On your deathbed…

A couple of weeks ago, I was at a gathering at a beautiful old house in New Hampshire where the family gets together each July 4th weekend. One of the senior members of “the clan,” Dale, passed away this year and his grown children held a wonderful remembrance for him.

When you’re trying to prioritize what’s important in your life, it’s helpful to write your obituary. Your obit marks your final deadline. How do you want to be remembered?

What this weekend celebration reminded me of is that it is also helpful to think about a final ceremony. I know you’re not ready to pass, but when you are, what do you want the ceremony to be like?

Here’s what I loved about this ceremony.

(1) The setting was so familiar. It felt like Dale was sitting with us as he had been in so many earlier years. I can’t think of anything more alienating that having family gather in a funeral home. Funeral homes make me weep just thinking about them. It was raining on the night of the ceremony and dozens of us were packed into the living room. That was comforting, peaceful, and perfect.

(2) Dale’s children and others told stories that came right from the heart. The stories were joyous. Most were funny. All were warm and honest. It was like Dale was sharing kind words and sage advice from the other side.

If you want people to tell great stories about you make sure you prioritize story-worthy things in your life. How can you craft your life to leave your family your very best self?

(3) Dale’s kids sang a song he and his beloved wife used to sing, “White Coral Bells.” This rendition, sung as a round, beat any church organ solo.

Dale was an awesome, kind, interesting person. Here’s some advice he shared with his kids that I’m sure he’d love to pass along to you as well:

  • Be curious.
  • Be engaged.
  • Be assured that you can figure things out. Things aren’t that mysterious when you jump in.

And here’s the best thing, Dale, who was a literal man, said on his deathbed.

“You wouldn’t believe the dimensions I’m seeing.”

And with that, he passed.

Dale saw incredible dimensions and shared them when he was living. I’m not at all surprised that he was greeted with the same incredible dimensions when he passed.

Namaste for a calm and delightful Sunday. I was out on a run this weekend and passed this sign on a bench overlooking the ocean. Another nice legacy 🙂

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