Weddings and funerals. Events of obvious contrast but both occasions where we listen to an address about the Bride and Groom or deceased.
I don’t know about you but I love the speeches at weddings. I always learn something about the Newlyweds that I didn’t know but more than that I find myself hoping that someone out there thinks such nice things about me. I can only hope.
Funerals are no different, except the eulogy has the greater task of bringing closure to someone’s life and in that respect it really is the ultimate memorial – the way in which you are being asked to remember that person.
And so it begs the question, how do you want to be remembered? Because what you do today, tomorrow and in ten years’ time is where those memories originate. So it’s probably worth thinking about.
Not in a morbid way, but in one that enables you to evaluate your life now and what you actually want from it so you can ensure that in the craziness of everyday life you don’t lose sight of the things that are important to you.
I sadly found myself at a funeral this afternoon, saying goodbye to a dear family member, someone with such grace and elegance that I know our lives will be all the poorer without her. She lived her life in style and with etiquette. When I invited her to Godivy’s christening, she ignored the email and mobile RSVP and sent me an acceptance by post. That was the kind of lady she was and she was loved for it.
I listened to her memorial stood at the back because there were more people than seats. That in itself says everything, especially when you are 76. And what I heard was a lady who took real pride in her role as a wife and mother: she provided a secure and loving family home for her children; she supported her husband in the family business; she knew the importance of being a fabulous hostess and she brought others together.
These are not small achievements. But they are things that in our busy lives are often overlooked. It can feel like it’s not enough to be ‘just a mother,’ a partner or a friend. But from what I learned today, if you are any of these things to someone it’s not just enough, it’s a privilege.
We prioritise work above catching up with friends, we never quite get around to having our extended family over for that long overdue get together. It’s not our fault, it’s just the way things are now. And it’s why we need to try even harder to connect with one another, not by Facebook or Twitter but with good old face to face catching up, over a good meal and a few glasses of wine.
And so I leave you with this thought. Let’s not measure our successes only in promotions, payrises and material goods but also very simply in love and in the friends and the family that we are blessed with.
Because that’s the stuff that memories are made of and if you have those things, you have everything.