Life Story Writing

Teaching Life Story Writing and Musings On My Life ~

Archive for the tag “life lessons”

WHAT I LEARNED FROM A STRANGER’S FUNERAL

I love going to funerals, said no one ever. But here I was again sitting with that quiet awe, pondering the mystery of life and death, finding it hard to imagine it will happen to me one day.

Everyone should go to a funeral every now and again. It brings us face to face with our mortality and that’s a good thing to think about once in a while. We are so caught up in our day to day business that barely do we take a quiet moment to look back and see how far we have come or look ahead and pick out the way. Nor do we sit back and enjoy the view from where we are.

At a funeral a life is painted in broad brush strokes and fractured detailed images, the stories that are pulled from the hat of life. I sat there only yesterday listening to the life of this man pass before my eyes. I man I never knew, yet knew fairly well by the time I left the chapel doors.

His son spoke first. He began by telling us all the things he hated about his father. Yes, that had our attention as he proceeded to tell of those things, like getting up early or putting up the hay. Then he confessed what he wouldn’t give to be doing those things with his father just one more time. Lesson learned: you know those things that annoy or irritate you that your loved one does? You will miss them and as the memories rise they will even bring a smile to your face.

At a funeral you can’t help but wonder what folks will say at your own funeral. What experiences will my kids draw on to talk about me? How will they remember me? How do I want to be remembered? Am I living my life so that I am leaving that legacy of memories?

Death can steal us away early or late. Am I living with any regrets, any unspoken words? Are there things that I am putting off doing because I am too busy or too tired or too scared? Sometimes there is no right time, you have to make it happen, maybe even be a little daring.

I sat there surrounded by hundreds of loving family, friends and neighbors. They had dressed in there very best, taken time out of their busy lives to sit patiently, lovingly, quietly listening for the more than two hours that it took to send Sherral on his way…home. I wondered who would come to my funeral.

His wife stood with courage. Would she cry? We would be brave for her. She related that her husband had insisted she speak at his funeral and how she had questioned his wisdom. She finally conceded and joked that now she would finally have the last word. The last words were filled with love and respect, admiration and joy for a full life lived with her best friend.

I looked at my husband as we drove home. I felt more forgiving, he seemed more perfect than a few hours earlier and my mind couldn’t help but think that one day we would have to say goodbye, at least for a while until we were reunited beyond this mortal realm. That day could be tomorrow, it could be many years away. The problem is we never know. We live almost carelessly like that day will never come. We live like we are immortal, untouchable, enchanted.

So tomorrow when I wake up I will pray to have a good memory, a memory of the things I learned and the way I felt at the funeral because you see tomorrow could the last day I have to forgive, to love and to live. You just never know.

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Do You Ever Wish For A ‘Do-Over’ In Life?

Less than 48 hours ago my daughter Brittanie and her husband Will became excited new parents to an adorable baby girl, Raylee Eden.  As I looked at pictures of her I thought ‘what a perfect little family and here they are with a brand new start, with all their hopes and dreams intact and great desires to be the best parents they can be.’  Then I thought about my life and how my dreams didn’t quite turn out the way I hoped.  How much I long sometimes for a ‘do-over’ of certain critical times or moments in my life.  But alas, they are not forthcoming.  In reality and in the moments of our lives I believe we do the best we can but in hind sight it may seem we are falling short.

So what does this have to do with writing about our lives?  Well first, writing is healing.  Sometimes you just have to take these thoughts and emotions and get them out, put them on paper.  Whether you share them with anyone else or not is up to do.  It may be enough just to write and burn.  Sometimes writing is a way to figure things out.  What happened?  Why?  How do I feel about that?  What did I learn from this?  Is there a silver lining?

Writing can give us a second chance to revisit an experience, to see it in different light, from another’s perspective or from the perspective of distance in the intervening years.  We can re-witness for better or worse what happened.  Writing the story, scene or experience may let us add more details and information than was available to others at the time.  Maybe we need to vindicate ourselves or maybe we need to confess.

I would like to think that ‘do-overs’ are at least in a small way possible as we review our lives, savor the good, learn from the bad, tear down walls that need to come down and repair and build bridges with the people that really matter.  And sometimes there are words we want to say to fix things but people are not ready to listen, to hear.  At least in the writing the words can be expressed and then one day, maybe just one day, they will be ‘heard’.

Stop The Busy-ness And Sit And Write!

So as the New Year is on the horizon and our thoughts turn to goals, why not make it the year you put pen to paper to capture your thoughts, stories, life lessons and memories?  Have you lost a loved one and wished they had taken the time to write their life into meaning, to leave something tangible with their unique imprint on life?  This next year ‘Stop the busy-ness and sit and write!’  ~ Follow me here for more tips on how to do this^_^

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