As I listened to Debbie’s daughters describe what she was like, I started to wonder exactly what my daughters and friends would say about me after I died?
It’s an interesting thought isn’t it. We all want our lives to have meaning, to bring meaning into the lives of others and to leave a legacy that will carry on long after we have gone.
Debbie, who was fondly known as “The Boss.” had played such an important role in planning her memorial service - picking the verses from the bible, the music to be played - that you felt she was in the room, watching over us.
I was listening to a podcast on CBC this week about a man who decided to have a living wake. He was terminally ill and had chosen to have an assisted suicide, so he knew when he was going to die. However, rather than the funeral after he was gone, he wanted to host this last party and be there for it.
It was touching listening to the tributes, and I found myself laughing when one friend lamented that the host kept pissing him off, to which he replied it was one of his great talents. The friend then went on to explain that first he’d retired two years earlier than him, and now he was checking out earlier too. It was all said with great love and respect.
All of which leads me to thinking that we need to say more to the people we love now while they are alive and able to hear us, and not wait for the eulogy to emotionally share with others about how we felt about the person who has just died.
When I was diagnosed with cancer for the second time, I announced my news at a Company of Women meeting. I did so because I wanted the women to go for the mammogram and not put it off, and also because as I said at the time, it was not convenient to “check out” right then, as I was busy and had too much to do. I was touched by the outpouring of love I received.
But that’s my point. We shouldn’t have to wait until someone is dying or gets a cancer diagnosis to share how we feel about that person. How much happier we would all be if we spoke up now, not when it’s too late for your loved one to hear, about how we feel about them.
Granted we all show our love differently, as I learned when I read the Five Languages of Love. For some it’s being of service, kind gestures or thoughtful gifts, for others it is more physical, but I can’t help but think that using our words, actually saying out loud how we feel means that the message is received and understood.
Love. It is one four-lettered word that is under-used. Time to change that.