- Thoughts for inspired living

September 1, 2009

Living Eulogies

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 8:14 am

Watching the funeral Mass of Senator
Ted Kennedy
this past weekend and hearing the various eulogies, I was struck with a novel idea – Living eulogies.

It seems odd to me that we share our most vivid and heartfelt memories with a corpse. I have this silly notion that a person would enjoy hearing your eulogy while they are alive. And it’s my further sense that delivering it would make you feel wonderful too.

So how come we don’t do it? Fear? Embarrassment? (fill in your excuse here).

What moving thing can you say now that you are saving until someone dies?

Notice that eulogies are filled not only with glowing memories, but also with unvarnished truth. Nothing is held back as you express caring and cathartic words and feelings.

A living eulogy can be delivered at any age. Think of it as a new birthday tradition. Reminds me of two stories I told my son and grandson last night at dinner . . .

When I attended grade school, we were graded by numbers rather than letters. Instead of an “A+” being the highest score, we were given a 95. An “A” was a 90, a “B+” was an 85, a “B” equaled 80. You get the idea. You were awarded first honors in our school if you received all 90s and 95s on your report card. It was indicated by a little commemorative card attached to the report card – quite the get! When I was fortunate enough to bring home first honors, with mostly 90s and an occasional 95, my father’s reaction was not one of praise. He would ask me, “How did Joe Mayberry do?” Joe was the smartest kid in our class. He had all 95s.

The second story came later in my teens when I worked summers for my father in construction. He took a vacation week during the last summer I worked for him. In my father’s absence, the bricklayers invited me to eat lunch with them in the shanty (a small trailer that housed the plans and drawings and served as my father’s office). Each day of his vacation, one of the guys would tell me this wonderful story they heard about me from my father. I could have caught an entire swarm of seven year locusts with how wide my mouth was open. “My father said that?”

It’s not that we don’t have these feelings, we too often don’t express them to the person. I believe we do a disservice to ourselves and others when we engage in this practice.

There seems to be plenty of room for admonishment in life and precious little room for praise. I’m not recommending that you turn over a new leaf if this applies to you. I’m only suggesting that you get a little religion. Find something minor to praise in someone you care about and let them know it. It opens up a new line of communication with them and is the ultimate Win-Win – you both feel good.

A Living Eulogy: A great way to “Rest in Peace” while we’re all still living.

All the best,



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