There are few things in life I would make my kids do, or few advice offered that I hope stick with them. I am not one to push my vocation or way of living on anyone. Yet as a mom, I’ve always felt the need to not only be an example of how I want them to live, but also teach my kids what really matters in this life. And it isn’t things, or possessions or monetary success. It’s relationships and showing up when needed. We have been blessed with a family of long lives and very few sicknesses. Yet, is that a reason or excuse not to respect others sadness and misfortune? Recently a dear friend and neighbors father died of cancer. I told my daughter we would be traveling 3 1/2 hours to the funeral home for visitation. Her response? “okay”. I picked her up from a friends house after a sleepover, we drove to Detroit, and we went to the visitation. And although she had never been to a funeral home, she knew our neighbors/friends and she knew their sadness. And isn’t that reason enough to show up? She never questioned the drive, or the fact that she was tired, or maybe even a little scared of the awkwardness of seeing someone at a funeral home. There would have been a million reasons not to go…it was too far away, we had never met him, she was so young, she didn’t know what to say…yet we showed up. We drove 7 hours for 10 minutes at a funeral home. And it was a beautiful day and our dear friends were so grateful. Isn’t that a life-long lesson? We seem to be there for others in their happiness, but what about in their sadness? Isn’t that what life is really about ~ being there for both? And doesn’t that make us closer to others, knowing that we are present whether there are good times, or bad?
I could go on about other instances where the last thing I wanted to do was show up at a funeral. Funerals can come at inconvenient times during the work week and not fit into our schedules. And yet we should. And of all the things I have done in my life, showing up when it matters makes such a difference. In 2017, I ask you, what’s more important than showing up at a funeral?