What Are You Remembered For?
I cannot remember the source but the message went something like this. Be it known and keep it in the back of your mind that someday, after your death and at your funeral services, your entire life will be summed up in about 20 minutes. What will that 20 minutes say about you? Was your life a warning or an example? What will you be remembered for?
Kelligar, our daughter, embraced life from the second she was born until the day she died. She came into this world with a fatal lung disease born unable to breathe, conquered the unconquerable, lived life with no regrets and she died fighting. Certainly she had been wronged by certain medical professionals and yet her heart was more pure than mine. She forgave them their shortcomings with an honest sweetness that sent them reeling in shame.
I am honest enough to admit that in her death she was a far better person than I have ever been in life. But her message was not lost on me, it just took me ages to muddle through the muck of my own suffering to find it, but it had always been there. When the message hit me in the head I realized what I needed to do, perhaps what she was willing me to do; help other people who are suffering.
My passion as a grief coach lands me squarely in other people's grief. Why would you do that someone recently asked me? The answer? It is because of the suffering I lived through with the loss of my own daughter that I feel the need to help other mom's so they don't flounder alone like I did for so long. There is happy at the other end of crappy, I promise you, but it will be forever different.
Holidays and the series of events that your loved one will not partake in are at the very heart of what I am speaking about. Even as I write this, the weight of the implications of holidays that must go on but without the person I love and miss so much is ever present.
January 3 will be the six-year mark of Kelli's death. In some ways it seems like yesterday, others it feels exactly like six years of suffering. Every day I miss her; the person she was and the woman she was becoming. Simply, I still mourn her loss.
I mentor my clients with the understanding I garnered through the arduous task of keeping my head above water. And though at times it was touch and go, I didn't drown. And it is through her loss and in legacy to her that I moved forward in developing a three-step process through grief which simply stated is immediate, intermediate and long-term grief. It is a simple process but certainly not an easy one.
Kelli was a perfect living example. Her good deeds and a life well-lived were acknowledged and spoken of fondly and more than 800 people filled our church to give this 11-year old girl a proper sendoff.
My hope is that after my death and in the final 20 minutes of my funeral services, I will be acknowledged for following in my 11-year old daughter's footsteps and provided hope, love and assistance to those who need it. If I die having helped one person, my life will have been a success.
I encourage you to take the time to evaluate your own life. When you die will people look at your life's work as an example or warning? A life lived as a warning is a closed and solitary life, one filled with angst and bitterness whereas a life lived that serves as an example is one filled with love, openness, compassion and service.