Why I think about my funeral every day

 

I can picture my funeral clearly, I see the faces of all the people I love and I have even selected the music. My husband hates talking about it, but he knows exactly what I want. Considering I am a healthy 36-year-old woman, I would not blame you for thinking I am little crazy. The truth is, thinking about the end, helps me cherish the good times, get through the hard times and make clearer decisions in life.

 

Only just the other day, I bumped into a long lost friend. We both happened to be on the sideline of our children’s Saturday soccer game. After a quick catch up on all things to do with family, career, and life in general; with tears in her eyes, she spoke about a mutual friend we shared as teenagers. She was dying of cancer. I had heard she was ill but I assumed, given she was young that there might be a chance she would get better. Apparently, there was very little hope left and she was now playing the waiting game. We talked about the fact she never had the chance to have children; and in a flash, the early muddy Saturday morning start, and hoards of screaming children that surrounded us seemed like a dream come true.

 

Through the pain of it all, my friend reflected upon how watching one of her best friends slowly fade away, had changed her life. Everything was thrown into perspective and she was forced to think about her own mortality. The trivial problems that she faced, no longer mattered, and she was so grateful for all that she had.

 

I walked away pondering what we had discussed and felt a heavy heart for my friend who was clearly hurting. I then began to think about the fact we are all playing the waiting game. Problem is we have no idea when our time will come. We can hope and pray we enjoy all the life our body has to offer until old age, but that is never guaranteed.

 

One of the best books I have ever read is ‘The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying’ by Bronnie Ware. Bronnie, a palliative care nurse, recognised the wisdom her patients were sharing in their last days and decided to share it with the world.

 

Here are the top five regrets in her words-

 

  1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me
  2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard
  3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings
  4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends
  5. I wish that I had let myself be happier

 

Each and every regret struck to my core and it was impossible for me to finish reading the book as the same woman I was when I opened it. That is when I decided to think of my funeral on a consistent basis. Not because it is a gloomy thing to do, but because it reminds me I am alive and healthy now. Every time I think of the end, I feel a greater sense of urgency. I no longer want to waste time doing things that don’t enrich my life and the world I live in. I no longer want to be surrounded by people who exhaust me as opposed to inspire me. I make a point of always saying ‘I love you’ to the people I care about, and I never leave the house without hugging and kissing my babies (including my big one).

 

Not so long ago an image went viral online, it was of an ambulance officer in Australia who granted the dying wish of his passenger. An elderly woman who wanted to see the ocean one last time before she went to the hospital to die. He did not hesitate and someone was able to capture the moment from a respectful distance behind them. You did not need a close up to sense the love and power of that moment. It was breathtaking. It was human.

 

Death is as much a part of our life as our birth. There is nothing wrong with thinking about it well before it happens. I recommend you do think about it. As Socrates said ‘Death may be the greatest of all human blessings’. Do not fear the end, fear not living your life to the fullest. My music choices for my funeral may change, and new faces may appear in my vision, but I know for sure the day will come. I pray by then I am able to pass on surrounded by love and with no regrets at all. I hope the same applies to you. 

 

Love and magic

Carlii xxx

 

 

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I don’t believe in Ghosts but I do believe in Kookaburras

 

The Kookaburra, also known as the laughing Kookaburra, is a Native Australian bird famous for its unusual call. Unlike the sweet tweet of a canary, the Kookaburra’s territorial call is better described as a big cackle. I have always loved them and in recent years they have played a significant role in my life. The following stories beg belief and I don’t blame you if you put them all down to coincidence. I prefer however to think that life speaks to me in all kinds of wonderful ways, as it does to you.

 

My Grandmother, whom I affectionately called ‘Nanna’, died several years ago. She was sick for many years and although we were all prepared for the worst, the day she passed felt as though it came much too soon.

 

My Grandmother was the matriarch of our family and we all felt very much lost without her. She was warm, witty and had an irresistible sense of humour. She was a strong woman and only after she died did I learn of all the ways she gave selflessly to the community. The kitchen was her haven and she was a master baker. I dearly miss her famous Christmas pudding and Passion fruit Cheesecake. According to my Grandmother, sugar gave you energy, cream was a good source of calcium and butter, well that just made everything taste better.

 

Soon after my Grandmother passed, my Grandfather noticed a baby Kookaburra would come and visit him every afternoon. In no time at all he began feeding his newly found friend. When my Grandfather told us about his cheerful encounter, we all suggested it was Nanna making sure he was okay. It made us all happy to know he found comfort in this new daily event.

 

The first Mother’s Day after my Grandmother passed, the entire family came together to visit my Grandfather and honour our dearly missed Nanna. My grandparents lived on a river and we all decided to have a picnic by the water. When we arrived down to the picnic area my Mother called out “where should we set everything up?”; As if from out of nowhere, a beautiful big Kookaburra flew down and sat under the shade of one of the biggest trees. We knew immediately that was the place. We acknowledged the synchronicity. Whether it was the spirit of my Grandmother or not, we some how felt connected to something greater.

 

 

If that was not enough for me to read the signs, the next encounter had me convinced. My husband and I were facing a challenging time due to a health concern he had and we were considering making a sea change. I was so worried and confused, as I was driving home one day I said out loud “Nanna I am so confused, please tell me what we should do”. As I approached our street, I gasped in amazement and could hardly believe my eyes; There sitting proudly on our street sign was a magnificent, almost ethereal looking, Kookaburra. I knew immediately there was no need for us to move and that everything would be okay.

 

Today we rarely go to a park without meeting a Kookaburra and every now and then one sits in the big Eucalyptus tree outside our back door. My children affectionately call every Kookaburra they see ‘Grandma’ and in some ways it is comforting for them also. Though it may all be wishful thinking, I see every encounter as a magical whisper from another dimension.

 

I believe Life is constantly trying to talk to us in a language we can understand. Have you ever turned on the radio and the words of a song seem to speak to you personally? Or had your attention drawn to a book and picked it up only to discover it offered you answers to something you had been questioning. Think about that feeling you have when your awareness stumbles across these magic moments, you know it must be more than pure coincidence, but your not sure what it is, it is Life. It is that source of life that we are all connected to and I believe our soul remains connected even beyond our physical existence. It is why so often we hear people saying they feel their loved ones close even when they are gone. 

 

Life is magic and when we open our mind, heart and soul to the possibility that there is more to this world than meets the eye; we may discover a whole new reality we could never see before.

 

I will never stop missing my Grandmother but from now until that time comes when we are in the clouds together, I will look to the trees and listen out for the famous cackle of a Kookaburra and know she is nearby. 

 

 

Love and magic

 

Carlii xxx