Why do we wait to tell people how great they are?

I just returned from a funeral for the mother of a good friend. Beth’s mother, by all reports, was a wonderful, generous, intelligent and strong willed family center. A fantastic hostess, gifted decorator, and ever a listener, recommender and connector. She garnered 6 euolgies, including one from each child, two from the neighbors, her freshman roommate from college (the deceased was 76 years old, to show the length of the friendship), and even a beloved niece who considered her a substitute mother.

All in all it was beautiful. I sat wondering, as one must, who would come to my funeral and would they say things as nicely? Would I stand the test of time with friends? What final things would be said as to my lot in life?

My good old friend (qualifying that by saying long time friend, never “old”) Sunny Bates was standing around with a group of us afterwards, and she voiced what most of us were thinking: “Why do people wait until you’re dead to say these things about you?”

I felt this is an interesting topic for Tom’s Uplift Academy to discuss at some future date. If we want to “get good into the world,” have funerals before people are dead!

Of course, at that point it is not really a funeral – it is more of a life-affirmation ceremony. If you could hear people tell you how you touched their lives, hear what a great host, a generous giver, a bridger of worlds you are —what would that make you do? If you didn’t hear what you wanted – would it give you pause? How would you change knowing what would be said at your funeral, while you still had a chance to add to the list of compliments?

I don’t know what to call this. I’m sure I’m not the first person to describe this. It just seems timely and current for me, so I’m sharing it.