Today I have been to the funeral of a friend who I knew for more than 30 years. This is the second funeral I have been to recently.
The first was to celebrate the life of a man cut off in his prime by bowel cancer (he was still in his 50s). He was almost literally ‘here today and gone tomorrow’ – the cancer was aggressive but he did not suffer for long. His funeral, held at the crematorium was one of music, colour, loving words and celebration. The crematorium was packed. I knew of this man, rather than knew him, but it was wonderful to see such a joyous celebration of life.
Today’s funeral of my friend was an altogether more traditional and quieter affair in a local Methodist Chapel. I went to my friend’s 80th birthday party earlier this year. As we say, she had ‘a good innings’, and she died after a very short illness and did not suffer as far as we know.
Any funeral leaves me thinking about mortality, and how much longer I can expect to live. It also leaves me wondering what people might say about me, if they say anything at all, after I die. Would they capture the essence of me? The eulogy at today’s funeral captured my friend’s life wonderfully well, making her instantly recognisable, but I’m not sure that it captured the essence of her. The essence of her was captured in her own words, which were printed on the back the funeral service sheet.
‘If you don’t shake up your life, all the good stuff settles on the bottom’.
My friend really shook up her own life at least once to my knowledge, and may be more times than I know. Her death has left me wondering about her words.