We Forget…

September 1st, 2010

Today I was involved in a funeral. I didn’t know the man. But, as I stood there, I noticed a couple of poster boards with pictures all over them. Pictures of the man, his family, and things that he loved. I am from the midwest, so of course, there were tractors. There were laughing people, smiles… But one picture wouldn’t stop tugging at my heart.

It was a picture of the man with a small girl on his back. I assume the small girl was his daughter. I’m not sure why it kept catching my eye. Probably because through all the funerals I have helped with, it hasn’t ever really hit me the way it did today.

We catch ourselves saying, “C’mon GRANDMA!” on the streets when caught behind an old woman doing 5 mph under the speed limit… We say that old people must be bored, sitting in their wheelchairs in their small rooms in the nursing homes. We aren’t interested in much they have to say, and give short answers when they ask us how school, work, etc. is going. The old people have always been old, and they keep dying.

We forget…

They were young once, too. They had school, jobs, a first love, hopes and dreams. They were us. We will be them. No matter how much we deny it. No matter how much plastic surgery we get. No matter how hard we try to preserve our youth, we cannot. We will be old. Our bodies will fail. We are going to die.

This picture got me thinking about how quickly my own life is flying by. About whether or not that man thought about how fast his life had passed, what his hopes and dreams were. In this picture he looked so young. He looked happy. Full of life! But there he was, what I am guessing is 60 years later, in a casket. 60 years. It really isn’t that long.

We live our lives, dwelling on things that we cannot change, creating and inflating drama, worrying about things that we not only have no control over… they won’t matter in one year, let alone by the time we die. We create our own hurt, by doing these things. Like I have said in many past articles, I am not immune to this, and I strive to be better. But we spend so much time determined to be mad, sad, and hurt. When in no time at all, we will be lying in our own caskets.

We forget that we don’t have much time on earth. We forget that negativity and drama are not worth it. In no time at all, our lives will be over and nothing we did on earth will matter. Nothing at all. I am a true believer that a person’s true character and how they lived their life can be seen by the number of people at his or her funeral. The people at the funeral today didn’t get any recognition from the dead person for attending his funeral. Only the people who truly cared about him attended his funeral. I have more to say about that, but I will write that another day.

There’s a quote I read the other day. “At least three times every day take a moment and ask yourself what is really important. Have the wisdom and courage to build your life around your answers.” (Lee Jampolsky) Is the worry, drama and fighting worth it? Your answer should never be yes. I bet that if you knew it was your last day on earth, you wouldn’t worry about anything, and you wouldn’t fight with anyone. You would spend your time with people who appreciate you, the people who lift you up and support you. As cliche as it sounds, LIVE EVERY DAY AS IF IT IS YOUR LAST. See how that changes your life.

So, as I watched the funeral director close the casket today, I thought to myself, “60 years ago he was full of life, and today he will be put in the ground.” Sounds a little morbid? Not at all. I am not discounting the lives he touched while he was alive. It is just a cut and dry fact. He was here, now he is gone.

We forget. One day, we will be in his place.


One Response to “We Forget…”

  1. Dave P. on September 7, 2010 3:47 pm

    Jae, I am constantly impressed by what you write about. While this isn’t something we like to think about, you did a great job of reminding all of us to make the most of every day of our lives. Thank you!

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