As I go with my friend through the formalities of tying up the loose ends that will add the period at the end of the life which was her husbands, I've been reflecting on the meaning of it all. After so many years of making decisions together, she now is making decisions for and about the man she dearly loved.
Where and what time do you want to have a funeral service. Burial or cremation? Viewing or memorial? Video, pictures, songs? Who will conduct? Which of these books will memorialize who attends? Do you want the thank you cards to match the sign in book? What kind of urn would you like to hold the ashes? Will you do a committal or keep the ashes yourself? In which papers would you like the obituary to appear and on which day would you like it published? There seems to be no end to the details that need to be worked out - all while still numb.
As seemingly important as it all is - to me - it just isn't. What to me is important is how my friend loved her husband. It's how she stayed by his side for 30 odd years through thick and thin. It's how she lovingly cared for him and delivered him to various doctors appointments and treatments. What's important is the countless hours that she spent (after a full days work) sitting beside him, holding his hand, encouraging him and coaching him through a bravely fought battle.
It's those details that tell me how much she loved him, not how much is spent on the box that will be used for cremating his remains...and yes there is the option to spend up to $600 for that. Maybe some believe $600 means you loved more than the $175 option? Maybe it's a chance to make up for not doing all of those other things while your loved one was alive? I can't be sure what the point is, but it's clear to me that someone knows that people who are hurting might not be thinking clearly.
Each day with someone we love is a precious gift. Even the days when they annoy and drive us nuts. A wise woman once told me that the most precious sound to a widow would be that of her husbands snoring. I believe her.
My point in writing this is as a reminder. My friend pointed out to me that having the remote all to herself was not nearly as satisfying as she at one time imagined. I'm sure there will be many other things that will be true of as well.
What if we all started today to treat those we love as if this was a bonus day - as if we had lost them and then miraculously, gotten them back? What would we do differently? What things that once annoyed us about them would no longer matter at all? We can do that. What might happen if we made the choice to love and appreciate them $600 worth now so that we don't have to spend guilt money to make up for it later?