Sitting through the funeral of one of my childhood friends yesterday was nothing short of torture; one of the toughest hours of my life.
It’s not just about losing a friend.
Of course that part is horrendous.
But when it’s a friend who is your age, with friends who are your friends, and children who are your children’s age, you cannot help but put
yourself up there on that pier.
Or worse, imagine your own loving children(not all of your children will end up loving you,but as a parent,you are obliged to love them all) up there in the front row of chapel pews.
God how I dreaded entering that funeral home and witness my dear friend lying in state.
I stopped a block away, caught my breath, looked up at the glorious blue sky and wondered if I could do it.
I willed myself to walk up those stairs, to turn the corner into the chapel, to plant myself
in the austere pews in the comfort of old friends, forced to face forward and hear words I didn’t want to hear about my departed friend.
And yet, I’m so very glad I did.
I had forgotten how these kinds of ceremonies often provide comfort.
How there were so many points of wisdom in the thoughtful eulogies that help offer enlightenment and closure.
One of the most striking moments of the ceremony was when her own father described how anxious he was when Julie’s job took her to dangerous parts of South and Central America, forcing her to travel accompanied by bodyguards.
“You realize as a parent,” he said with remarkable strength and clarity, “that we often fear the wrong things about our children.”
It was lovely hearing person after person describe Julie’s optimism and kindness of spirit, her grace under the most heinous of circumstances for 21 months, her unwavering
devotion to the relationships in her life, and her ability to effortlessly do it all.
It was unanimous: she was amazing.
And she was loved.
However those of her childhood friends in attendance–and there were easily 40 or more of us–were all feeling the same thing.
If you could have woven through the pews with a magic siphon and collected our thoughts, you would have seen us all grappling with our own mortality.
You just can’t help it in this situation–you put yourself in that coffin.
You think, what if it were me?
Or, what if it were my partner?
And then you ask yourself, how do I want to be remembered?
Later at lunch, with ten amazing friends (thank God for amazing friends who can laugh with you as easily as they cry with you and don’t make too much fun of you for ordering a
tequila shot with your wine), Sara brought up first what I know we were all thinking.
“You know, when they were describing how she always took care of her kids with a smile, entertained, volunteered, held down a high-powered job and made it all look
effortless…that wouldn’t be me.”
We all laughed.
None of us would be known for our effortless ability to do it all.
“They would say, ‘she was really good at calling the nanny on a Friday night,’” one friend quipped,”so that she can go partying”.
“They would say, ‘she always had dishes in the sink but at least she was fun,’” I added.
And we all laughed, as we assembled our imperfect obituaries.
I spent the rest of the night trying to answer the question in my own head.
Wondering what people might say of me when
And whether I’d be okay with it.
Have you ever thought about it?
How would you like to be remembered?
As children, we were all fascinated by our own treasure hunts.
We sought the gold at the end of the rainbow.
We dreamed of sailing all the world’s seas looking for Treasure Island.
We pretended to navigate ancient lands looking for the spot marked “X”.
Growing up in my foster family, my treasures were little feel-good events that made me smile.
I longed for play time so I could climb trees and catch spiders.
I looked for friends who could play with me all night long.
I loved visiting our local bookshops to scour the shelves for books I’d enjoy.
As I grew older, I stopped seeking treasures.
A life of routine and common dreams had descended on me.
It was no longer seeking Treasure Island or the spot marked “X” but rather the acceptable haves of my generation.
In my country it was known as the 5 Cs—cash, credit card, car, condominium, and country club membership.
When I started looking deeper, I asked, “Is that really all there is?”
Was life all about acquiring things?
It just didn’t feel meaningful.
I began to look for the real treasures in life, and started thinking about the kind of legacy I wanted to leave behind.
4 Treasures to Leave Behind
I have discovered that the real treasures in life have nothing to do with status and everything to do with leading fulfilling lives and sharing them with people.
We can’t take anything with us, but we can leave these behind for our loved ones, both to remember us and to help and inspire them.
I’d like to be remembered for;
1. The books i read
The books we read shape our lives.
They equip us with the wisdom and skills we need, and inspire dreams that set us
on journeys of meaning and fulfilment.
We have the opportunity to leave behind books that enrich the mind and soul, teach others how to lead better lives, and inspire greatness from within.
One day, when our children and their children grow up,they will browse our library and learn what shaped us into the people we were.
Mark Twain wrote, “The man who doesn’t read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them.”
Gain that advantage for yourself, and leave it behind for generations to come.
2. The pictures and videos i took
Pictures and videos evoke memories that lead us back into the recesses of joy, laughter, and even sadness.
They remind us of years past when we were once young and vibrant.
In our modern age where physical photographs are becoming obsolete, pictures have not lost their value and importance.
When we browse our photo archives on our
iPads or notebooks, we are still filled with a sense of nostalgia.
Pictures and videos are treasures that bring history to the forefront.
Take the time to immortalise the little things that
make you happy, as well as your milestones and adventures.
They’ll fill you with joy when you revisit them, and they’ll leave your children trails of their roots.
3. The journals i maintained
As you pass the various ages of your life did you bother to record your thoughts and dreams?
Did you write down your best ideas to revisit at a later time?
Did you create a blog to write down all your thoughts?
Did you carry a notebook to jot down thoughts that meant something to you?
Who are we but passengers in a life of experiences?
But our experiences are invaluable because they are unique to each of us—and they provide wisdom for those who read our stories.
Start your own journals.
It can be a simple notebook or even a blog.
At every moment that is priceless to you,
record what you’ve experienced.
It will both help you find lessons and meaning in your life, and create a treasured archive for your loved ones after you are gone.
4. The legacy I created
Finally, what lessons did we teach through the lives we led?
What philosophies of living did we engrave in the hearts of people who know us?
What mission and values did we uphold in life?
What can our children learn from us?
Did we teach them well?
Did we teach them about life?
The legacy we create has lasting impact long after we are gone.
Amputee athlete and activist Terry Fox died at just 21, after attempting to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research.
Thirty years after his death, The Terry Fox Run is still conducted around the world annually, in remembrance of his hope and vision.
That run will endure and continue to inspire, in much the same way he did.
We may not all leave legacies of this magnitude, but we all have the ability to touch people’s lives in a way that will live on when we’re gone.
Think about the legacy you want to leave behind—how you can share a message of
goodness, hope, and inspiration.
The Treasure We Can Enjoy Right Now
If we go through life seeking only gold and silver, we miss the point.
Life is about the experiences we have—and what we learn and teach as a result.
The true measure of success is about treasures of the heart.
Start building them today and you’ll have them to share tomorrow.
Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®
Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®