Tuesday, February 26, 2008

How Will People Remember You?

Craig Harper from "Motivational Speaker" asks the question what would the people at your funeral say if you died today? That may not be Craig's exact words. That's my interpretation of what he said. Go to http://craigharper.com.au/2008/02/just-another-life.html to read what Craig says. My thoughts afterwards are the reason for this article.

In my comment on Craig's site, I told how my dad's funeral was the saddest day of my life. As a friend of mine said when her mom died, she felt like an orphan on that day. Her dad had died years before.

I can truthfully say that I had no regrets where my dad is concerned. A year and a half before he died, my sister and I visited him in his hospital room when he was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor. The surgery removed as much of the tumor as the doctors could safely remove. They gave him six months to live. He fooled them and lived a year and a half. When we visited my dad that day in his hospital room, I spoke to his higher self and told him that I forgave him for the incest.

Did my dad use that year and a half to make changes in his life? No, the older my dad got, the meaner he got. He died alone living in a bus sitting on the side of the road. The bus had been converted into a camper trailer. He and a friend (the only friend who came to his funeral) both had a bus sitting end to end next to each other on the property of the friend's brother. My dad's death certificate says he died from alcohol and cigarette abuse. I assume that means that his heart just stopped beating. My dad was 68 years old. He looked like he was 80-90 years old. It took his friend a week to find any family to notify of my dad's death.

Why was my dad's funeral the saddest day of my life? When I gave everybody the opportunity to say something about my dad at his funeral, nobody said a word. I was too numb to think of anything to say. I was shocked that none of his ten brothers and sisters or his mom said a word. It is sad to me that none of the good things about my dad came to mind for anybody to speak about at his funeral. There must have been some good memories from the years before he became an alcoholic.

His friend was angered and was openly critical of me for the way that I handled things that day. I didn't react to his criticism. My thought was that he apparently knew a different person than I did.

I want to share some of Craig's words from his article with you because they are important to me:
"In the context of 'time' we're only on this planet for a moment, and in the overall scheme of things we are but tiny specks on the face of humanity. In a way we're insignificant, but at the same time we're giants, if we choose to be. Of course I'm not talking about our physical size, but rather the size of the contribution we make to others; our brothers and sisters here on the big blue ball. The legacy we leave behind. That contribution may be on a 'family and friends' level, a community level, a national level or it might be something we do, which in some way has global implications. If we operate from the premise that life is ultimately about what we can give, (as opposed what we can get - the opposite of what 'modern culture' teaches), then we begin to move from selfishness to significance. And on focusing on the giving we become richer (on every level) then we ever would have by focusing on the getting. Clever that. Selfish people rarely become rich. Generous poeple - often. And don't assume that people with loads of money are necessarily rich. Many of them are paupers; spiritually, emotionally and mentally bankrupt. Not all of course, but some."

So, my question to you is, "Do you want to live life like my dad where nobody has anything good to say about you at your funeral or do you want to be remembered for your contributions and good will? Do you want to be a real person who is loved and remembered by all because of who you are?


Anonymous said...

Dear Patricia -

This article brought tears to my eyes.

The most important benefit you bring to the world is your total honesty and transparency. You give people the bravery to think and maybe even to say things they would never do without your encouragement.

I am sad about your father. Perhaps he will do better next time he has a lifetime.


Corinne Edwards

Patricia Singleton said...

Thank you, Corinne, your high praise means the world to me. I think my dad visited me last night when I was putting the article on my computer so I could post it this morning. I was sitting at the computer and the strong, strong smell of tobacco was suddenly surrounding me. My husband and son both mentioned the smell. It came and went several times. We tried to trace where the scent was coming from. It was just around my computer. None of us smoke. I silently asked if it was my dad and got a yes. He has never visited me before. I think he approves of the article too. I just heard the words, "Yes, I do." as I typed that.

For my own part, I hope that I have done enough healing in this lifetime that I don't have to return and do this same play over again. I know that will depend upon my own karma and the choices I make to come back again and the lessons I choose to learn next time.

Anonymous said...


This is certainly something to think about.

I have heard it put this way... Live your life so the person who speaks at your passing does not have to lie.

It would seem that your Dad and his alcoholism alienated his brothers and sisters in such a way that they had nothing good to speak about at his death.

I am happy that you were able to make peace with his higher self and that the words his friend spoke to you were not taken to heart.

A friend I know lost her father over a year ago. There was no physical, nor sexual abuse within the family, but the father just was not a nice man.
A couple of days before he passed, he told the daughter that he loved her. It was the only time she could recall him saying that to her. He also apologized to his wife for the awful husband he was to her. I guess, better late than never in some ways, but what a difference it could have been for everyone had he come to that just a bit earlier.

Just a very good topic to think about.


Patricia Singleton said...

Deb, thank you for resending this. I don't know what happened to the first time that you left this comment.

This comment adds so much more to what my article said. I hope that it does make people stop and think about their lives and their impact on others. That is why I wrote the article. I think we can all work on being nicer and saying "I love you." more often. Thanks for your words. You are a good friend.