Celebrating Life Once a Year?

Today, we said goodbye to John, my brother-in-law. I attended his funeral service online.

John was a wonderful brother-in-law. We had many discussions on many different subjects. We didn’t always agree with each other, but we respected each other a lot. He was very nice to my family: taking us out to eat, playing mahjong with my parents, babysitting my great niece… One time I was interested in learning how to create personal story videos, John was the first person volunteering to be my testing subject.

At the funeral service, everyone had a fond story to tell; clearly, we’ll all miss him in our own way.

As beautiful as the service was, as sad as I was knowing John is not with us anymore, while listening to all those wonderful stories about John, I couldn’t help wondering why we kept doing this after the person is gone. Why can’t we have the service (for some people, maybe “this kind of gathering” would sound better than “service”?) while the person is still alive? Maybe once a year after a person has reached a certain age?

For those who have older parents, maybe, there is something on the subject to think about. We can call it “Celebrating Life Once a Year!” That does sound good, I think. What do you think?

On second thought, maybe this doesn’t limit to older people. Maybe we just celebrate everyone’s life once a year. I am even more satisfied with that!

Thanks for visiting my blog. Wear a mask. Stay safe. We’ll get through this COVID-19 thing together!

About Helen C

A retired computer programmer who loves writing and photographing, and has managed to publish a YA novel "Jin-Ling’s Two Left".
This entry was posted in Memoir, photo and thoughts. Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Celebrating Life Once a Year?

  1. brenda says:

    May the memories shared ease your grief

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thanks, Brenda.
      I have been thinking of you… really. One of my classes ended last Sunday, but I am still behind on other classes ;-( and behind on figuring out what is the best way to live the rest of my life. So much desire for sharing and, maybe, discussing, and yet there are so much more waiting for me to find out… Struggle.
      Have a wonderful day.

      Like

  2. I’m so sorry to hear you lost your brother-in-law. I like your celebration idea.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thanks, Anabel. Now that we have this long lock-down thing, I found myself dreaming of visiting your part of the world more often than before.
      I really enjoy hearing stories. I think when we get together, we focus too much on food and entertaining, not enough on sharing memories, or letting others know how much you appreciate them. I am so looking forward to my next birthday. It will be a very different one for sure. Ha.
      Have a wonderful day.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Welcome back Helen, I’m so sorry about your lost!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thanks, Paulo. Thanks always be there for me. Sometimes I do wonder who is still here? Ha.
      I think my problem is I didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about life when I was young. Well, that wasn’t true either. I did spend a lot of time thinking, even asked a couple of people I thought might know the answer, but I didn’t make any progress. Now, suddenly, I have so much to catch up. I’ll do it right next time around. 😉
      Have a wonderful day.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Su Leslie says:

    I’m sorry for your loss; your brother in law sounds like a very good man. I like the celebration idea — isn’t that what birthdays are for?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thanks, Su. After posting this, I thought of Thanksgiving gathering, but there are so many people gathering on Thanksgiving, so it would be hard to focus on one person, and it is probably better to do it one person at a time. Birthday is better! 😉 If we can not only celebrating with jokes and a cake, but also celebrating by telling the person our fond memories, and what she or he means to us, that would be great!
      Hope I will remember this on my next birthday. At this age, it is so hard to remember anything…
      Have a wonderful day!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. loisajay says:

    I have been thinking about what you wrote, Helen….. Isn’t it ironic that the older we get, the more we refuse the big celebrations….’age is just a number.’ And so the birthday celebrations are very minimal. But when we die….that is where the fuss is. My husband knows I want none of this. No long obit in the newspaper–I’ll be dead! Who cares what I did in my earlier life?! And definitely no big to-do at a funeral home. But that’s just me. Online funeral services…who would ever have thought? My condolences on your brother-in-law. Isn’t it good to know he was so well loved?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thanks, Lois. I probably said it wrong. The funeral service was in Virginia. My nephew attended in person, and used his phone via Google Duo (like FaceTime) let all of us could attend virtually (COVID-19 way).
      Funeral service is more for the living people, not too much for the dead person (I think). I guess it helps us to grief, more or less. But I couldn’t help thinking how wonderful it would be if John could hear what people had said about him. I am pretty sure he knew nothing about all of these, and that’s what I like to change. I want to know! Ha.
      But, on second thought, maybe it doesn’t matter, does it? Hmm… I have to do more thinking on this. I have discovered that depending on the subject, I often have different opinions. On one hand, I wish everyone could hear how much people appreciate him before he goes, but it probably doesn’t matter that much for me ;-).
      Have a wonderful day, Lois.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. carol1945 says:

