My grandfather had a problem with open caskets at wakes, visitations and funerals. He insisted that, when his time came, his casket would be closed. “If you couldn’t be bothered to come see me when I was alive, you’re not going to see me when I’m dead” was his way of putting it.
Shortly after moving halfway across the country, my mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Despite the distance, her friends came to visit in a steady stream in the last year of her life. When her funeral was sparsely attended, that was okay; her friends had seen her when she was alive. A friend recently realized she would always make the time to attend a funeral, even traveling last minute at great expense. Birthday parties, anniversaries and other celebrations came at inconvenient times, or the trip was too costly. She shifted her focus to celebrating with the people she loved, and, if she missed a funeral, that was okay – she had seen them alive.
Sometimes, in the day-to-day business of life, we forget what (and who) is really important in our lives. We go to great expense to attend funerals or a celebration of someone’s life, but rarely make the time to celebrate life with them. What’s your priority?