Merriam-Webster defines a eulogy as “A commendatory oration or writing especially in honor of one deceased.” That basically means saying nice things about someone at their funeral or memorial service. I think eulogies are beautiful. It’ s great to share the wonderful things you will miss about the dearly departed. It’s fantastic to recall great memories of them that make people nod knowingly or laugh aloud. But why do we wait until someone is gone to share these things? I think we’ve got it all backwards.
I propose a new practice, living eulogies. The idea is simple: tell the people in your life how much they matter to you. Whether it’s your spouse, sibling, neighbor, friend, co-worker, or even your 2nd cousin, on your mom’s side, once removed; tell them. If you love someone, say it. If you think they are an incredible artist, let them know. If you remember a moment from your shared past that makes you happy, recount it for them. So often we go about our day not really considering the value of the people in our lives. We take them for granted and don’t consider the impact our encouraging and loving words could have on them and on us.
People need to know they matter to others. If driving by the park sparks a memory of the time you fell off a swing and twisted your ankle and your best friend gave you a piggy back ride all the way to your house, call or email them. Tell them about the memory and thank them for always being there for you. It is uplifting. It can make someone feel better emotionally, spiritually and physically. Think back to a time when someone encouraged you and it gave you that extra push to finish a task or reach a goal. Expressing how much we value others instills a sense of confidence and worth in them and a consistent sense of gratitude in us. These are priceless commodities that are in short supply in today’s frantic, hectic, stress-ridden world.
It will seem awkward and uncomfortable at first, new things always do. People may not know how to respond, but in time all of us will adjust. I’m certain most of us will come to understand and appreciate the benefits. It’s a bit like buying a great pair of shoes. At first, they seem a little stiff and a little tight, but with use and wear they have the potential to become your favorites because they are so comfortable and they fit so well.
Since I’m the one suggesting we make this change, I’ll go first and pay tribute to some of the beautiful people in my life:
GW: You are a remarkable man. I cannot imagine my life without your strength, gentleness, love and charm.
Girls: You brighten each of my days. I have too many memories to recount. You are beautiful, strong, delightful young women.
Mom and Dad: You are awesome parents. I am so grateful for all you have done and continue to do for me. Thank you for your love and support.
Q: I am so happy to count you as part of my family. I admire your adventurous spirit and the way you challenge others to live outside of their comfort zone and achieve more than they think is possible.
BFF: You know how fabulous you are! Thanks for always being there, no matter what. I know I can always count on you.
My Friends and Family: You are incredible, every single one of you. I have laughed, cried, worked and goofed off with each of you. I never imagined it would be possible to have so many wonderful people in my life.
Readers Of This Post: Thank you for reading my words and allowing me a voice. Thank you for the likes, visits and comments. Each of them bolsters the courage and drive I need to keep on writing.
Living eulogies, I think I’m going to like this practice.