At 60 years of age I never thought that much about my own inevitable demise – that was until my younger brother passed away.
Losing David was a shock, and it also proved to be a rude wake up call for myself.
What followed during the next week was the mandatory doctor’s appointment and the requisite blood tests as well as the gym membership that I had avoided for far too long.
But probably the hardest thing to confront was “that” discussion I had with my own children.
The loss of my brother and the way that we said our farewells at his funeral service didn’t quite do it for me. I know David’s family were emotionally distraught and had sought my help in organising his funeral, but they struggled in dealing with all the questions that were thrown at them. It wasn’t the funeral directors fault. David’s children just weren’t prepared for the process. And because of this I felt that we somehow short changed the one opportunity we had to celebrate my brother’s life.
As ironic as it was, only a week before David passed away, the two of us went to one of those retirement expos and as we passed a stand that was promoting pre-paid funerals. I still recall David laughingly calling out to the funeral director “No…I’m not ready yet”
And I guess that’s so true for all of us. However David’s words, and his subsequent funeral jolted me into realising that for the sake of my own children I owed them the respect to at least share with them some of my thoughts on how I wanted to be remembered.
So at our next family meal, over a bottle or two of my finest red wine I shared with my kids how I wanted my life to be celebrated. I still remember there were a few tears but more laughs and I know as tough as it was by the end of the night we all appreciated having that tough conversation.