So, what is your story?
This week, I received a bill from my favorite florist. It was over $500. I had chest pains when I opened it. The last time I spent that much on flowers was for one of my kids’ weddings.
I wish the orders were for happy occasions. They were not. There was one for a young girl who overdosed, two for COVID-19 deaths, one for a young man who died too soon from cancer, and one for our first-ever employee who died in his driveway with a suspected heart attack. Each one has a life story.
Since I have a compromised immune system, I have been held up here in my home since late March. My heart’s desire was to say goodbye to each of them at their funerals and support their families. I have stories to share with all of them about their loved ones. Still, I remained adamant that it was not a good idea for me to go. I have a heavy heart because of it. Has someone you know and loved passed recently, and you could not attend? Perhaps they did not have a funeral. That is terribly sad for everyone. How did you convey your support and sympathy to those they left behind? Did you send a card, write a personal note, or maybe give them a call?
My family is no stranger to death. We have had so many recent deaths, and they had enormous funerals. My family and I received support and love from thousands. It was an incredible dose of love to all of us. Everyone told us a story about our loved one, which was certainly much-needed. This is priceless. The gifts of life are memories from God.
These were not the only passings. There were dozens more, and some were acquaintances. As much as I would love to send the world flowers, I instead sent cards—dozens of cards. My husband calls me Mrs. Hallmark. You know it’s bad when Amazon has to deliver stamps to me because I can’t trust the US Mail to get them to me on time.
Many people have sent me remembrance cards that had their favorite poems or scripture on them. I have quite a collection of them, some of which have matching church bulletins or programs from their funeral service. No, I do not stuff them all in a drawer. Instead, I have a special place for them, a beautiful big blue box with a lovely ribbon on top of it.
As sad as this may seem, I began organizing them and sorting them by family, friends, colleagues, etc. Then I took the time to go through them and read them. I laughed and cried all at the same time. It took me hours. The stories that the families had written about them were quite incredible. I wanted to add to them. My relationship with many of them was incredibly special. I began to start journaling my favorite stories, memories of those who left way too soon.
It got me thinking about two things:
First, what will my story be? Will someone save my memorial card or church bulletin? Who will write it? What will it say? Will I be remembered? Who will remember me? Does it matter? Who does it matter to? Will it be good or bad?
Secondly, in these many tributes, I saw some good stuff. But there were some that I questioned. Not to be disrespectful, but some things were written with a fictional baseline. This just goes to show that we can always look for the good in people if we dig deep enough.
So here is the reality: we all come and go in this world. We will all live life differently. With every breath we take and every step we walk, we are writing our life story. Each of us has work to do, and each of us makes a difference in the world.
Think about taking the time to sit down, put pen to paper, and write your story. Is it a short story or a long novel? That does not matter. The fact is you are here, and that does matter. I suggest if you do not like your story, rewrite it. Look for the good. It is there. Make some changes in your life to add to your story. You can change your story and focus on positive things or negative things.
Someday, your story will be told. It is up to you what is in that story.
One other thing I heard today that is worth repeating: when you say goodbye to someone, be sure it is kind and loving. It may be the last time they hear from you.