I wanted to understand why going to funerals creates so many different emotions. A long term family friend passed away recently at 77, and at the same time, we got the really sad news that my brother-in-law had succumbed to cancer, aged 53. This one really hit home, from the time the news was delivered that he had cancer to his passing was only a few weeks.
The phrase “oh, they had a good innings” really doesn’t cut it. Even at 77, Ingo had a lot to give, he touched so many lives. The service was succinct, well attended and beautiful. As I sat there thinking about what the family were going through I realised that there will be a fair few more of these events to attend as I head towards the 2nd half of my life.
I know nobody wants to talk about death, the idea that our mortal shift will be over is a daunting fact. All those things that we wanted to do but didn’t make it yet. The idea of leaving my wife, or my beautiful children tends to mess with my mind.
When I first got the news that my brother-in-law Neil was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer, I was shocked. We had a video call with my sister and they talked about how they would fight regardless of what the Dr’s were going to say (at that point it was still unknown). A few days later he was admitted to hospital, a few days after that I got the phone call that he was gone. That is just crazy. So many memories still to make. My heart breaks for my sister, a few months short of celebrating their 10th wedding anniversary and now she has to go through this.
31 years ago, I made the decision to move to Australia, leaving my family in the UK. It’s times like these that become the hardest to deal with that choice. When family are in need, when family are hurting. I considered jumping on a plane and visiting, but what was I going to achieve? Instead being on a different time zone turned out to be a small blessing. For the last couple of weeks, when she wakes in the middle of the night, it’s afternoon here, and I’m available for her, to just sit and listen, to cry when she cries, and to provide some words of wisdom when I can.
The emotional roller-coaster I’ve been on cannot begin to compare with what the families of these lost loved ones are going through, but it does raise questions. Do I have all my ducks in a row to provide for my family if something was to happen to me? How would my wife cope? would she be as strong as my sister has been? what do I need to do in order to protect them in the future? BUT wait, I don’t want to consider my mortality, I want to see my grandchildren as adults and play with their children. Man, it’s so confusing in my mind and my heart right now.
As I looked around the church recently, I wondered how many people sitting there were contemplating their futures. To be frank, none of us are getting out of here alive.
I also started thinking about who would be at my funeral? In one respect a large turnout could mean I’ve had an impact on a lot of people, yet, I’d rather continue that vain, impact more, not worry about whose going to be there when I’m gone, instead impact more people whilst I’m still here.
Why did I decide to pen this? Well, I’m hoping it helps me deal with the tumultuous thoughts that have been running through my head, I’m hoping that it will focus me to remember what’s really important in life, and to reassess what I’m actually doing with my time. It also made write a few posts in groups I’m involved in, the crux of which I’ll leave you with…
- This is not a dress rehearsal, we’re not getting a second bite of the cherry
- Life is too short to hold grudges
- Do the thing you wanted to do
- (What would you do if you weren’t afraid?)
- Seriously, love, live laugh.
- Be the legacy you want to leave behind. Don’t put anything off, even if you think it’s going to be uncomfortable.
- Hug your loved ones and tell them you love them.
- Make memories.
Go forth with love 💕