- January 29, 2021
I once attended a funeral and when it was time for the deceased’s wife to eulogize her late husband, she walked to the front with a sunken face, picked the microphone and said, “You all knew the deceased and how he lived his life. I have nothing to say”. With those few remarks, she went back to her seat. Shocked, the crowd burst into a murmur. This was unlike anything they had ever seen.
I come from a community where funerals are characterized with praises to the dead. In fact, we work so hard to even change the cause of death if we feel that the disease could demean the deceased. Funny, but true. We are all about guarding the reputation of the dead.
So, when the widow said she had nothing to say. It was unacceptable despite everyone knowing that the dead man was the true definition of wickedness. But who I’m I to judge?
The events of this funeral got me thinking. We have our whole life in front of us, but we do the bare minimum about it. When we die, as it is the norm, family and friends will put in a good word for us regardless of whether or not we truly made a difference.
But what if we took the responsibility of writing our own eulogy? Imaging our death and knowing exactly what we would want to hear from our loved ones and then living our lives in this same light.
Imagine your death
The first time I encountered this concept was a few years ago when I attended a youth mentorship class. The concept is simple but dreadful. The whole idea starts with imagining your lifeless body in a casket with friends and family mourning your departure. Imagine every sphere of your life without you. Imagine your work, your family, and your home. Can you visualize these areas without you? How will your loved ones react to your death? What will life look like without you? Will there be any difference, a gap, a missing piece of the puzzle, or a relief?
Write your eulogy
With a clear picture of how it will be like when you are dead, take some time and write your eulogy. Ideally, what do you want to accomplish when you are still alive? What do you want to be remembered for? What do you want your loved ones to say about you when you die? Are there specific lessons you want to pass on?
Visualize these things in detail and write down what you would want to accomplish, the person you want to become, the lessons you want to learn and pass on, and what you want your circle to know and say about you.
Once you’ve put the details on paper, it’s time to live it. Work backwards and note how you want to make your eulogy a reality. Have your goals tied to a time frame and an action plan to achieve each of them. Break down your goals to manageable monthly, weekly, and daily tasks.
The only shortcoming of this exercise is that you don’t really know the day or the hour when you’ll be no more. However, writing your own eulogy gives you a sense of purpose. You’ll know exactly what you want to achieve and who you want to be. You’ll see that truly every day, every minute is precious, and it all counts in living a life of purpose.
The more vividly you visualize your funeral, the more in-depth you’ll get in writing your eulogy and taking steps to live the life that you want others to eulogize in your funeral. So, do all of us a favour and get to it. At least, relieve us of the agony of mourning your death while simultaneously dealing with the guilt of improvising lies to make you look good in your death.
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