Today would be my Mother’s birthday. I’ve had to stop lately and calculate the time and realize that in February she will be gone four years. As with time in general, I’m uncertain of where this time has gone. Life moves so quickly. This post is in someway dedicated to my Mom but also for each of us.
I hate that I feel life is moving so quickly. I hate that I watch clients, friends and family put things off. I often hear the statement “Let’s do dinner or meet for coffee.” or the generic “Let’s get together.” or “Someday I’m going to do that.” and then it doesn’t happen.
Recently a friend was attempting to find time to fit me in her schedule before she left the state for awhile. She shared that she had two visitations and funerals to attend and wasn’t sure she would have time. Sadly, we never found the time before she had to leave. I know my friend loves me. I know she loved the individuals and families of the funerals she attended. Nonetheless, my friend and I haven’t seen each other in four months and it will likely be another four before we can. The funerals were important but what about the living?
Don’t wait until the funeral to acknowledge how grateful you are for someone being in your life. If you don’t have the time to spend a few hours, then call or text and let them know you are at least thinking of them. Small gestures leave big impressions. It is when we become so caught up in the business of life that we forget those who have been significant.
Over the years as a grief counselor, I’ve worked with many patients who only at the end of their life felt they could finally do what they have always wanted to do. It is easy to put off our hopes, dreams and desires. The vacation is expensive. There isn’t time to start a new business or go after that dream. Everything seems risky.
After a death, I have worked with many grievers who have changed their lives. Jobs have been left, children adopted, moves made and all because one realized they didn’t want to wait.
Most individuals have been taught to live life in a safe manner.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with living a life of this manner. The problem arises if we are unhappy. The problems arises if we are too busy to spend time with friends and family or doing things we truly want to do.
Unfortunately, I’ve been to many funerals in my life. I’ve observed lives well lived and lives not lived at all.
During my Mother’s visitation, I had many of her friends make comments that they didn’t know about her illness (it was a short illness) and they had always talked about getting together. I understand their need to attend the visitation and funeral. It was support for the family but also closure for their own grief.
The reality is that each of us will have a funeral. We will attend the funeral of someone we love and someday there will be a funeral of our own.
Before the funeral
- Take the risk – change jobs, turn your passion into something more, move someplace you have always wanted to live, travel to another country. Stop waiting!!!
- Change your unhealthy habits. Not only will this hopefully prevent the funeral from occurring sooner than one wants but it will make you feel better. A healthier body allows one to live and take the risks.
- Ask yourself what you want others to remember about you. Are you living a life that is congruent with that?
- Tell others that you love them. Tell them often. Show them in your actions. Words are wonderful but your actions truly do speak louder. There is someone in your life who would love a phone call, a card or a visit.
- Stop worrying about things that will not matter in 1 year, 5 years or 10 years. A significant amount of time is spent on issues that mean nothing in years to come.
- Forgive yourself and others. Life is too short to hold onto pain.
Acknowledge that mistakes mean you are living. One will stay at a job too long, develop unhealthy habits, at times display traits we are not proud of and become disconnected from those that matter.
Learn from your mistakes before the funeral. Realize that as long as you are living, there is the opportunity to change.
I encourage you to take some time today to consider if there is something you need to do. Is there something you need to say before your loved one’s funeral. Is there something you need to do before your own?
Life is short my friends. Stop existing and start living!