I went to a funeral the other day. It wasn’t my first, I have been to many funerals, but it was one of the most memorable. The man that died, he was my friend’s dad. I didn’t really know him because my friend lives out of state and we met as adults, but I “knew him” – because of her, I knew him.
The thing I liked most about the funeral is that it was the real deal. When they spoke of this man, it wasn’t a list of all of his accomplishments and it wasn’t a bunch of blah-blah-filler making him seem great because he is no longer with us. It was real talk that gave a true sense of who he was to his friends and his family. That’s what I liked best.
What I liked least is that he wasn’t there.
That’s what sucks about funerals. The person being honored ISN’T EVEN THERE! But that’s how it goes. Funerals are the trump cards of life—they pull everyone in no matter where they are, what they’re doing, or how much it costs to get there. Everyone drops everything—they’re FINALLY all together, as a family, spending time and telling fun stories—except for one thing: The “Jack” never surfaces. So he never gets to hear about how great he was! What is that about? I don’t want that. I want to hear how great I am TO MY FACE!
When I left this particular funeral though, I felt my friend’s dad knew how everyone felt before he passed. This family was granted good-bye time, or as I like to call it: Red Carpet Time—a limited amount of time to use wisely.
But even if they weren’t granted that time, I could see love was something they expressed often, and the man who passed knew that.
It’s not always like that though.
We don’t always get Red Carpet Time. Sometimes death comes when we’re not prepared for it so the things that need to be said, need to be said. And they need to be said during life.
If you’ve ever lived through the sudden death of someone you truly care about, you know what I’m saying when I say sudden death is absolutely the most surreal mind f*ck in the whole wide world.
Of course, the severity of the mind f*ckery all depends on how much your life is going to change, but either way, do you really want to have things unsaid?
I was working one day, normal day, when I found out an old boyfriend died. At that point, we hadn’t been together for several months, but I had just spoken to him a week or so before. He claimed he was coming to Detroit to see a band (Prodigy) and then he was going to “bring [my] ass back” with him. We had words, but when I hung up, exasperated, my last word was “Whatever.”
His death had nothing at all to do with that conversation, but it was the last one we had, and I struggled with it for a long time.
Even with that last crappy memory, I still think he knew how I felt about him. In fact (probably because of him) I think everyone I care about knows exactly how I feel about them.
I’m not saying it’s natural for everyone to tell someone they’re doing a good job or you’re proud of them. I’m also not saying it’s always easy to tell someone you’re not super thrilled with them and you’re done.
I’m not saying any of that. All I’m saying is it’s not a horrible idea to make your position known—whatever it is—during their life. You want your people to know how you feel for them and for you, because that way there’s no unfinished business.
Thank you, always, for being here!
The DS&D Crew
I know all to well about unfinished business. This was heartfelt and beautifully written. Thank you for such a gentle but firm reminder.
Yeah you do. You are definitely familiar with unfinished business, in more ways than one. You have always dealt with things in such a positive way. No matter what it is, you go positive and it exudes from you. It’s infectious. Much of my attitude as I have gotten older is because of the things I have learned from you. #NoJoke.
That man was my Dad and I couldn’t be more touched by this description. ❤️
I wish I could make little heart emojis with my keyboard, but I can’t. I’m sending them your way though…always sending them your way. Thank you for being such an inspiration to me these last few weeks. I learned quite a bit about life and love.
Kathy Mansk says
My best friend passed away from breast cancer earlier this year. She knew for a long time she was dying but never would admit that to anyone including herself. She lived life to the fullest and enjoyed every minute of it. A week before she passed, she was in the hospital for a few days and then home on hospice. It was a constant rotating door of family and friends visiting and saying their goodbyes. I can’t think of a better way to go. She got to see everyone that mattered in her life, one last time and she relished every moment. Blessings to your friend that lost her dad.
That’s the “Red Carpet” I was talking about! You get it That’s exactly it. That’s the way to go. I’m so sorry you lost your friend, I know how bad that sucks. Sucks BAD. I love how you found the silver lining though. Makes me happy to have you here, Kathy. Thank you for being a part of this. You so get it.
I love you xoxo
“Marshall” though! HAHAHA! #OY
Brian Lev says
About 15 years ago, I spotted an old friend on the subway… but it was on the way home from a rough day at work, and I was hot, sweaty and in a bad mood so I pretended to be asleep. Just a few weeks later, I heard she finally succumbed to the cancer that I had already known she was fighting. Since then, I’ve made a point of at least trying to let people know what I like about them, what it is about them that makes me proud of them, the positive effect they’ve had on me and/or others, and so on. (You’ll notice I’m not mentioning negatives. That’s kinda important.)
There’s a big family reunion coming this November because, as the cousin organizing everything said, my father isn’t a spring chicken anymore and is the last survivor of his generation. One never knows if there will ever be another chance to let someone know how much of A Good Thing they are in one’s life, or to hear that story they always promised to tell you but always forgot to talk about, or to quietly share how they hurt you at some point (but that you have hopefully forgiven — or at least chosen to overlook — the episode). Unfinished business sucks.
Good post, Robyn. Thanks for the reminder. 🙂
All I kept thinking about during the funeral was a family reunion and/or a friend reunion. I want to be with everyone that is important to me right now. I get it. I’m happy you have a reunion coming up so you can make the most of all the great people in your life. I know for sure they are lucky to have you, and we are too. Love when your name pops up. You always have SUMthing insightful to say and I appreciate it so much.
J Christ says
I love reading your blog posts, Robyn. You are a talented writer and I agree with so much of what you say, except the parts about liking cake! LOL! Miss you and your family but I hope everyone is enjoying summer, like me! 🙂
This means so much coming from you. You’ve helped raise my girls and so many others over the years. We are grateful to have you and so proud of the relationship we have maintained, even though we have made you LOCO on more than one occasion. Thank you for sticking with us, and by us, all this time. You will always have us as well. We love you, Mrs. Christ!!