As I compared the two lives, I noticed a very distinct difference. The decedent had lived her life for others. She was a revered artist and world traveler. The editor described her as a caring grandmother, a philanthropist, and a pivotal figure in the development of elder care. While I was reading her words, I realized that all of the decedent’s amazing experiences of travel and accomplishment had come her way through service to others. She had not been a thrill seeker or a passionate tourist, but she had experienced these things by doing wonderful acts of kindness for others.
The editor continued her story detailing the items she desired to accomplish before her death. They were fun and exciting things. Some of them included visiting places and witnessing wonderful things as the decedent had done. The difference, however, was very plain to me. The editor wanted to experience these things for her pleasure and fulfillment, while the decedent had experienced them as a by-product of her service and generous acts on behalf of others.
I wondered if the editor would ever realize the differences between herself and her deceased friend. Their motivations in life were opposites. One wanted to serve others, and in so doing, received great blessings of love and appreciation from her service. The other wants to be served by others and believes that her life will be blessed with love and fulfillment through her experiences.
My heart was touched, and reverence and respect swelled within me for the decedent and the sacrifices she had made during her life serving others. As I finished the article, I thought of the folly the editor seeks and the realization that will one day come her way when all of her rich experiences seem empty and without substance. I wondered if people would write articles about her life at her funeral, as she had done at the funeral of her dear accomplished friend.
It is true that life is precious and before we know it, it slips away. I see it daily in the lives of my clients and their families. I serve decedents who were kind and generous, and I serve decedents who were far from accomplishing such grand marks of high esteem. Upon reflection, I have noticed that the differences are astounding. Those who are held in high regard by their communities have generally been service oriented. They have been volunteers; they have served their communities and their fellow man at large. Some have been wealthy benefactors, while others have been volunteers at the hospital or ballpark. Some have been mentors, and some have merely offered positive encouragement whenever possible to anyone who needed a kind word. Most of them have not been wealthy as the world measures wealth, but rather, their generous natures of service have brought them an abundance of great blessings and happiness.
As I review the lessons learned through reading this article, I hope that my life will be rich like the decedents. I hope that throughout my life, I have helped others obtain the necessities, comforts, and joys life has to offer. I hope that as I continue my life, I will seek and realize additional opportunities to help and serve others. I hope that in my eulogy, my accomplishments will be based on the rewards of service, rather than a bucket list of desires.
I seek and search for great examples of people I can emulate to help me obtain my goal of service, and the most excellent example of all is the Savior. As I study his life, his sacrifices, and his teachings, I find that should we merely emulate his supernal example; we will obtain better results within ourselves, and be able to affect and assist others in their life’s journey. In so doing, our eulogy should be filled with rewarding accomplishments and innumerable blessings. We should be the recipients, as was the decedent in the article, of unfettered love and great joy.
My name is Tracy Renee Lee. I am the owner and Managing Funeral Director at Queen City Funeral Home in Queen City Texas. I am an author, certified grief counselor, syndicated columnist, and co-founder of Heaven Sent, Corp. I write books and weekly bereavement articles related to understanding and coping with grief. I am the American Funeral Director of the Year Runner-Up and recipient of the BBB’s Integrity Award. I deliver powerful messages and motivate audiences toward positive recovery. It is my life's work to comfort the bereaved and help them live on.
For additional encouragement, read other articles or watch video “Grief Briefs,” please go to my website at www.MourningCoffee.com.