Published on: October 5, 2012
There is almost nothing sadder than the funeral of a young person.
I had to go to one of these yesterday. The 24-year-old son of a cousin died in a tragic accident earlier this week, and we went to what was called a "celebration of life" yesterday morning.
It was an extraordinary event filled with love and memory. The place was packed, and perhaps half the congregation looked to be under 30; I wondered how a death such as this one would affect their thoughts about life and mortality, issues that nobody of that age should need to think about.
I did not know this young man. His dad and I are not close, and I may not have seen this young man in 20 years. But as a parent, sitting in church, it was hard not to think about my own kids.
When I got news of this young man's death, my first instinct was to hug my kids and tell them how much I love them. I was on the road, though, and had to settle for emailing them. I said I wanted to remind them how precious life is, how important it is that they be kind and generous to each other, and to explain in some small way why their Mom and I always worry about them and think about them, even when they think we don't need to. I also wanted them to understand why we always want them to be careful, no matter how safe and invulnerable they think they are.
Most of all, I wanted each of them to know that we love them very much. We can't say those words too often to each other.
I wrote all those things to remind them of how we feel. I think I also wanted to remind myself. Because in life, stuff often gets in the way of what is important.
This week, there was bad stuff. But it forced me to think about the things that matter.
No movie or wine or beer or book recommendations this week. We'll save that stuff for next Friday.
Have a good weekend. Hug your kids and all the people you love.
I'll see you Tuesday.