When asked: “What’s the biggest mistake we make in life?” The Buddha replied, “The biggest mistake is you think you have time….”
In my farewell words at the end of a funeral service, I very often include a plea to the family and friends present: “Make the most of your life while you can. Don’t keep putting things off which are important.”
I have met bereaved families whose loved ones have died completely unexpectedly. When folk have reached a ripe old age, it somehow feels more acceptable than it does for those who die young but of course, the feelings of despair, loss, and pain are the same for the people left behind.
I always think, “how lucky for them”, when I hear of those who having achieved a great age, die peacefully in their sleep rather than suffering terribly from a dreadfully long and agonising illness. But the emotional and practical consequences to the traumatised loved ones left behind can be absolutely horrendous.
I have arranged many services with devastated family members who just don’t know which way to turn, it has been such a total shock to them. So I believe it’s vital, if at all possible, to patch up differences and find a way to get along, even if it’s just at family events. One day you will look around and that person may well have gone and with them, any chance of resolving matters and making things right.
But the fact is, we never know which end will be our destiny, expected or unexpected. I am very sad to say that I often meet with damaged families where members have fallen out and not spoken for years; some of them can’t even really remember why. Of course, just because people are related, doesn’t mean they have to like one another!
But the chances are there will be something to like, even if it’s simply shared memories of happier times. Those days won’t come round again.
If you are dealing with the loss of a loved one and need help to plan a farewell service you can find out more about how I can help with the funeral service here.