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Monday, December 13, 2010

Funeral for a Friend

Today I attended a funeral for a man in my neighborhood. We went to church together and worked on several activities. I didn't know Bill very well, but I thought highly of him. He didn't tell many people that he was sick, nor did he ask for any attention once people knew about his quickly deteriorating condition. He thought more about others than he did about himself.

At his funeral several people spoke about all the kindness and service Bill was always doing while he was alive.  They spoke of his skills as a chef and gardener, how he loved to bring by little gifts and leave them without any recognition or fanfare. One neighbor recounted how he left a brand new barbecue grill on his front porch — as a gift. The widows and single women in his building knew he was their watchdog. Bill made them feel safe.

He didn't solve any major world problems, didn't leave behind a family, didn't know a lot of people either. He was quiet, simple, and humble. But, Bill left a lot of positive impression on those who knew him.

I thought about what was said about Bill at his funeral and started to think about what will be said at mine. In the book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey the second habit states, "Begin with the end in mind." Covey encourages you to write down what you want people to say about you at your own funeral. He then goes on to point out that you should live your life in such a way as to be worthy to have those things said of you. I wrote things I wanted said at that point, several years ago, but attending this funeral today has me re-assessing what I would want said about me.

Here are a just a few:

From my kids:
  • She built us up, believed in us and made us a priority. We knew we were important to her.
  • She was loving, caring, fun and affectionate.
  • She was a great example of how to treat others.
From my spouse:
  • She was a great listener.
  • She loved me and showed that love frequently.
  • She was fun to be with and made us all laugh.
  • She kept us all together and focused on being close knit.
From my friends:
  • She had strong moral values, but never made you feel like she thought she was better than you.
  • She loved her family very much.
  • She had a positive attitude that was contagious. 
  • She was a problem-solver and helped me solve many of my own problems.

If you could write your own eulogy, what would it say? What would your family and friends say about you?


  1. I love funerals. It sounds bad, but hear me out. You get to hear about the best of people and isn't that a great way to close out someones life. It also reminds us that people are good.

    I also love that it gives us a chance for major reflection. We can examine our lives, and as you said, wonder what people would say about us at our funeral. They make me want to be a better person.

  2. Thanks Pam for making me think today and wanting to become better!

  3. Michelle, I totally get it. Funerals are great reminders of how much good there is in life...and what's truly important in life.

  4. Anna and Rose Team — you're welcome. Thanks for commenting!


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