How Do You Want To Be Remembered?

How do you want to be remembered?When we attend someones funeral everyone is reminiscent over the person who died.  We remember their life, if they died young we talk about how unfair it is and if they had a long life we often talk about their accomplishments.  But the one thing we all realize at a funeral is that all we have are memories.  Yes, I have always said that death teaches us much about life.

Ask yourself now, how do you want to be remembered?

I have suffered many of my own personal losses and when writing the obituary following the death of my husband I wrote about his accomplishments and those things I wanted people to remember about him.  But what we all do so infrequently is ask ourselves how do we want to be remembered?  How will I live my life now?  How will I invest the time I have this day and each day before my own death?

 

  • Will I invest more time with my family?
  • What time do I choose to invest in my business or work life?
  • When will I take the next vacation and stop putting it off?

These are some of the questions we should be asking ourselves in life NOW.  There are no do-overs, all we get is now which reminds me of the famous poem by the American Poet Mary Oliver called “The Summer Day”.  The last half of the poem is what moves me the most…

…”I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”

I know you might be reading this and saying to yourself when you get through this then you will invest some time into something, but then the weeks turn into months that turn into years and before you realize it so much of your life has passed you by. People who have regrets at the end of their life wonder why they wasted so much time putting off life until something was different.

You make the choice, what are your priorities?

Don’t let a crisis or death push you into asking the question of how do you want to be remembered, spend some time and ask yourself that question today, think it through, write it down and start living.
What is important to you?
Do you have a set of priorities in life that you own or are your priorities someone else’s.

  • God
  • Self
  • Spouse
  • Children
  • Work

Life takes courage & commitment

So now that you have a priority list, make ONE decision a day and follow through.  Sometimes that means taking a risk – what does that mean?  Maybe it means just stepping out of your comfort zone and taking a stand in your life.  Will you have fear? probably but that’s why we need that shot of courage to step up to our life.

Mary Oliver quoteSo how will you live your one wild and precious life?  By doing so, you will honor the memories of your loved ones that have passed because I believe they are in heaven cheering you on to do just that!!

 

…Share with me in the comments below, how do you truly want to be remembered?

 

This Can’t Be Real – The Shock of Grief

Guest post By Gary Roe

Jeff was a good friend. He sat in front of me in seventh grade English. He was quiet, respectful, and smart. He was easy to be with.

The day after Christmas break, Jeff was absent. He wasn’t there the next day either. The third day, the principle came in, looking somber.

“I’m sorry to tell you this,” she said. “Jeff got very sick with spinal meningitis during Christmas. He didn’t make it.”

I stared at her in shock. I dropped my eyes and gazed at the empty desk in front of me. “He didn’t make it,” echoed over and over in my mind.
The rest of the day was a blur. I kept thinking, “This can’t be real.”
It was real, all right. It just wasn’t real for me yet.

Loss hits us that way. We can’t digest it. It feels surreal, as if life suddenly stopped and abruptly changed direction. It’s like a dream, or a nightmare. We wonder when we’re going to wake up.
For several weeks, I dreaded going to English class. I would ease into my seat, hyper-aware of the empty desk in front of me. I had trouble concentrating. I didn’t know it, but I was still in shock.

Shock is a part of healthy grief, and it can last a while. It can come and go over a period of months, triggered by certain memories or situations.
We feel for our loved one next to us in the bed. We expect to hear them in the kitchen. We find ourselves looking for them, wondering where they are. Their fragrance lingers here and there. Our houses, and our lives, seem unnaturally quiet.
We long to hear their voice. We miss their touch. We hunger to look into their eyes. We miss everything.
Our lives have been altered forever. How could we not be in shock?

What can we do? How do we get out of this daze?

1. Don’t be in a hurry. Your grief, and the shock of it, honors the one you’ve lost. It proclaims how important they are to you. You’re never going to get over them (you’re not supposed to), but you will get through this time.

2. Be nice to yourself and patient with yourself. This time is unlike any other. Things aren’t normal and routine, so don’t expect yourself to be either.

3. Do what’s best for you, and let the world keep spinning. When my father died (I was fifteen), I got very angry that the world dared to go about its business as if nothing had happened. Right now, it’s almost as if someone pushed the pause button on your life. That’s okay. Do what’s best for you, and try not to worry about the circus around you.

