A life well-lived is one sensible decision after the next. A life well-lived is full of kept promises, even when they hurt. A life well-lived ends and those left behind cry, but their tears are not bitter, but rather sad tears of loneliness and loss. We cry because we realize just the swiftness of our journey on this planet, how few sunsets remain in our lifetimes, how much time we have squandered.
Her life well-lived was extravagant, full of beauty. She loved her husband, her children, her grandchildren. She loved her garden. She filled her house with lovely objects and her closets with fashion.
I will remember her jet-black hair, her meticulous make-up, her shiny bright smile. I did not walk up to the casket to peer at her lifeless form. I want to remember her alive and beautiful.
Watching her husband of 53 years stand at the white casket lined with pink broke my heart a little. He stood so tall, so distinguished in his suit, so composed, so still. He stepped back, then closer again. I averted my eyes from this private moment. He kept his promise to her, though the last years were bleak and her mind had fled. He was faithful and strong.
One of my other uncles delivered the eulogy, a message full of scripture and poetry and reminders of God’s love for us. The flowers were so gorgeous. I rested my gaze on them while I listened to the powerful words of a man I admire and love. I thought, “I would like him to do my funeral,” and then I realized that I would have to die young or he will have to live to be 150.
Funerals and weddings . . . so much alike, so vastly different. Flowers everywhere, men in suits. One is the beginning, the other the end. And endings are always so sad that if I start to cry, I may never stop.