Ask the Readers: What Would People Say When You’re Gone?
I attended my second funeral in as many months today. Just over a week before, I had watched my next door neighbour (who I thought of as my gran) slip away as I stood by her hospital bed. I was amazed that while her death was inevitable in the next few hours, she was still able to speak and interact with those who visited her. At the time, I was tempted to ask her what message she would give to me from all her life experience but I decided it wasn’t appropriate. The funeral today was nothing like the one I attended for my real grandmother two months ago. This one was filled with both sadness and love.
Two Funerals I didn’t know my real grandmother very well. She was the only grandparent I ever met, but she greatly distanced herself from the family and only seemed to care about one of her four children. I don’t want to disrespect her in any way (or upset any family members who might ever read this) but in my honest opinion, she was far from a gran to me. At her funeral, the son who she had left everything to and disregarded the rest of her family for didn’t even turn up. When it was time to discuss her life, the only thing anybody was able to say was that she “enjoyed dancing.” In 70+ years of her life, nobody had anything else to share. Today was completely different. My ‘gran’ filled the room with those who wanted to pay their respects and remember her in company. The thing that was so different though wasn’t the people or even the clear love that they had for her, but what was said about her life. Compared to the speech that lasted 20 seconds about my real gran, this one lasted more like 20 minutes. I learned more about her than I had ever known, and while the history of her life lasted a long time, not one person rambled on or spoke slowly. They just simply had so many good things to say about her. Things that I could attest to in the 20 years that I’ve known her.
What Would They Say About You? While I was sitting there and listening to the words people had to share, I got to thinking about what people would say about me? And if they didn’t have anything nice to say, would it even matter? After all…I would be dead. I will share what I think people would say about me in the comments, but I’ll quickly state that on a core, deep level, it doesn’t matter what anyone says about you once you’re gone. If my view of reality is even slightly correct, we won’t know about it, so why should we care? On the other hand, I know that when I do die, I would like to know the people who came to say goodbye were there because they loved me and were honoured to know me. Not just for the sake of going. So, over to you: what would people say when you’re gone? In a way, this is a question to help you gain perspective (some other good ones can be found here) because I’m not asking what you would like people to say, I’m asking what you think they would say. If you don’t like the answer, it’s not too late to change it by changing the way you live.