Over half of my life has been spent working in funeral homes. I started at age 16 as an after school job in high school and I’m still doing it now. In over 18 years in this business, I’ve seen a lot of things.
I’ve seen tragedies too many to count. I’ve seen heartbreak you can’t begin to imagine. I’ve cried with families and had to remain strong for them.
I’ve also seen greatness. I’ve seen people leave behind a legacy that will be remembered for generations. I’ve seen celebrations of love, memories, and a life well lived.
People often ask me, what have I learned about death in all those years of funerals?
My answer is this:
I’ve learned nothing about death, but I’ve learned a whole lot about life.
So I’m going to impart some wisdom to you that I’ve learned over the years.
This may seem blatantly obvious, and it is. But believe me, people don’t live this way. They go through life avoiding any discussion of death in the belief that maybe if they don’t talk about it, it won’t ever happen. Then they’re blindsided when death inevitably comes knocking at their door.
Don’t be that guy. I’ve seen far too many people leave their families with nothing. They never planned ahead and when something happens unexpectedly, they’re families are left holding the bag.
Unless Jesus comes back soon, you WILL die. Be ready. Be prepared. Make sure there is a way to provide for your family.
Not Everyone Lives
There’s a well known quote often attributed to the Dalai Lama which says, “Man lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”
Let me tell you, this is true. So many people worry about not dying that they never actually live their life. Too many men become so engrossed in their careers that they never actually enjoy the benefits of their labors.
I’ve seen far too many men slave away for 40+ years at a job they hate, then drop dead two years into retirement.
Trust me, No one will care about your career at your funeral.
Build your life so that you can enjoy the time God blesses you with. Be healthy so you can be there for your family. Invest your time in things that will last, not in empty pleasures.
Live your life. Don’t just pass the time.
Make Sure You Leave A Worthy Legacy
I care for almost 700 funerals a year. You know what I never hear people talk about?
- How much tv they watched
- Long hours spent at a career
- How much money they had
This is what they DO talk about:
- Memories of time spent together
- How much love was shared
- Lessons the person taught them
Leave behind a legacy that will be remembered long after you’re gone. Instill the values you hold dear into your loved ones. Teach them the lessons you’ve learned in life. Spend time WITH them, not money ON them.
Don’t be the guy who all his family can say about him at his funeral was how much he loved golf.
Leave a legacy that will be passed down to generations yet unborn. Make sure people remember how you made them feel special, not how you were never around for them. The busyness of life won’t last, but love and memories never die.
Take a few moments to assess your life. If everything ended tomorrow, would you be happy with the life you’ve lived? Are there changes you need to make to ensure you leave a strong legacy? What can you do now to create a life and legacy to be proud of?
You never know when God might call you home. Be ready. Prepare for your family. Have difficult conversations.
The greatest lesson I’ve learned about life through working with the dead is this:
The things that matter the most in life, aren’t things at all.
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