A few weeks ago I attended a memorial service for a family friend, and as the laughter rang in equal measure to the tears that flowed, I remembered Stephen Covey’s words of beginning with the end in mind, and asking yourself what your eulogy would say. And the end of this man’s life – which we all felt was too brief – I call him a resounding success. Because for all the reasons his beautiful family and friends are mourning, none of the reasons include regret.
Here was a man who squeezed the juice from each day. A man who always found something to smile about in each day. To have fun with each day. A man who believed anything could be yours with hard work and perseverance. A man who was quite obviously besotted with his stunning wife of 43 years and spent quality time with her daily. A man who would do a kindness to people whether he knew them or not each and every day – not a big deal. A man who was not just a father to his children, but a friend and co-conspirator with them, so that whenever they had an idea, no matter how crazy, he’d go, “Yeah! Let’s do that!” A man who never sat still unless he was fishing. A man who could walk into a roomful of strangers and walk out with 15 new best friends. A man of great humour, who considered you groaning at his worst jokes the best compliment ever.
A man like this is an asset to the human race and he could have contributed so much more if he were still here, but here is the dichotomy: he left nothing undone.
We will miss him. How could we not? And I don’t want to take away from the complexity of human emotion for his nearest and dearest, but all of us walked out of that memorial service inspired and uplifted rather than weighed down. And I was resolving to myself: “Be more like Bob.” I picture him now with his perennial smile and he’s shaking his head at the idea that he might be an example and an inspiration to us. He never set out to be. He just loved his life.
I want that.
Here’s to beginning with the end in mind. A glorious finish. That our lives might be an inspiration and our eulogies a celebration.