If you want to improve your life you should write your own funeral eulogy.
Do you remember the last funeral you attended? At one point the leader of the service stood and delivered a eulogy. The speech captured the essence of the one who passed away.
Years ago I officiated a graveside service for a family I had never met. I arrived early and approached the funeral tent. A couple of family members were already present. I introduced myself to one of the men and said, “I’m sorry I never met your loved one.” He stared at me for a second and replied, “You didn’t miss much.” In light of this startling statement, he eulogy I had written for the deceased seemed inappropriate.
One of the 6 principles of the ReFIRE processes focuses on Endowment. This principle recognizes the importance of working on a legacy to pass on to your loved ones.
Think of your legacy. What will be said about you at your funeral?
The day will come when someone will deliver a eulogy at your funeral. If that happened tomorrow, what would be said? Will the speaker need to embellish the truth to make your life look good? Will there be people hearing the eulogy who silently whisper, “Yeah. Right. I know the truth”?
Thinking about what will be said at your funeral may be discomforting but it is one of the best tools to bring improvement to your life.
Do this exercise. Imagine your own funeral. Make a list of your loved ones who will attend. Spend some time writing out what you think each of them will say. What will your son and daughter say about you? What will your spouse reveal? If your close friend grabs the microphone and is totally honest will you be embarrassed? How will your coworkers remember you?
Now imagine your funeral service one more time. See each of these same people standing and delivering a eulogy. Write down what you hope they say about you. As your son or daughter walk to the front, what do you want them to say? What do you want your friends and coworkers to say? How do you want to be remembered? When your life is over what legacy do you hope to leave behind?
Compare the two funeral services you’ve just viewed in your mind. Look for the areas which you need to work on to leave the desired legacy.
- Do you need to work on your relationship with a son? Get busy.
- Do you want to be remembered for your generosity? Start giving.
- Is it your hope people remember you for your loving acts of kindness? Start loving.
This simple exercise can point you toward building the kind of legacy you want to leave behind.
Can it be that simple? Yes. But there is a hard part. The hard part is changing your life to change your legacy.
Randy, this is a tough one. I didn’t want to read it let alone do the writing. Like many I deny and go about my business as if I’ll be here forever. I know I won’t. But for right now I just don’t want to think about it….
But the day will come (at least in this world), just like the period on this sentence.
And then, “Will the speaker need to embellish the truth to make your life look good?”
Honestly Garry, I get it. It’s tough. But as a pastor I’ve met with many families the day before the funeral and asked them what they thought ought to be said about their loved one. I clearly recall, in one instance, the room getting bone-chilled silent. Finally the adult son said, “Well, dad liked to hunt for mushrooms.” Really? A guy spends 75 years on the planet and that’s the best that can be said? This exercise is hard but it does help us to “begin with the end in mind.” THANKS for reading and commenting!
I agree that this is , as Garry said, “a tough one,” indeed. Don’t want to think about it either, except to say that all that matters is that I know inside that I did alright during my time here. It doesn’t matter what is or is not said at my funeral. I know that sounds harsh, but the notion is to keep working on yourself and maintaining whatever good is in your path right up to the end. If you do that, then you should feel good about the time you spent here, regardless of any thoughts about legacy.
Welcome to the discussion. Thanks for sharing your perspective.