Over my life, I've been to the funerals of many family and friends. Some of which I believe were utterly robbed of the time they were sure they had, others - departing this world after what could be deemed a 'great innings'. And while there are varying arrangements from one service to the next, one thing they all have in common is the eulogy.
Rarely do we get the opportunity to hear about someone's life in such a profound way. From great achievements to anonymous philanthropy - untold hardships to the joys and pride life events had provided - from quiet passions and acquired talents to disappointments and deep regrets. So much is laid bare.
I think the saddest part of a funeral, other than reconciling the loss itself, of course, is accepting that there was just so much about the person I didn't know. Perhaps it's guilt and remorse for conversations I’ll never get to have - that I could have had, that I should have had. Conversely, and possibly weirdly so, I invariably feel encouraged and energized after a service has concluded. Encouraged to make a point of spending far more time listening to those that are happy to share their stories with me. And energized to create a more full and generous life - one in which I'd be proud to listen to when my eulogy is finally read.