Funerals are funny things. Well, not in the ‘ha ha’ sense of funny, but funny in the odd type of way. Let me try to explain.
Hubby and I were on the way to a funeral this week, and as we travelled we reflected on the reason for being. What’s important in life?? What does it all mean? We all struggle to do our best on this crazy ride we call life. At the end of the road, it’s not the stuff we’ve gathered around us, it’s the relationships that we’ve made along the way.
I’m pretty sure you can walk in on any typical funeral these days and come across the oddest collection of people. Mixed in amongst the family, you can sometimes find the second grade teacher who thought the deceased was a very sweet child. The cub scout leader who used to take them on scout camping trips. First kisses and one who had their heart broke by them years ago, school age chums, ex spouses, past co workers, someone who used to play pool with them twenty years ago. A very unique and diversified collection of people who felt like they connected with the dearly departed at some point in their life.
I can speak for my own self when I say, that if anything happened to one of my exes, I would be there to pay my respects. Not to take away from any current relationships, but to pay homage and respect to the time we had together and to say goodbye. I was previously married to a man, who I loved at the time. We spent years together and had many good times in those years. Between the two of us, we created a wonderful human being…..his life connects us still, even though we have been divorced for 15 years and we now both have new, happy marriages with other people. If something happened to one of us, would it be improper to show sadness for the loss? I’d like to put my ex husbands new wife on alert, that if anything ever were to happen to her love, I would still like the opportunity to pay my final respects to him, for what once was.
I attended a funeral a couple of months ago, where the departed had two separate families, the old and the new. Let me tell ya, the fireworks were nasty. It was without a doubt, the hardest situation that I was ever put in as a family member or a person attending a wake. I’d even go so far to say, probably the most awkward situation I’ve ever faced in my whole life. Who’s to say somebody has the right to visit or not? Who’s to say that they didn’t love that two year old dancer? Who’s to say you’re not permitted to say goodbye to your first kiss? Who can say that you don’t have the right to pay respects? It should never be a contest of who knew them better, or more lately. It should never be about fighting or feuding or fuss. It should be about gathering together to celebrate the life of someone special.
Each one of the people present have a story to tell and a loss to feel. Whether it was from 50 years ago, or ten or five. None of them are any less valid. I remember when my own mom passed away, I met people who had gone to grade school with her. They hadn’t seen her in such a long time….but they all felt a connection. They all were a part of the experiences of my mom’s life.
Today, I had the honour of attending the funeral of my first cousin. MY generation. One of ‘US’. For all the funerals that I have attended, this one had a different feel for me. It was losing one of my own in a different way. She was the older, cool cousin who I was happy to tag along with, when allowed. She spent weeks with Mom and I in the summers when she was a teenager and I was a little mite. The three of us hung out while the boys were out doing their thing. She still came to spend time with us even up to when she had her own girls (only babies really), whenever her busy life could permit. I stood as bridesmaid at her wedding and cried as she married her man. Like all family, as we grew older, Debbie and I went our own way. We lived our own lives but we always kept aware of what was happening in each others lives.
I’ll never forget telling her about the loss of my Mom, or us crying our hearts out over the loss of her own parents. Even though our lives had gone in different directions, we could in the drop of a hat, connect and become one without a thought. We could find pure comfort in a quick hug at the mall, or a by chance meeting at the grocery store. We were family.
Debbie, would easily give you the shirt off her back without even asking a question. Her infectious laugh was the same when she was 15, as it was when she was 55…and that laugh itself was as large as life. I could hear her laughter across a crowded room and know it was her and smile. She was a lady who put her family first..no matter what. She was full of love and kindness and spirit. Her smile was pure and her heart was as big as all the great outdoors
We all have our own special and unique way to make our mark in life. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what we have, all the worldly possessions will not leave a decent legacy behind. To me, its all about the way we touch others and leave a lasting impression on them….Its about being kind and caring for those who cross your path. It’s about leaving a legacy of love, decency and respect. This is the legacy Debbie left behind.
Rest easy Debbie, til I hear your laugh again on the other side. XOXO
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What legacy would YOU like to leave behind?