I closed the lid of my laptop; her eulogy was complete.
I’d written as concisely and authentically as possible about what I had learned from the life my grandmother had lived.
I reached up to blot my nose with the top of my wrist, because I’d used up the tissues. I took a deep breath and held it until I couldn’t anymore. Then I blew it all the way out and noticed how fast my heart was beating, “thump-thump, thump-thump, thump-thump.”
“I’ve written too many of these,” I thought to myself. It was a cutting reminder of the loved ones we’ve lost. The sadness overwhelmed me so I stood up to find something else to busy myself with. As I turned, I saw myself in the mirror that covers the closet door in my office. I stood there awkwardly in a daze. I drew close and stared deeply into my own eyes. I realized I too would some day have a eulogy written about me. I wondered, “What will they say?”
The thought carried me away for a moment, but my ten-year-old’s voice brought me quickly back. He hollered from down the hallway, “Mom, I can’t find any clean underwear.” The laundry had piled up during my days at the hospice house with her. I pulled my thoughts back to the present and began to gather dirty clothes for the wash.
It’s a little over a month later now. I am at my laptop again. I am in a different place and have a different intention as I type, but still heartache holds me. We are visiting my husband’s family farm in Mississippi. I’m trying to work, but memories distract me. I look around the den and stare at the rocker where my father-in-law used to sit. I remember his beautiful laugh so clearly, it’s as if the walls recorded it somehow and now play it back for me.
Even after three years, the grief of losing Papa still falls as fresh and unexpectedly as spring rain does. I wonder if grief will ever stop surprising me like that? I think about how desperately I miss him. Tears come.
Pondering life and the absence of it, I slip into a daze again. As I do so, the eulogy question returns. I realize why.
A eulogy is a summary statement that will identify what the purpose of my life was.
But sitting here with the question before me, I realize I don’t have to wait until my life has been lived to reveal what I was about. With a bit of mindfulness and intention, I can do it now.
Writing my eulogy is like choosing the ultimate vacation destination. I decide where I want to go first so I can make the necessary arrangements to get there. And wherever I find myself, whether close to or far from the destination I desire, I have time to correct the course.
What started out as a difficult day for me has morphed into something meaningful. I will take time to write my own eulogy. With it, I can confirm which choices are leading me to the end result I hope for. I can reevaluate the ones that are leading me elsewhere.
You too have the power to choose the legacy you will leave.
Identifying what you want the purpose of your life to be isn’t as difficult as you might think. Writing your own eulogy now will tell you what you want to do with the rest of your life. Of course there will be necessary arrangements to make to ensure that you get there, but how beautiful to know where your heart desires to go.
Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis / How to work through our pain:
Author: Amy Crumpton
Editor: Alli Sarazen
Photo: Ronaldo Oliveira/Unsplash