When crisis strikes, I usually deal with it one of 2 ways:
- Laughter and everything becomes a joke. Give me allll the memes.
- Become very aware that life is fragile and start focusing too much on death.
But somewhere in the middle is always a learning spot. In that sweet spot of learning during our latest historical event – Snowmaggedon 2021 – I let myself sit with the fact that I will die one day. And so will those I love. We all will. And in the last couple years, our family has suffered lots of unexpected death, so this isn’t a new understanding. I think I’m just now at the point that I can think about it without fear and learn from the reality that death and taxes are the only things promised in this life. And while we know Tax Day, we don’t know the day we will take our last breathe.. or those we love.
Ok now that I’ve brought everyone down to a super depressed level, stay with me. This is NOT a blog about how we all die. I promise. My point is this…normalize saying the things you’ll say at their funeral to their face while they can still hear it. Normalize telling people how we feel, what we love about them, and how they change us for the better just because we can.
As I said, I’ve been to a lot of funerals these past few years. And every funeral I hear about all the ways someone impacted the lives of those around them. It often makes me wonder.. “did they know that? Did anyone ever tell them how they made the world or life of someone better?” And if not.. why not?
I’ll be honest, I think pride keeps us from saying a lot. I think we have this weird gap between being vulnerable and being strong. We want to be vulnerable about the things we can control, but walled-off in the things we can’t. For example – if I tell you about how I suffered a miscarriage and it wrecked me and my marriage for months on end.. that’s vulnerable. It’s also controlled. It’s my story, my feelings, and my timeline.
Now if I tell my husband how much I love him, I need him, appreciate the way he works for our family, and how proud I am of him.. that puts my feelings out there. Now he knows my level of love and dependance on him. So what if he cheats? What if he lies? What if he leaves? What if he just stops providing? Now I’ve shown my cards and can’t control the outcome.
So often I think we keep some of our love quiet for those we truly love because we can’t guarantee it’ll be reciprocated. Will we look needy? Dependent? Like the crazy friend? Obnoxious? Or maybe we are just too busy to slow down and actually take a minute to say the things we value about people because we are too consumed with our own lives.
Look, I get it. I’ve got 4 kids, 7 and under. I can’t even make a sandwich without being interrupted, let alone write out a thought-provoking text or email to tell someone how I admire them. But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t take the time to send a quick text just saying, “hey. I love the way you ___. I’m so thankful for you because ___.”
So here’s my challenge – who can you “funeral talk” or death to this week? Who can you let know exactly how and why you love them, this week, so that at their funeral you aren’t hoping and wishing they knew what you truly felt?
Because we aren’t promised tomorrow, so say it today. 🙂