As I confront my mortality, it occurs to me that when I die, there will probably be one or two individuals who may feel some compulsion “to say a few words,” in memoriam.
While I have no plans of leaving this world soon, “anything can happen at any time for no good reason” and when my time is finished, those one or two individuals may need to give their voice to the life of my life in my death.
I suspect that a eulogy serves several simultaneous purposes, insofar, as it allows the bereaved to reconcile their loss with “something nice to say” about the deceased, assuming, of course, there actually is “something nice to say.”
Many “dead people” have certainly lived noble lives, performed their roles well and were obligatorily dutiful to family members, friends and strangers, alike.
However, some of the not-so “dearly departed” may have strayed “far and wide” and left a great deal of confusion, disappointment and destruction in their wake.
But I think the main goal of a eulogy is to provides the survivors something to “hold onto,” at least, for a little while longer, all the-while, mourning the experience and experiencing the mourning until both are eventually processed.
So I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my future eulogists, in advance, for any courtesies and kindnesses they may have intended to impart, along the way, and, respectfully, request that absolutely nothing be said on my behalf.
The reason is very simple. It is my sincere opinion that the entirety of my life is my eulogy! What I’ve said and done and not said and not done; how I lived or failed to live; including the good deeds, bad deeds and ambivalent deeds.
If throughout my life I took reasonable care of myself and added ’value’ to the bucket of the world of my fellows, then everything about my life mattered because I mattered and I respected that others, equivalently, mattered.
But if none of that happened because if I never really “got it,” that while my life was supposed to be about me but not only just about me, then everything about my life wouldn’t much have mattered for all the obvious reasons.
I grieve the future loss of me for all those who I love and those who love me but no eulogy, please! For if how I lived did not a meaningful, useful and relevant contribution make, then my death should not be cause to waste a breath.
However, if how I lived mattered for only “one brief shining moment,” to anyone— including myself—then my lived life would seem to be a palpable unsaid legacy which appears, right now, to be enough said for my eulogy.
Author Note: Dr. Larry B. Gelman is a Clinical Psychologist and a Personal Mentor
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