Taking ownership of our own funeral eulogy
June 5, 2018
I recently listened to a woman talking about the importance of taking ownership of our own funeral eulogy. She shared a story of attending her neighbor’s funeral and listening to the eulogy which included what a great knitter her neighbor was. Because her neighbor had accomplished so many other things and was a pillar in her community, the woman listening felt knitting was possibly the last thing her neighbor would have wanted remembered about her life and legacy.
This story resonated deeply with me. I still recall my disappointment in my 32-year-old nephew’s funeral eulogy and its lack of mentioning any of his kind and charitable acts. Living next to his elderly grandparents, he would take every opportunity to visit and help his grandfather who was unhealthy and tethered to an oxygen machine. He did this to relieve his grandmother from her continuous caregiver duties and would be there to help her when she returned home. He was one of the first to arrive at his aunt’s house and a friend’s farm on separate occasions when tornadoes ripped through their small towns. He installed kitchen cabinets for an elderly couple when they needed help never expecting anything in return. And yet, none of these generous characteristics was mentioned as part his funeral eulogy. Just prior to the closing of his casket, I apologized to him for not speaking up and sharing his stories. It would be years later before I could honor his legacy by dedicating my book, Lifetime Legacy Planner, to him and embark on a new career of speaking engagements to share with others as to why Legacy Planning is so important.
Have you documented your wishes to preserve your legacy? Do your family and friends know how you want to be honored and remembered? Do they know what your preferences are for your funeral eulogy, obituary, services or any other final requests? Will they be able to handle all the arrangements and think clearly during their time of grief and loss?
Am I really this old already? That just can’t be right!
May 1, 2018
As we gathered last fall to celebrate my mother’s 90th birthday, we had relatives flying in from all over the country. My mother was blessed with four sons and six daughters, and she came from a large family too, so it was a weekend of catching up with aunts, uncles and cousins we hadn’t seen in years. As I entertained some of the older cousins that weekend and our conversation drifted to the fact that most of us kids are now in our 60s, one cousin made a statement which resulted in laughter at first, but then the reality set in of what she had just said. Her comment was “I thought growing old would take longer!” It was quite humbling to realize we all were closer to the age of 70, than 50. Because several of us had lost siblings at much younger ages, we were thankful to be celebrating my mother’s 90th and proceeded to share stories and laughter of those much younger days when we thought we’d live forever. We also talked about how and where we’d want to ‘grow old’. Have you let others know your wishes? Do your loved ones know how you want your personal property distributed, where your insurance policies are located, what to do about your funeral services, who to contact in case of your death or any of your other personal information?