This seems like a strange thought, but why don't we show our true feelings about people, and shout it out loud, until their memorial.
I know, memorial ceremonies are a form of closure for a lot of people and a way of saying goodbye, but at every memorial I've been to, I've always sat there and thought, "Shouldn't the person whose life we are celebrating hear this too?" Maybe I'm just narcissistic and like to hear people extol my virtues, but maybe we should all take a moment to think about the people in our lives we really care about and what we'd like them to hear. How hard would it be to either tell them or write down the words, especially for those of us with cancer or other health issues, whose lives could slip away so quickly. Or maybe we should all just start having our memorials while we're alive?
Kay - this is your memorial.
I would get everyone together who cares about me, and make them spill their guts about what a wonderful person I am. I'd choose who I'd like to eulogize my life, tell the funny stories and recount the touching moments. I could choose the music that says most about me and hear again the poems and prayers that touch me the most. I could look out at the crowd and feel the warmth, joy and love.
I could also get sweet revenge! I could bring in the old high school teacher who said I would never amount to anything. I could bring back my old boss, who claimed I wasn't a team player when the 12 men I worked with kept stabbing me in the back. I finally could resolve all my issues and have my true friends recount their fondest moments, and most importantly, get to hear it all.
Wouldn't it be great? A celebration of my life, while I was still alive! You see, that's the problem. We don't really tell people how we feel about them, then one day, they're gone, and it's too late. We assume they know how much we admire them, how much we love them, what a tremendous influence they've been in our lives, that their lives have touched so many others for the better. But maybe they don't know and never will.
Most people get hints, and some are lucky enough to have friends courageous enough to reach out and express the joy of knowing them. But most of the time, we wait until it's too late.
So on Memorial weekend, we should, of course, look back and honor those we've lost, but let's also take time to look around at those who are here. If they weren't here tomorrow, what you would want to say to them today?
Because for me, even if you have to wheel me in on a hospital bed, followed by an array of medical equipment, I want to hear my own memorial. I want to laugh at the jokes, cry at the sentiment and be a part of the celebration. This is my life and there's no encore. And when it's over, I'm going to be a long time deaf.
-- Kay Kerbyson lives with her family in West Richland. She is a local and national cancer advocate, and president of Ovarian Cancer Together Inc, a nonprofit organization supporting and networking women across the state. Her website is www.ovariancancertogether.org