Attending a funeral at the start of a new year is sobering, to say the least. When talk of health and hope swirls around like a wintery January breeze, I am reminded that death is a cloud looming ever-present.
My husband and I lost a friend in December. His celebration of life service was held shortly after Christmas, and while the ceremony was beautiful, I couldn’t help but feel a great sense of sadness at the loss of such a marvelous human being. The twinkle lights and nativity scene left on stage from the week before felt out of place. We chatted with acquaintances over cookies in the reception hall, then politely made our exit. It felt so strange, so antithetical.
Back at home, while I chopped onions for a casserole, Siri came to my rescue with a deliciously broody playlist. Expertly woven for my mood, sounds from artists like Bob Dillon, the Lumineers and Hosier accompanied my thoughts. I remembered listening to someone a few years ago who posed the question: What would your epitaph say?
The question wasn’t meant to induce guilt or seem morbid. It was meant to inspire the audience to find their mission statement. I’ve had a few years to think about it, and I still can’t put words to this question. What is my mission statement? What do I want people to remember about me when I’m gone?
We’ve entered a new year as human beings, and with it we carry an expiration date as we always have. Some of us are better than others at pretending it’s not there, so I want to remind us to be honest about our whisper of time on earth. It’s bitter and sweet, short and long, full and fleeting. We bring out the best and worst in each other; we possess polaric potential to inflict devastation AND restoration with our words, our bodies, our money, our time. We are two sides to the same coin, capable of more good and more evil than we know.
So here is what I leave you with for the New Year, 2019: What is your mission statement?
What are you about?
What do you want your epitaph to say?