When We Die

Funerals are funny things. And by funny, I don’t mean ha-ha. After my dad’s funeral 8 months ago, I was telling my mum (who was overseas at the time) who all had come to pay their respects. She said, ‘There’s nothing like a funeral for a big old reunion.” Why do we pay our respects to the dead, when we so very seldom pay them while they’re alive? People seem to come out of the woodwork when we die. One couple, who were good friends of my uncle’s in the past but who had disappeared since he was diagnosed with Alzheimers, had the balls to say to my mum and nanna as they were leaving, “Sorry I haven’t said much, I just find it too hard today.” Or something along those lines. It was all I could do to not slap her. SHE finds it hard!?!? And says that to the man’s sister and mother? That about sums her up right there.

Anyway, I find it a shame we have to die before everyone will sit down and remember what was good about us. I can’t say I’ve ever heard a bad word said about the deceased, even though there were probably plenty of bad words said about them when they were alive.

My uncle might be the exception to this rule. I don’t think anyone ever had a bad word to say about him. This is how my mum summed him up, and I don’t think anyone would disagree:

He was the son every parent wants, the husband every woman dreams of, the father every child deserves, and the brother every girl would be lucky to have.

We should all strive to live our lives so that someone may say this about us at our funeral.

My cousins both spoke yesterday, and had such wonderful memories of a dad who was always there for them. He took them on amazing vacations (one year they went to the North Pole to see Santa!) and taught them invaluable life lessons. They remember him often making them stop to take in a sunset, or a piece of scenery. I really learned more about my uncle yesterday than I had ever known before. My cousins have grown into such amazing young adults, who are caring, kind, confident, positive people. Listening to them talk about my uncle yesterday, I know where they got it from.

My uncle was a published businessman. When he wrote his book, he wrote his own Eulogy in the epilogue. It talked about his successful children, many grandchildren, and his and his wife’s traveling through Europe, with him dying aged 90. I wish with all my heart that had been a prediction of the future, and not that he had fallen victim to such an unforgiving illness at such a ridiculously young age. It is so unfair.

While it was amazing to hear about how much of a family man he was, and what a great dad he was, it made me sad for my sisters and I. Sad that we never had that. It makes me want to be that kind of parent for Nicklas, and I hope that one day (so very many, many years into the future) when he has to talk about us, he does so with as much love and passion as my cousins have for their dad.

As we drove home yesterday, there was a stunning sunset behind us. I imagined it was uncle Bruce, leaving his funeral, making us all stop and take in the moment before it was gone. Rest in Peace Uncle Bruce. You are loved and will be missed by many.


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