Over the past year, we’ve experienced so much pain and loss. Some were due to the current virus, and others have passed for various reasons. No matter what the reason was for it happening, it still hurts us. Losing someone is never easy and it can leave such emptiness within us. I think sometimes that pain comes from not only the loss but realizing that while here on this earth, it will take before we see them again. We won’t have the chance to build new memories with that person. Fortunately, we have memories to keep that person alive in our hearts.
Not long ago, I spoke at a funeral, for a woman, who I’ll call Phyllis, that I’ve known a good part of my life. She was someone that I looked up to. I remember the day that one of her good friends and I were to speak. Phyllis’s good friend went first and she said the nicest things about her. I thought about what her good friend had to say and wondered why we wait to say the best about people after they pass away? Why do we wait until they’re gone? It seems backward to appreciate and to speak highly about others when they aren’t here to listen to our words of kindness and love.
I often think that it’s hard for people to say nice things about one another when we’re alive. We get caught up in the things of this world that we forget that tomorrow isn’t promised. It is a gift to have another day. It makes saying the nice things so much more important than waiting for the person to pass away. Birthday parties, Anniversaries, and many other life events allow us to say what’s on our minds. We celebrate a person once they’re gone, and yet I think it’s more important to celebrate a person when they’re alive.
Perhaps the reason we wait to say the nice things about a person when they are gone is that we take the time to reflect on the memories that we have together. It lessening the loss that we feel, but it goes with the saying you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. It’s important to remember that time is short. Eat the cake, absolutely, but also while the people that we have in our lives are still with us, spend time together, and like many, spending time together is the chance to laugh about old times, the good and the not so good, and even the flaws that we all have within ourselves.
As I think back about Phyllis, her life, and the wonderful things that were said about her, I am reminded that we all have good qualities. No matter what we are going through in the world, one thing is for sure, we are only here on this Earth for a fraction of time. Sometimes it’s expected to happen from a long illness or other circumstances, and other times it’s unexpected, and it catches us off guard. However, no matter if it’s expected or unexpected when that time does come, we will always celebrate a person’s life when they have passed away, but it’s also good to celebrate that person when they are alive and with us. It’s a gentle reminder of how precious time is, but also what is meant to be, that tomorrow isn’t promised to any one of us.