Saying final goodbyes

Yesterday, we laid my father-in-law to rest.

It’s been a tough couple of weeks since he passed away. My wife and her sister have been running around making arrangements, and it all culminated in his funeral service yesterday.

I wanted to do my part to contribute. I made it a point to make sure that I was there for my wife, our family, and anyone else who needed me.

I also wanted to say goodbye to my father-in-law in my own way. I asked if I could play the piano for his service, and my request was accepted. I offered to play for the entire service, but was told to just play for the meditation. My sister-in-law suggested Prayer of St. Francis and I’ll Fly Away for meditation pieces. I decided to cut the latter song, mainly for length reasons, but I also didn’t know it as well as St. Francis.

There was another reason: I wanted to play another song — my way of sending him off. I asked permission to perform it, and was told yes.

The song in question: Dust In The Wind.

I wanted to do something that was a part of me. The song is by my favorite band. It has always been a favorite song of mine, and it has some deep meaning. I’ve told people that I want the song performed at my own funeral; indeed, I intend to include it in my will as one of my final wishes.

It came off well. I put my heart into it. I’ve always been one to put on a show, but this show wasn’t for me; it was for my father-in-law. I had multiple people tell me after the service that I played beautifully, and it was a wonderful tribute.

We will all need to say goodbye to someone someday. When you do so, do it in a way that’s a part of you. That way, it will always be special.

Throwing out memories

Yesterday, I got into a conversation with someone about getting rid of stuff.  (I have no idea how we got into that conversation.)  I told her that I was a self-admitted pack rat, and (like many other people, I’m sure) I had a tough time with getting rid of things.  How many of you have tried to clean out your closet, your attic, or your basement, come across an item, and have said either “oh that holds fond memories” or “I might need that later”?  I’d bet that if I asked that question in a crowded room, almost every hand would be raised.

She said something profound: “Everything has a story.  When I get rid of something, if, say, I’m giving something away, I’ll tell that person the story behind it.  For example, let’s say I’m getting rid of a dress.  I’ll say, ‘oh, I wore that dress for a friend’s wedding,’ or whatever the story is behind it.  Once I tell the story, I can let it go.”

She gave me some advice: “If you’re getting rid of something, tell someone about it — even if all you do is write it down somewhere.  Even if no one ever reads it, at least the memory is preserved.”

It’s hard to let go.  We place a lot of value in things, whether they’re people, relationships, or inanimate objects.  If something is valuable to you, you gain an attachment to it.  The stronger the attachment, the more difficult it is to let it go.

So the next time you’re getting rid of stuff, tell someone about it — even if you just write it down.  You might find it easier to part ways.