Life and Death

I attended my mom’s uncles funeral today. He’d been ill for a while and passed away 2 days ago at a little over 80 years old. I wasn’t particularly close in the last few years but I do have memories of him growing up and wanted to pay my respect to the family.

I’ve had many conversations about life and death with my family and friends. I do believe that we live more than once, although I like to justify doing certain things in my life by saying #yolo (You Only Live Once). But that doesn’t take away from the sadness felt at a funeral. Because although the soul lives on, the person you love, respect, admire and
lean on, has gone. No more conversations, laughter and smiles. No more jokes, memories and experiences.

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As morbid as it sounds, I have previously thought about the sort of funeral I’d like. It’s ironic because when it actually comes down to it, it won’t really make any difference to my life. Sitting at the funeral today also brought home what really matters. I have a lot on my plate at the moment and often find myself frustrated at the actions of another. I’ve always chosen to see the positive side of things but lately I feel like life’s experiences have made me cynical. And that’s not the type of person I am or would like to be.

Listening to the memories shared by the family today got me thinking of how I’d like to be remembered. Most importantly, how I’d want my son to remember me. I feel like social websites play such a big part in our lives these days and eventually what we share on social sites will be available for our children to read/see.

A few years ago I read the obituary of someone who is still young and alive. I suppose she’d written it because it’s a good way to think about how you’d like to be remembered and also what you’d like to achieve in your life. It gives you a future plan and something to literally live up to.

So I’m off to think about how I’d like to be remembered. Is it something you’ve thought about?

How would you like to be remembered?

An obituary is usually seen as a sad thing. A life has ended. a mother, father, brother, sister, wife, husband, son, daughter or friend has passed. And yet an obituary doesn’t need to be a sad thing. It can instead be a celebration of the life that was. There has been an obituary doing the social media rounds recently. It’s quite beautiful so I thought I’d share, even though I don’t know the lady. It got me thinking about the kind of person I’d one day liked to be remembered as.

“Mullaney, Mary A. “Pink” If you’re about to throw away an old pair of pantyhose, stop and Consider: Mary A. Mullaney — you probably knew her as “Pink” who died on Sunday, September 1, 2013. Her spirit is carried on by her six children, 17 grandchildren, three surviving siblings in New “Joisey” , nieces, nephews, in-laws, and a large extended family of relations and friends from every walk of life and corner of the globe, who were blessed to learn many valuable lessons from Pink during her 85 years. Among the most important: Never throw away old pantyhose. Use the old ones for rosary repairs, to tie the gutter, child-proof the cabinets, tie up the toilet flapper, or hang Christmas ornaments. Also: If a possum takes up residence in your shed, grab a barbecue brush to coax him out. If he doesn’t leave, brush him for twenty minutes and let him stay. Let a dog (or two or three) sleep in bed with you. Say the rosary while you walk them. Go to church with a chicken sandwich in your purse. Cry at the consecration, every time. Give the chicken sandwich to your homeless friend after mass. Go to a nursing home and kiss every person there, and let them have communion, no matter if they are Catholic. When you learn someone’s name, share the story of their patron saint and when the feast day is, so they can celebrate. Invite new friends to Thanksgiving dinner. If they are from another country and you have trouble understanding them, learn to “listen with an accent.” Never say mean things about rotten people, instead think of them as “poor souls who we should pray for.” Put the children who are picky eaters in the laundry chute in the basement, close the door and tell them they are hungry lions in a cage and feed them their veggies through the slats. Correspond with the imprisoned and have lunch with the cognitively challenged. Do the Jumble every morning. Keep the car keys under the front seat “so they don’t get lost.” Make the car dance by lightly tapping the brakes to the beat of songs on the radio. Offer rides to people carrying a big load or caught in the rain or the summer heat. Believe the hitchhiker you pick up who says he is a landscaper and his name is “Peat Moss”. Offer to help anyone struggling to get their kids in a car, into a shopping cart or across a parking lot. Give to every single charity that asks. Choose to believe the best about what they do with your money, no matter what your children say they discovered online. Allow the homeless to keep warm in your car while you are at Mass at Gesu. Take magazines you’ve already read to your doctors’ waiting rooms for others to enjoy. Do not tear off the mailing label … “Because if someone wants to contact me that would be nice.” In her lifetime, Pink made contact time after time. Those who’ve taken her lessons to heart will continue to ensure that a cold drink will be left for the garbage collector and the mail carrier on a hot day, that every baby will be kissed and every person in the nursing home will have a visitor, that the hungry will have a sandwich and the visitor will have a warm bed and a soft nightlight, and the encroaching possum will know the soothing sensation of a barbecue brush upon its back. And above all, she wrote Everyone. You may be reading this and you may recall a letter you received from her that touched your life or made you laugh, or even made you say “huh?” Pink is survived by those whose photos she would share with prospective friends in the checkout line, and her children and grandchildren: Tim (Janice) their children, Timmy, Joey, T.J., Miki and Danny; Kevin (Kathy) their children, Kacey, Ryan, Jordan and Kevin; Jerry (Gita) their children, Nisha and Cathan; MaryAnne; Peter (Maria Jose) their children, Rodrigo and Paulo; and Meg (David Vartanian) their children, Peter, Lily, Jerry and Blasé; as well as her siblings, Anne, Helen and Robert. Pink has joined in heaven six of her siblings and is reunited with her favorite dance and political debate partner, her husband Dr. Gerald L. Mullaney.

You can read the whole obituary here.

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