Two months ago my father served as a pallbearer to a friend he’s known for 50 years. Tomorrow he will repeat the process for another friend. It’s sad to have close friends of my parents pass on. These were people I knew since childhood, looked up to while growing up, respected for their business successes while I was starting to get into business, and more recently shared golf games with them and my dad.
For those of us who believe in an afterlife, I know these men are in a better place and so we rejoice in their life with us. But a couple of thoughts struck me hard yesterday when dad told me he was going to be another pallbearer (I think it’s three or four in 2010 alone).
1. There is always a void in the families and friends from a life well lived. The more the people enjoyed life, the more life will miss them when they are gone.
2. I am blessed to have parents who are still going very strong and are of good health. After having great Christmas celebrations with the whole family it’s important to enjoy all our moments together because time is fleeting.
And the thought that hit me the hardest as I am starting to think about my annual goal setting and updating ritual:
3. How many funerals would I be asked to be a pallbearer at? My folks have so many friends that they have cultivated over the years. The fun and joy they shared for 50 some years with these friends more than compensates for the heartache when it gets to the end of the road.
As I prepare and update my goal list for 2011, there will be a new twist on the category of relationships. It’s not as much about how many people you know as much as it is how many people do you know well enough that if you out live them, you will be a pall bearer at their funeral. That my friends is a real testament to a life well lived.
As always let me know your thoughts.
PS. I’ll get back to more uplifting topics next time.