• I just got back from a funeral of a distant uncle (through marriage), who passed away in his early 60’s.  As depressing as it may sound, it was an untimely death resulting from a DUI car accident.  I was never that close to him since he lived the life of a bachelor, after his divorce from my aunt, and seemed to enjoy his privacy.

    Some of the children clearly had less censorship in what they said in contrast to their adult counterparts

    There were only about 40 of us who attended the funeral but it ran quite long, lasting over two hours.  It seemed like everyone had something to say. Including his five grandchildren, who ranged in age from seven to fifteen.  As I sat in the back and listened to the eulogy, I started going through the usual reflections people have when they go to such an event like; Putting life in perspective and prioritizing what’s really important.  Though in my experience people generally tend to speak positively about the deceased, especially at a eulogy, it was apparent that not all of the guests got that memo.   Some of the children clearly had less censorship in what they said in contrast to their adult counterparts.  One of the younger ones, who was about eight, had to be ushered off stage when he suddenly switched from talking about positive memories to talking about more negative aspects about his grandfather — how he was too busy to spend time with him; and often seemed to forget about some special milestones in his life (birthdays, graduations, etc.).  The sweet boy was crying throughout his little speech but boy did he sound angry.

    It shifted my thinking and made me wonder about my own eulogy and what kind of legacy I would leave behind.  I recalled doing some exercise back in college where we were tasked with writing our own eulogy, but that’s as much as I could remember.  So, I decided to do the exercise again when I got home that day.  As I wrote for about twenty minutes I was surprised to see that there was an equal number of positive and negative points. I usually see myself in a positive light, and am pretty aware of most of my strengths.

    However, this exercise opened my eyes and helped me realize that there was plenty of room for me to improve.  I recommend that you give it a try as it was helpful for me to see some of my shortcomings in writing.  At the same time, I was appreciative to still be alive to do something about it.  I walked away that evening humbled and with a tangible list of 4-5 things that I wanted to improve.  I might not be able to change them overnight but at least I can start heading in the right direction!