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Does anyone like attending funerals?

No?

That’s what I thought.

No one likes funerals. But ever since my brother passed away a few years ago, I basically avoid them at all costs.

However, that clearly poses a conflict every so often. You see, in my family, we were raised that no matter how difficult the situation, you show up and pay your respects. And although that’s easier said than done, it’s something we take seriously.

While i’m hesitant and protective over what I expose myself to, my sisters have stepped up to the plate more than their fair share. But this week the tables turned on me when I found out a childhood friend’s dad passed away and the services were coming up.

Immediately I thought, “I’ll send a card. I’ll make a donation. I’ll reach out, but I just can’t attend the funeral. It’s too much.”

Physically I wanted to be there. Mentally I wasn’t ready.

But when my twin sister wasn’t able to make it, I knew it was my turn to step up like she has so many times before.

Because my childhood friends are my family. They always have been. They always will be. My hometown is special and that’s how we were raised.

So I went.

And I’m so glad I did.

Because even though I fought back tears during the service and then let them out on my drive home, it was important to be there.

And here’s why.

First of all, you can’t avoid funerals forever. Death is a part of life (as my Dad has so wisely taught me).

But more importantly, sometimes you need to put your own shit aside in order to show up for the people who matter.

It’s important to be there for your friends, your family, and your community.

It’s important to pay your respects.

It’s important to honor those who have passed.

Because after all, those who are no longer living teach us how lucky we are to be alive.

And that’s worth showing up for.

 

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Remember me

One day your life here on Earth will end.

Perhaps it will be sudden, taking everyone who knows you by complete surprise. Maybe it will be due to illness and with much notice. Some may die tragically, others peacefully with little pain. There’s no real way to know.

If my experiences with death have taught me anything, it’s to not be naive about the fact that life will at one point end for us all. We will stop breathing, the blood will no longer run through our veins, and those who are survived by us will have to learn how to adapt to the world that waits for no one.

So I ask you this: when your time comes to an end, how do you want to be remembered? 

Will you be seen as the man with the golden heart, the girl who put everyone else’s needs above her own, the guy who had the whole room laughing until they cried… What will they say about you? 

Yes, it’s a petrifying realization that tomorrow is not promised. It’s nearly impossible to fathom, actually. But what good is life if you’re scared to live it because the end is out of your control?

Fear is a liar. Start living.

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