As a writer I have covered a lot of subjects with many an interesting character or theme. While getting to know some I have written about or otherwise gotten to know, I have been asked to help with their eulogy on more than one occasion.
The request always begins with “just a few words to sum up the last 70 years of his or her existence, something simple.”
The art of a creating a successful eulogy is not as simple as the presentation of the history of one’s life, that’s just a timeline and the family usually can handle that. If a person had a big family and lots of survivors then it’s more a matter of those folks sharing stories, sometimes with “censorship” to add a more personal touch.
I am usually assigned to help with those “few kind words,” a poetic summary of all of the above. The most effective way is to convey the message considering the perspective of the departed and those that survive. I’d like to share a couple of my personal favorites.
Waiting at Trails End
Gosh all this fuss over me, with all the flowers, music, and even a necktie or two. From where I’m sitting it all looks so nice, ya’ll really went to a lot trouble for me. I see some are crying while others are smiling, hard to tell if you’re missing me or happy I’m gone but one thing for sure, it’s real nice at Trails End. The view is so clear; guess you need to be careful what you scratch.
You see up here there is no pain, stress, or struggle. The weather is perfect, the surroundings are unlike anything you could imagine and beauty is everywhere. You would not believe some of the old friends I have run into, no… I mean you really wouldn’t believe some that made it. Proves to me that even if you can’t find your truck on Sunday morning, forgiveness can be found, just ask the Trail Boss… he’ll listen.
Now I want ya’ll to stop your bawling, I ain’t run off and left you, I was just promoted to a better position a little further up the trail. Yes sir, remember how you made fun of me taking all that time at the crossroads making up my mind which trail to take; don’t seem so stupid now, does it? I’ll let you in on a secret; I took the wrong trail a time or two but I was never too proud to turn tail and head back in the right direction.
I want to thank you all for going to so much trouble seeing me off, and I hope to see, each and every one of you again. If you get lost along the way and need a little help, just ask the Trail Boss, he’s listening. I’ll even put a special word in for a couple of you; a little extra attention might help. Look forward to seeing you, there’s plenty of room for all of us at Trails End …
Where Will Our Memories Dwell
Memories are not given nor received, they are shared. A memory is unique in that it’s more often spontaneous than planned. A memory is a special gift that didn’t start out to be noticed but ultimately those involved take notice. Memories are formed in that rare moment when those fortunate enough to be in that place become a part of that memory.
When one passes from this life, amazingly those memories that were shared remain as clear as the moment in which they were formed. Those that survive may share these memories over and over again and can do so without fear of them ever going away. Memories are a blessing for those to cherish, who shared that special place in time.
Where do those memories dwell? In the hearts and minds of those that remain, with those in which we share that special place in time.
Smokey Burns lives in Waxahachie. He is a noted creative writer, singer/ songwriter and mentor to aspiring young artist. He is the author of ‘Stormy and the Christmas Runt’ set to release soon. Please contact him at Smokeyburnstexas@gmail.com