10 Life Lessons I Learned at a Funeral

  1. Make your own decisions, or someone else will. This doesn’t just apply to your last wishes, but your entire life.
  1. Dwelling on the past (regrets) is a waste of energy.  No matter what mistakes you’ve made, you can’t turn back time. Carrying them around like a pack mule benefits no one. Acknowledge them and resolve to do better.
  1. If you’re not living the life you really want, change it. That includes the relationships you engage in, the jobs you work, and the lifestyle you live.
  1. You can’t please everyone, especially parents. Parent-pleasing can breed resentment. Be yourself anyway. They are.
  1. Own your beliefs. If you are not a follower, don’t be one of the herd for just for appearances.
  1. You don’t know what you don’t know until you learn. There are questions you won’t know to ask until you have the answers.
  1. Everyone processes emotions in their own way. Denial, deflection, humor, suppression, pacing, compulsiveness, etc. Allow loved ones the space to do what they need to do.
  1. There are those who leave their hometown and those who stay. The “why” is personal. Some of us need to lay down roots. For the rest, only a touchstone is required.
  1. Family can love you and not always like you, and might never understand you. Be okay with that.
  1. Food brings everyone to the conversation. You can overhear a lot even at a long table. When people are face to face, it’s impossible not to engage, if only in body language.  A meal helps people feel normal, even if they aren’t hungry. The ritual of it can defuse or ignite emotions. Lean toward compassion first.

 

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Balance

We all know we are going to die. We know this. Just as we know gravity makes a seesaw possible. But until death touches our lives, it’s only knowledge.

Balance exists. For everyone suffering from illness, circumstance, or loss, there is another rejoicing in good fortune and achievement. For every person who has lost their life to a horrific act of violence such as the shooting in Orlando and the truck rampage in Nice, there is one who must continue living. And more enter every minute.

My family both lost and gained a member in the last three days. Will the new member be as delightful as the lost one? As loved and valued?

No one can replace another. Each brings their own unique blend of personality and contribution to the table. No one life is more valued or important than another, although it may appear so. But that’s just ego.

I wonder so many things about the new baby. What kind of person might he become? His first photo taken in the hospital included a large red hazardous waste container looming from behind. Nothing says, “Welcome to the world” like a Hazmat bucket, eh?

Yet the lost brother was filled with toxins in an effort to ease his suffering. (How on earth did we come up with healing cancer with poison? Yet, it has for some.) Perhaps that is the balance.

As much as we will mourn the loss of a beloved core member of the family, we will celebrate the possibilities of the newest child. Hopefully, he can help restore balance.

 

Back to the Box

I love a great success story so I’m passing this juicy one along. After making my first blueberry pie of the season from our homegrown berries, I saw a piece on television about a woman who had shared my love of pie.

She’d lost her big job and broke the news to her partner with a half-hearted joke about ending up in the poorhouse. What to do?

They started baking pies in their home kitchen and quickly ran out of space. So they ditched the furniture, brought in more baking equipment and were all in. Then they put the finished product in a repurposed shed by the road. (Without anyone to man it!)  Customers pay by the old-fashioned honor system (dropping money into a metal box with a padlock) and selecting from a few varieties in a small fridge.

Poorhouse Pies in Underhill, VT proved that there was more than one way to make a living and sell their product. An unmanned shed by the road? Who would think that would work? I’ll bet a few folks told them that they were crazy.

Bored by the thinking “out of the box” reference? These ladies went back to the box and changed it completely  They transformed their home to a bakery, then set up an old tool shed as a store front.

Now, they’re doing far more than pie.

Hats off to a couple of Back-to-the-Boxers.

http://poorhousepies.com

23 Park Street, Underhill, VT (802) 899-1346

I need to do some of this kind of thinking myself.