this is who you are. Have fun with it.
When I think back to Rachel's funeral, my family and I were able to fill three collages of her life. In addition to what we had prepared, her friends also had two of their own. It helped us all to see that she had actually accomplished so much in her short time. She had done more in almost 24 years, that some people never get a chance to do in a life time. She had traveled, she had experienced life, sometimes good and sometimes bad, but every time she learned and moved forward. She was secure in who she was, she knew she was loved and this was evident in all the photos, both ours and her friends. She had tried new things, some of which had her father and I shaking our heads, but that was Rachel, always the adventurer.
The most beautiful part is that Rachel actually left a legacy. She was someone who loved completely, who made everyone feel special, and who saw everyone as equal. She taught us acceptance, fortitude, and dogged determination to make a bad situation better. She always had a smile on her face no matter what was going on beneath the surface. She would drive us crazy once in a while, but I would not trade a moment of it for anything. She always found a way to get herself back on her feet, and turn anything into a positive experience. Trust me she was no saint, but she would give you the shirt off her back. She was my daughter, she was a sister, she was so many things to so many people. She still is for many.
If you are struggling with the death of a loved one, look to their life for your healing. Find what made them important to you, what they meant in your life, what you loved the most about them. You will find yourself smiling once in a while, shedding a tear or two, but you will begin to find that you can move forward. That they left you so much, they left you a legacy. They left you with LOVE.
Love is everlasting, death cannot steal it away, it is etched into our hearts. Let this love live on, remember we love them in life, and we definitely love them in death.
Blessings! and until we meet again.