A Funny Thing Happened

at the Funeral

Jewish funerals are often much more of an “oy vey” experience than an “oh wow” experience.  Not the one I went to a few weeks ago.  The funeral was for a good friend’s father, Lou.  He died at 93. Until two years earlier he drove himself to work 45 minutes from home.  I grew up living a couple of houses down from this family and knew them well.


Lou was a diminutive man. But he lived large, projected a huge presence, and there were always stories circulating about his large life.  It was not necessarily a life that would inspire Sunday school lessons. For example, there was the one about him breaking the bank at a Caribbean casino. Stories like that. He was, as they said, a “character.”


At his funeral the stories were recounted by family and friends.  The audience (yes, audience is a better term than mourners) laughed and, I believe, marveled at this man’s life and the memories he left with those who loved him.  Some of the attendees looked around, uncomfortably, probably unaccustomed to the tone of the event.  But the stories were funny. He was, indeed, the starring character in the stories of a memorable life.


The stories were also inspiring because of how people responded to them. Not that I would necessarily want to lead this man’s life but the stories made me wonder about the stories I might leave behind. What will they be? How might they impact those telling them and those hearing them?


The time to think about this is now. Some of your stories have happened and many, if not most, are waiting to happen. You create them. Write your eulogy now and live that life. Be a character.  (Other Thoughts and Essays)



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