Sunday, March 28, 2010

Deep Thoughts and Future Plans

I went to a funeral this afternoon.

Not to come in on a depressing note after a few day hiatus from blogging, but there is something about funerals that really sucks...

... and there is also something amazing.

And both things haunt you all day and you can try to write about the comically mundane, but what comes out feels fake and you end up deleting it a bunch of times.

What sucks is this...

There is a wife climbing into a cold, empty bed... probably huddling to "her side," aching for the warmth that slept mere inches away for twenty years. 

There is a teenage daughter wondering who will interrogate future boyfriends, teach her to drive, walk her down the aisle.

There is a mother who buried her child today and is supposed to somehow sleep tonight.

Nothing really takes away from the suckiness of all that stuff.  And the fact that after the meals and flowers and cards dissipate, the pain remains.  That still really sucks.

But the something amazing is this...

Those left behind, the onlookers to the family's grief and even the family themselves, get a second chance.

When you say good-bye to a great person you start to understand what made that person great.

I was not close with this person.  In fact, I only met him once, at our wedding.  But he impacted my husband's life and apparently quite a few others. 

Listening to the words of his closest friends I realized that two things really seem to matter when you evaluate a person's life.  Two things these speakers repeated over and over, as though throwing a lifeline to the family.  Something that wife and daughter and mother could grab onto and think that somehow everything would turn out okay, that somehow it was all worth it.

These are the two things...

That person's love for their family (in the broad sense of the word) and how that person used his life to help others.

I don't know why this stood out to me, and I know there is more to life than that.

But I also know that when people go to a funeral that is what they want to hear about.  And it really makes you think.

About your family and how precious every second is... even the seconds that seem like hours because your toddler is throwing a tantrum in the grocery store or your baby is crying hysterically in the backseat of the car.  Even when you think you might explode if you have to wash one more dish, give one more bath, or watch one more Elmo movie. 

And it makes you think about what you are doing with your life.

How you are helping and how you are teaching your children to help.

Sometimes I get so sucked into this routine of making it through the day.  Getting to tomorrow without going crazy.  Finding things to fill my time.

That I forget there are others really struggling to make it through the day... and not in the I-want-to-make-it-to-the-weekend-so-we-can-have-fun sense of the word.  But real struggles.

And I know there are a lot of ways to help, and while I do a little something here or there, it is just not that important to me.

But I want it to be.

Which brings me to some plans I hinted about in this post.

We want to go abroad.

It scares me to write those words, but I want to be honest here and that is honestly where we are heading.

And it feels crazy because we have two kids and live a really comfortable life and have 24-hour babysitters (I mean, grandparents) right next door. 

My husband is a teacher and we are currently exploring the international school scene, but looking for places we could really help. 

I know there are a lot of ways to help here, and it may be a while before (and if) we actually go, but it is something we wanted to do since before we were married and the desire just won't go away. 

And going to that funeral today felt like a big old shove in that direction. 

So we'll see what happens.  I may publish this post, go throw up in the bathroom, and proceed with a follow-up post illuminating my newfound desire to live the remainder of my life in the little, yellow house we rent from my in-laws.

Or I may not.


  1. That's a big decision! I couldn't do it... it just isn't for me; however, if you can - then I say go for it. It would be an amazing experience.

    As to the funeral. They certainly have a way of putting things in perspective.

    The first time I felt Hayden move when I was pregnant was at a funeral. It was amazing and profound. I'll remember it always.

    - Melissa

  2. I think funerals always move us, remind us of how unpredictable life is, how temporary.

    It's wonderful that you're even contemplating such a big step, such a leap from your comfort zone of home and in-laws. I hope you do it. You might always wonder if you don't...

  3. The passing of a life is the sort of event that does make you stop and think awhile, evaluate your own life and count your blessings. We are most of us guilty or rushing from one thing to the next, not stopping to really appreciate what we have too. You echo my thoughts exactly on this.

    My husband and I are English - thanks to my career and a very supportive husband we have lived and worked in the UK, Ireland and Belgium before coming to the US when I was offered a new position here. I am so glad that we got to experience living in different countries and got to know and love so many people from quite different cultures. It opens up your mind to the big wide world beyond home. At the same time it is a massive upheaval any time you make a move like that and it takes a long time to adjust and to make new friends. All our moves also happened before our daughter was born. I would still consider a move again - my husband is now the one bringing home possibilities - but only to somewhere that would be a safe and healthy environment for our daughter.

    We love living here in the US and when you have children it is a great place to bring them up. However, with all grandparents and extended family living a 10 hour flight and 5,000 miles away is the big downside. We have no support network here which can make life hard, and also our daughter is missing out on time spent with her grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. So that part is definitely something to give a lot of consideration to.

    But if you want to do it, then go for it. We only live once, so we have to make the most of this life. Also doing something like this while your children are young and more adaptable (no big issues such as school changes to consider etc) is going to be easier than waiting until later in their lives. It could be a wonderful adventure for you all.

    Hope that all helps!

  4. We lost my father in law two months ago so I know what you mean about funerals taking you to a different place. Good luck with your plans. If it's meant to be, I believe that your heart will let you know and that the path will be clear. I applaud you for looking to make your impact on the world. I'll be back to see what happens!

  5. That sounds like an amazing, and somewhat scary, life plan! I know if it is meant to be, you will make it happen.


Related Posts with Thumbnails