This afternoon a colleague at work who is having a difficult time right now came in. Her father is dying. I went to give her a hug and reminded her just how strong she is but that it’s alright to be upset. Normally when she is in the building, it rings with the sounds of her laughter. Not so today. She went about her work and so did I. As I was leaving this afternoon she called me over and asked me one of the most difficult things I think I have ever had to answer. “How do you go about planning a funeral”? She continued that she knew I had been heavily involved in the planning of the funeral for my baby brother and wondered how I did it. I gave her a few general answers and told her that I would help her in any way that I could.
Now that I am home, I have thought about a few things that I could have said but I will jot them down and share them with her later. Provided she is there tomorrow. That’s entirely dependent on how much longer her father is with us.
When I came home I went looking for the Order of Services from the funerals of my grandmother and baby brother so I can show them to her tomorrow. She wants to make things as personal as she can for her father’s farewell and is interested to see what I put together for the funerals of my loved ones. I couldn’t find my hard copies (they must be in a box somewhere safely stored away) so I searched my external hard drive for the digital files to email to myself at work. Whilst I was searching I found copies of eulogies I have delivered and also the closing remarks I gave at Peter’s funeral. I’ll share those thoughts with you toward the end.
My whole point of this post is to wonder how we deal with difficult discussions in our life (such as the one I had this afternoon). Do we tend to gloss over things for fear of hurting the other person or do we stick strictly to the facts? Do we tell them what we think they might want to hear or do bludgeon them with the truth. Of course I had to be truthful with some aspects e.g. the high costs involved but I side-stepped other issues because I was uncomfortable and I knew that I shouldn’t be. I am honoured that she asked me but scared of saying the wrong thing. Tell me, how do you handle difficult discussions? I truly would like to know.
In closing I would like to share some of my closing remarks from my brother’s funeral. When I consider that I spoke them three ago, I am floored because my thoughts are no different today than they were then.
“As I was lying in bed this morning with a thousand thoughts running through my head, I thought of this quote that I have read hundreds of times:
‘Life is too short for drama and petty things, so kiss slowly, laugh insanely, love truly, and forgive quickly.’
This week has taught me that it is the little things in life that count. I remember a conversation that Peter had with (the Tween) one afternoon when she came home and said that she hated someone at school. He spoke to her about what a horrible word ‘hate’ was. He explained that nothing or nobody in life is that bad that we should hate them. We can dislike them certainly but hate is a strong word. Hate has caused wars and countless, senseless acts. The last conversation I had with Peter was whilst he was in hospital, and we both told each other how much we loved each other. That is one of my treasured memories. So, I have made a conscious decision to not waste my time on the petty things in life. Life is too short. I think we’ve seen just how short it can be. And how quickly things can change our world. Life is for telling the people we love just how much they mean to us. It is for enjoying the sunshine and the breeze on our face. It is for seeing the beauty in the ordinary. It is for making each day count. It is for laughing and taking joy in the everyday moments. So if there is one thing we can take from our experiences with Peter, it is that he was not afraid of living and he enjoyed every moment of it. I have one final quote that I found yesterday. It is called ‘When I am Gone’.
When I am gone
When I am gone, release me – let me go. I have so many things to see and do. You must not tie yourself to me with tears. Be happy that we had so many years. I gave you love. You can only guess how much you gave me in happiness. I thank you for the love each have shown but now it is time that I travelled alone. So grieve awhile for me if grieve you must, then let your grief be comforted by trust. It is only for a while that we must part, so bless those memories within your heart. I will not be far away, for life goes on. So if you need me, call and I will come. Though you cannot see or touch me, I will be near. And if you listen with your heart, you will hear. All of my love around you, soft and clear. Then when you must come this way alone, I will greet you with a smile and ‘Welcome Home’.
Have a blessed day 🙂