    Beautiful writing, Helen. I just had my 75th birthday and my daughter did something amazing. She and her family came all the way from her home which is an hour away, packed with a complete dinner, from appetizers to dessert, with every single favorite food item from our shared history as a family. There were dishes I had totally forgotten about. I just broke my hip, and I think she suddenly is aware that I won’t be around forever. It was a beautiful celebration with the three grandchildren making me personal cards. You know, when my own mother died at 99, I had spent so much time with her during the preceding years; I had prepared her favorite foods (interesting my daughter following my footsteps) and I actually could barely attend her funeral. We had had so much in life together, the funeral was so painful for me, I just could not handle it. I still have not written an obituary for her, for some reason, I could not do it. Our life together was beautiful and I trust my daughters are having the same family experience with me. It is different for everyone, and some people do need the big funeral, complete with bagpipes. (I attended one of these) But I did not need this and I trust my children won’t either.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Oh, Carol, that was a wonderful birthday, wasn’t it? Your daughter knew exactly what I was talking about! If I were you, I will keep it in my mind and smile every day!
      I thought I had done a good job caring my Mom. I had spent all but one vacation days on visiting her; I had called her as often as I could, and some day a couple of times a day; I had bought her whatever I thought she might need… But, now, I wish I had talked about all those fond memories I had with her.
      My brother Shao was in deep depression after my mom passed away, so I had spent a lot of time helping him during the first few years. When I finally had time to grief by myself, I was sad and extremely angry. And that went on for a while. Three years after my mom passed away, Lisa Delman was going to publish a book called “Dear Mom, I’ve always wanted you to know”, I wrote a letter to my mom and submitted. I was told that my letter was accepted, but at the end, it didn’t get published. However, in the introduction section of the book, she did quote a long paragraph of what I wrote in my letter to her. I think she did mean to publish my letter — which doesn’t matter anyway. The reason I am telling you this is to let you know I understand how you feel. After I wrote that letter, I lay on the floor, and for a long time, I couldn’t think or move, as if someone had sucked my soul out of me. I had nothing left, but a dead body. It was an experience that I would never forget.
      I think funeral service is more for the living people. Whatever my daughter wants to do is ok with me — not for me anyway. But, wouldn’t it be nice to hear all the stories that they remember of you? 😉
      Have a wonderful day.

      Like

  7. Rupali says:

    Sorry to hear about your loss Helen.
    I really feel that we should call our near and dear ones regularly. Especially the elders. Life is too short to miss such precious moments.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. restlessjo says:

    Dad’s funeral was a celebration of his life, Helen, but he was a man who spent most days celebrating life and appreciating his family. Not so easy for those left behind! Sorry for your loss. Funnily enough, today is a birthday celebration for us. My son and his lovely lady and son came to join us here in the Algarve for a week. Today is her birthday. We will try to make it special 🙂 🙂

    Like

  9. MythRider says:

    Sorry for you lose. Yet it sounds like your family was blessed to have him in your lives.
    You’re right, we should appreciate friends and family more. And birthdays are the best time to do that.

    Like

  10. I’m so very sorry to hear of your loss ..thinking of you my friend. I think your idea of celebrating life once a year is a fabulous idea! Life is so very special .. hugs

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Lady Oscar says:

    I am sorry. This is a difficult year. We remember good things, and try to get through the hard time. I pray for you and family. I hope we gain strength and focus on our peace.
    Love.

    Liked by 1 person

I would love to hear from you...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s