Dear Funeral Director: Don’t just put out my wedding album
Right before I sat down to start this blog about what a memorial video is and how no one ever regrets having one made, I started to think about how annoying I am on Facebook. I post so much that my funeral director should just scroll down my Facebook newsfeed at my wake…not too far down that rabbit hole though, I don’t want to scare my grandkids! I was in college during the prime of MTV’s “Jersey Shore”… enough said.
Recently though, my Facebook spam has been all about the happiest day of my life, my wedding. So, you can’t sue me, but you can unfollow me! These are the memories I will cherish forever, and look back on wishing I could still fit into my wedding dress. Whatever my reflection is these photos are a part of me now.
My husband (cue the gushy, mushy newlywed emojiee face) and I just purchased our wedding album, something I will actively be showing to family, friends and strangers for at least a few months— knowing me though, it will STILL be in the trunk of my car on “standby” for Thanksgiving NEXT YEAR, “did you see my wedding album yet?”
After then, this cherished wedding album will be placed on a table somewhere in my home, then inside a cupboard that will later be buried under whatever my family’s next generation creates. This tangible book which holds my most treasured memories will become just another hidden antique covered in dust.
But you know what…my wedding album will make a comeback. At my funeral…
…yah, this sounds pretty dark and I’m not planning on going anywhere anytime soon, but in reality— who is? We live in a world that is filled with agendas, to-dos and time eating tasks that puts off thinking about our mortality and living in the moment. Before I got into the funeral business I would always think "it will always be there tomorrow” or “I’ll call him/her tomorrow” . But now, as many of us know this is not always the case. No one lives forever.
Now before I went on a tangent, this blog was about something. Oh right, Memorial Tributes. Now think about what your memorial video would be like.
Who is in it? Where are you? What objects surrounds you the most? How many photos are from the photo filter era? When are you wearing the most ridiculous outfit you ever owned? When do you look the most happiest? Answer all these questions and then ask a family member or friend what they think the answer is. Are they right? Or maybe the one who knows your answers is a friend or family member you haven’t talked to in awhile…..
Unfortunately, what brings most people together are funerals and weddings. I’m not going to put full blame on social media, because there was the 1994 movie “Four Weddings and A Funeral” that stays on trend of what I’m saying. However, before there was Facebook, people actually admitted that they lost touch! In today’s world we go so long without seeing our friends and family, however, we have this mindset that we are still connected because we LIKE what they post on Facebook!
If I look back on the people who have been in and out of my life it's shocking to see how many of them were the highlight of my life at one point, but are no longer a part of my reality [some of these people we call “exes”].
You can’t blame them or yourself, people will grow apart. Friends have babies before others, some move away, some surround themselves with people that don’t align with what your friendship was, some are in jobs that aren’t your normal 9 AM to 5PM, or perhaps their jobs aren’t your normal 9 PM to 5 AM schedule.
These people we loose throughout our life unintentionally (because if it was intentional that is a whole other blog game and this isn’t an article from Cosmopolitan) …the friends you made at your first job, grammar school or the friend you became inseparable with after your first college party, they should be remembered in your life story! You must be thinking of someone right now, how could you not? You have history. You have memories. So just like that wedding album you have, will have, or never want, those memories and relationships should be remembered and hopefully there is a photo to reflect to.
As a funeral director, I witness the importance of the funeral wake all the time. People reconnecting with friends they haven’t seen in what seems like forever; families reuniting after miles separating them, and the most authentic scene, when a complete stranger to the family arrives to the receiving line and begins introducing themselves. It begins with a handshake, followed by a story and then a huge embrace. The faces of the family says it all! This stranger gifted the family with new history and knowledge about their loved one even after their death.
Another scenario is when a random photo placed in the memorial video comes up on the screen, but nobody in the family knows who, where, when, what and why about this mysterious photo. It is serendipity that the stranger see’s the photo in the memorial video and is able to solve the mystery. I love creating memorial videos. Not only do these captured moments make you feel closer to your loved one, but it also leads to a larger conversation about their life.
In conclusion, we should acknowledge that our lives are filled with people; from our past, present and those we have yet to meet. And many of them hold puzzle pieces to our life story and we should always celebrate life!
Finally, some advice I should use myself: if you are missing someone from your past, don’t let time go to waste! I can almost, always promise you that the person you are thinking about will show up to your funeral and wish they had more time with you.
One day, hopefully a long time from now, I will have an amazing funeral director who will right click my 1 million facebook photos to compile decades of memories to help tell my story and answer who I was, where I was, when this was, what I did, and why did I wear that ridiculous outfit! My wedding album will be out at my funeral, but there is so much more I want my family and friends to know about me--minus years 2010 and 2011--well, if anything those photos will create a lot of laughter!
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