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Gratitude – A precious gift to the living

Why wait for eulogies and obituaries?

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In early 2020, an unexpected, unwelcome guest entered our country and proceeded to create havoc across homes and lives.  As of the last count, the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 has claimed over half a million lives; beautiful, full, rich lives that I have been reading about in obituaries.  Did the people who perished unexpectedly get a chance to hear how special they were, how loved they were, how much impact their presence had created in the lives of the people they had touched?  While some did, many probably did not.  I have been wondering for quite some time now why people wait to craft the perfect eulogy or obituary to convey heartfelt tributes to their loved ones – a thought that resulted in a book aptly titled, “Why Wait for Eulogies”.

Ariana Huffington has said about herself, “I’m passionate. I find if I really believe something, I want to put my entire being behind it.”  Like Ariana, I decided to put my entire being into thoughtfully expressing gratitude to ten friends, not realizing the deep joy a simple act of gratitude would spill forth.  My friends were surprised; they were taken aback, and most of all each of them was genuinely touched by this gesture. 

“Honestly, I was very emotional and flabbergasted reading this. The gestalt of this surprised and overwhelmed me and brought me to tears.  It is not too often that someone takes the time to think about the impact you have had on their life and pays a tribute.  Seeing this on paper moved me.  I’d like to believe that this is the person I am and have been all my life; work and life have a strange way of imposing self-doubt on your capabilities.”

Okay, I cried the first time I read this.  I had to go and make a cup of tea and sit and read and reread this.  I don’t make friends easily.  I can be tough and unapproachable and I don’t like to pretend so that often puts people off.  So true friendship is a gift.”

“Your words for me just brought tears to my eyes.  I always try to live in the moment and never thought I had gone through so much in my life and achieved so many things.  Thank you so much for writing this.”

This unimagined, incredible, happiness generation cycle was a reminder to me to recognize more thoughtfully; a nudge to spend the time, to think about, and articulate what people truly mean to me.  In a world where leaders are often seen as role models, what if each of us became leaders and role models for others on spreading gratitude?  I somehow get the feeling that this simple act will leave both the giver and receiver with oodles of warm vibes.  And where there are warm vibes, can happiness trail far behind?

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