So when your loss is triggered by that fragrance, song, or special place, take a deep breath. The shock you feel is real, and normal. Let it come, and let it pass on through. Then ask yourself, “What do I need most right now?”

Gary Sykes pics 076Gary Roe is an author, speaker, and chaplain with Hospice Brazos Valley in central Texas. He has written threes books, two in the grief and loss realm. You can reach Gary at: groe@hospicebrazosvalley.org
Saying Goodbye: Facing the Loss of a Loved One (co-authored with Cecil Murphey)

Surviving the Holidays without You: Navigating Grief During Special Seasons

 

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Remembering Those Who Served-Memorial Day

photoToday I went to visit my Mom’s grave as I have every year for the past 7 years to leave some flowers and tell her how much I miss her.  What always touches me are the flags that are carefully placed at the grave of all Veterans.  I felt both proud and sad that there are so many flags…

But there are so many organizations that are helping our wounded veterans and the families of those who died serving out country.  If you feel so inspired, check out some of these great organizations, who knows maybe you will want to volunteer or support any of these groups. photo 1

Also check out this great article,  9 simple ways you can help veterans   photo 2

 

Things I Never Got To Ask My Mom

Mom & I in 1993- one of my favorite photos

Mom & I in 1993- one of my favorite photos!

My Mom died in 2005 and every Mother’s Day since, I still honor her memory by speaking about her to family through retelling stories.  And I will admit I talk with her often as I believe she hears me and guides me.   Recently I read a post on Facebook that said if you could spend one day with someone from the past who would it be?  For me, if would be spending one more day with my Mom.

My Mom’s memory left her gradually and she was not the same for many years prior to her death.  So if I could spend one day with her now I would want to know…

…How did you get through the hard times in your life?  Things like your parents deaths, your sister dying of breast cancer when she was so young, when Dad got into the work accident when we were small kids. 

…You were so talented at many things, piano, art, writing, did you ever desire to have a career doing any of those things?

…You were so passionate about learning up until the last years of your life. What moved you to become a life long learner? What was it about learning the Greek language that moved you?  Did you ever have a desire to travel to Greece and speak with the locals?

…Did you have regrets? Did you have an unfulfilled life?

…Did you feel loved?

…What advice would you give me now about life, love and the future?

Mom was so amazing and my younger self didn’t appreciate her talents and wisdom. She had grace and beauty and I knew she also had demons that made her sad.  When I am grounded and connected to my spiritual self I know life turned out exactly as it was supposed to be and I pray that Mom hears my prayers for guidance and wisdom for my next best steps in life.  I was blessed to call her Mom.

What would you like to ask your Mom?

Living life without anguish

contemplative woman-I decideGrief is so often a painful experience and for some a journey that never seems to end and they suffer such great sadness long after a loved one has died. Although we all grieve differently and there is no timetable saying our grief should only last a certain period of time, we can also get stuck in grief that paralyzes us from continuing to live our own life.

Recently I heard the spiritual author and teacher Gary Zukav say some thing that I thought was worth sharing because I found him quite thought provoking.

He said “If you think people left earth when they chose you will then begin to see the gifts the soul gave you while on this earth.  You will get to a place where you are grateful for the short time this person whose to be with YOU, otherwise you will live in anguish.”

He also went on to say, “If you look at your loved one as that soul who voluntarily entered the earth and voluntarily chose to leave, you will appreciate the power of the interaction you had with that soul and then you will feel the power of those gifts you received.” 

Can we learn from joy versus suffering?

I think we can find meaning in everything and everything is a choice.  We can choose to to grieve actively and at the same time feel blessed for the time we had with our loved ones who have departed or we can choose to grieve and mourn our loss feeling hopeless that life will go on for us.

We all will experience both love and loss – this is a universal truth.  How we grieve often determines how we will continue to live and how we will seek out joy.

I encourage you to find some joy today – perhaps a walk in park, coffee with an old friend or taking  time to watch children at play.  Joy comes in all forms and sometimes we have to work harder at finding it especially on those days when all we want to do is cry.

Isn’t the greatest honor we could bestow upon the memory of our loved ones is to live life in joy rather than sorrow?  In peaceful contentment rather than anxiety and stress?  Something to think about….

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