HOME ARCHIVE 2018

My thoughts after a funeral

By John Toth / Editor and Publisher

It was a brief graveside service and a small crowd. A friend of ours had passed away. He was 67.

It seems like I have been to a lot of funerals lately. Until now, though, they were for people much older than me. This one was for someone not much older.

He died of heart and liver failure. It was quick, in just a few months. He was a very nice person, always had a good attitude and loved cats.

Before he died, he made sure that they were going to be cared for. He was not married and had no children.

We celebrated his life. His neighbors told stories of what a smart, kind and fair person he was.
At funerals, we focus on the positives. In this case, though, over the decades we knew him, we never saw any negatives.

It made me think a little. How would I be remembered when I die? I don’t plan to do that any time soon, but what would they say about me?

Perhaps some would remember the mistakes I’ve made decades ago and hold it against me. If I could do a redo, I would, but what’s done is done. I just hope that I have done enough good things since then to sort of cancel out the bad stuff.

They are not really all that bad, but I would not do them again. There were many other things though that I would do the same way. They worked out really well.

When my mother died at age 60, I was trying to think of anything bad that she had done. I couldn’t think of any. She died way too young. I was 30 at the time and starting a family. It came out of nowhere. One day I was talking to her, and the next day she was gone.

She didn’t have to worry about what people would say about her, because everything she had done was good. She risked her life and safety for me, and she gave me an opportunity to grow up in this great country.

She never even had a fight with her neighbors. That’s more than what I can say. I’ve had a few. Thinking back, it was all stupid stuff. I should have just rolled with it and kept the peace. I have been a much better neighbor since then, no matter how good or bad the neighbor is. I have some pretty good neighbors, though.

My mother didn’t do anything bad, but she did a few things wrong. She didn’t quit smoking, which is what eventually killed her. She didn’t like going to doctors, so she couldn’t find out that her illness, related to smoking, was killing her. She never gave me a clue that something was wrong because she didn’t want to bother me. I wish she would have.

I’ve learned from those mistakes. I grew up around second-hand smoke. A lot of people my age did. But I never smoked, and the second-hand smoke didn’t damage my lungs.

I don’t like going to doctors all that much either, but I am getting my annual checkups, keeping track of my numbers and taking care of whatever health needs I have. High cholesterol runs in my family. I’ve got it covered.

My mother’s funeral was small, like my friend’s. It was peaceful, and it made me reflect on what’s important in life, just like my friend’s funeral did. Funerals have a way of doing that.

And when people gather around to celebrate my life, I hope they remember me for what I was always striving to be and forget about the little missteps along the way. And if they go first, I’ll do the same for them.

Time to hit the gym for a good workout so that I can postpone all this stuff for a while – a long while.