I have given this some considerable thought.
Moreover, I have, in fact, written a eulogy for my grandmother, but, because I was so distraught over her passing and tears usually flow too easily for me anyway, I asked my husband to deliver the eulogy at her funeral. I sat there in the pew amidst my family and friends, nervous in anticipation as he stepped up to the podium. Introducing himself, he said a few words about how he came to be there: for me. As he read it, I heard the words, in sync with his, in my own voice in my head. For I’d read it a hundred times trying to make sure it was just perfect. I wanted to encapsulate her properly and wholly. I considered my audience by making every attempt to speak to the woman they knew, too. After all, “funerals are for the living” (John Green). Yet I wondered if my grandmother was there– her spirit above us all– listening. She’d be smiling because I did her proud. People laughed at some of the quirkiness I revealed about her; they also cried at the sensitivities, and there were many.
I’d like to believe she was listening.
After watching the film adaptation of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, and reading the novel in the three days following, I actually said the words aloud on the way home to my mother and daughter (with whom I’d seen the film):
Everyone should have the distinct honor of hearing his/her own eulogy;
people don’t realize the depth of how they touch one another.
There, I said it. I’d thought it so many times before but passed it off as morbid. Yet, there, on the screen the scene was so beautiful– a “pre-funeral” eulogy, he called it. Funerals being for the living is something I hadn’t thought about, in that way, before. It’s true. A funeral serves as closure for those left behind. Or an attempt at one.
But, don’t you wonder what happens to you? Don’t you wonder if you could be nestled in the clouds, after your own passing, omnisciently able to look below and watch who mourns you, hear what they have to say? Don’t you wish you knew the depth of how they felt when you were here? Of course, you knew who loved you, who would feel the absence of your presence. Though, I don’t think we know, often enough, the little things we say or do that touch others. Sometimes, as a matter of fact, we don’t know who we touch at all.
So, I come away with two things:
1) Tell people how you feel about them, even the seemingly insignificant appreciations you have for them. Don’t assume they know.
There are two emotions in life, according to TFIOS, “love and fear.” It’s fear that holds us back … fear that these feelings/emotions won’t be reciprocated or, in some way, by showing them, our egos become made vulnerable.
2) Hold steadfast to the belief that souls are conscious after their passing
Belief in something is necessary… whether it’s a denominational God or an alien God or something else. Without belief, in purpose, something bigger than ourselves, what’s the point? Or, more importantly, the alternative: oblivion?
Thank you, John Green, for a poignantly, touching novel, and one that makes us think about life, love, mortality…
** This post is dedicated to my grandmother who would be celebrating her 95th birthday, today. I <3 you Angelique!
Heaven image : http://propheticalert.wordpress.com/is-heaven-real/