As a funeral director for the past 27 years, one of my favourite parts of a life’s celebration is sitting down and listening to personal eulogies delivered by clergy, celebrants, family or friends. You learn so much about people and their story. Over the years I have heard many fantastic stories. Often I sit back and wonder how brave people have been in their lifetimes. Particularly people that packed up their life belongings and hopped on a boat and sailed the seas to this little island called Australia. I often think how brave they are. I also think how tough their lives must have been in the country they had came from and that they were prepared to risk everything and move to another country.
All the young men and women who went away to serve our great Nation, witnessed the devastation and tragedy of war and ultimately the human toll. When I sit and listen to these eulogies I notice there is often a common thread: Mum, Dad, Grandpa and Nana never talked about the war. I often reflect on how many have suffered in silence all those years and the people who lived through the tough times in Australia, particularly the depression. Those that have come from large families and how they got by and those that lost so much throughout the journey of life particularly parents who have lost children. I find myself trying to contemplate how I would feel had I experienced that sort of loss in my lifetime and how I would have coped. The older I get the deeper I reflect on such things.
For me there is one consistent theme in eulogies that are commonly said following a life celebration, like “Aunty Anne would have loved to have heard all those stories” or “She would have laughed so much at those stories had she been here” and “Aunty Anne would have really enjoyed her life celebration.” I also often hear during eulogies, “If only I had told Aunty Anne how I felt when she was alive.”
How many of you reading this blog can relate to that? I certainly can. In a few weeks my father would have turned 80. He died in 1998. My mother would now be 83 and she died in 1997. I came from a much loved family and I’m one of five children, two brothers (one is deceased) and two sisters. I had tremendous parents who gave all of us opportunities that they didn’t have in life but I cannot recall a time in my lifetime when my father told me he loved me or in fact me telling my father that I loved him. Nor throughout my lifetime can I recall my mother saying that she loved me, except during her last few weeks while she battled cancer I remember my Mum saying that she loved me and me saying the same to her. The fact was that we were much loved and we loved each other. But my parents were from a generation where deeds often did the talking rather than words. I have no resentment in any way shape or form towards my parents, I understand that was the times and I know that I was very much loved.
With all this in mind recently we have been sharing links on our FaceBook site called #sayitnow. The purpose of this blog is to paint a picture of what happens so often in people’s lifetimes. There are plenty of people out there that tell their kids that they love them and their kids the same. It is something I do regularly and my kids do with me. But I am sure there are plenty out there that don’t say it when it matters, when the person is alive. So at Tobin Brothers Funerals we are encouraging everyone to #sayitnow.
So can I encourage you to pick up the phone to someone dear to you and tell them something you haven’t told them before. Write a note and send it in the mail, the old fashioned way or send an email, even a cheeky little text saying something to a person dear to you. You will be amazed at the results, it will lift the spirits of the person you are saying it to and it will put a spring in your step.
So do not wait until it is time to deliver a eulogy, #sayitnow and celebrate those that are dear to you today.
Written by James MacLeod – Managing Director – Tobin Brothers Funerals