I spoke at my dad’s funeral when I was 23. In recent years I’ve given a eulogy for a grade school friend of mine, written and read a poem graveside of a friend I’d known for over 20 years, and counseled another friend who was writing/giving a eulogy. I often say “The hardest thing about perspective is keeping it.” For me, perspective has always been at its peak when I’m at a funeral.
While funerals are often somber and sad for all the obvious reasons, I also find comfort in how they bring people together. I’m also moved by how people treat one another with the kindness and compassion that so often comes when facing our own mortality.
One thing that’s really struck me in recent years is how everyone says so many nice things about the person who passed. It might be how they loved their smile, laugh, attitude…how they helped people…how they gave to others…and on and on.
I often tell my wife Missy that I want to be a guest at my own funeral…not for egotistical reasons…but because I’m genuinely interested in knowing how I’ve impacted people’s’ lives over the course of my own.
I recently experienced something similar to what I described above when Missy planned a surprise 46th birthday party for me. You see, my dad was 46 when he passed from cancer, so this birthday was a uniquely special one for me.
One of the things that Missy did (besides planning the most stressful event of her life) was have several people record video clips letting me know how I’ve impacted their lives.
To be honest, I’m still not sure I’ve processed it all. But one thing I can tell you for a fact is that it was one of the most amazing and touching experiences of my life. I will never forget it.
I even watch the video periodically when I need a pick-me-up. Tears well up in my eyes every time. (#imnotcryingyourecrying)
I’m also reminded how Jason and I regularly communicate this way with one another. I can’t tell you how many texts, emails and voicemails we’ve shared over the years talking about how grateful we are to go through life and business together. What’s amazing is how often those messages seem to come at just the right time.
We don’t take our unique relationship and experience for granted. We often say “Love ya brother” at the end because we have a genuine love for one another.
These personal experiences got me thinking how everyone should be so lucky to feel the warmth that comes from knowing they’ve impacted people in a positive way.
The good news? You can start today.
I’m challenging you to take a few minutes and make a list of the people who mean the most to you in your life, both personally and professionally.
Next, one by one, let them know. That could be a text (one Sunday morning I recently sent heartfelt texts to several friends…and was blown away by their responses back to me), an email, a phone call, a handwritten card…whatever feels right to you.
Don’t wait for the funeral to tell people how much they mean to you.
Heck, send something RIGHT NOW to someone who’s been on your mind. You’ll be amazed at how good it makes you feel, how good it makes them feel, and how much closer you both will feel after you’ve connected in this meaningful way.