Living as we who have lost must live

Every day of our lives, we are provided with yet another opportunity to learn a little more about life from another of perspectives. This is one of those days.

In What we can learn from the dead, Alan Stokes (Sydney Morning Herald, May 16, 2017) challenges us to see a funeral as a learning experience.

Stokes observes that “ …. farewelling a loved one is a most wonderful thing; an essential ingredient for a good life … it is a practice ground for becoming a better person.”

“By the age of 25, the average person will have lost maybe a few aunts and uncles, perhaps a pop too. By 35, maybe nan’s gone as well … by 45, probably dad. By 55, it’s mum and even a sibling.

“Of course, everyone loses strangers more often. For instance, we have a choice when we lose someone such as the much-revered ABC journalist Mark Colvin: to feel defeated or to learn from the dead how to live a good life.

While many people see funerals as events to avoid, Alan Stokes suggests a very different perspective: “Every funeral is an opportunity to reflect on what makes time well spent. Is it earning more money only to die as a rich self-centred success? Or is it better to take chances in the hope of being remembered as someone who had a go at making the world a better place, even if only one person at a time? Or can you achieve a mix of the two?”

“But here’s an idea: go along to a funeral and listen to what a loved one achieved, against all odds; what an impact he or she had on people; how in many ways only in death can we see what it means to have made a meaningful attempt at using our scarce time here to everyone’s benefit.”

For the full story go to the SMH website:

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1 Response to Living as we who have lost must live

  1. helendunne says:

    Thank you for another topical, thought-provoking good read.

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