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Celebration of Life

Posted by terrepruitt on May 28, 2011

This evening I went to a funeral of a man I did not know.  He was a former boss of my husband.  He was a huge influence in my husband’s life, in his career.  According to my husband he was more of a mentor and a teacher than a person that dictates tasks for you to carry out. He was one of those bosses that you are lucky to have when you get one.  A boss who actually inspires you to be a better employee, a better person.  This is what I thought my husband was saying when he talked about this man.  Even so a funeral is not something you look forward to.  They are sad and uncomfortable.  I am one of those people who believe that grieving is a very personal thing and we all do it differently.  If you are one that sits in the pew and weeps loudly, that is fine, but that is not to say that the person next to you with a dry eye cares any less.  Everyone grieves in their own way.  No one can say what is right and what is wrong.  Not having known the man nor his wife, I was a little curious when we walked up to the door and the smiling tiny figure introduced herself as his wife.  Her smile was so big and genuine.  She lit up more when she heard my husband’s name.  We stood right inside the doorway so I heard her greet everyone as they arrived.  She was happy to see and meet everyone that came up.  She was allowing herself to feel joy as the friends who loved her husband came to celebrate his life.

When she got up to speak that is what she said, she said we were there to celebrate his life.  She admitted that it was sad and that we will miss him, but he was so happy and positive the gathering was to be a celebration.  She said she was looking forward to hearing stories about her husband.  She said she was looking forward to the laughter.  She said that while there might be tears, while there will probably be tears, they will be tears of love.  Wow!  It was amazing.  “Tears of love.”  (I love that!) 

I am not sure, but it sounded like he might have been sick for a while and maybe even suffering so maybe not having him suffer was a relief.  I know I would hate to see my loved ones suffer.  I cannot speak to the actual background, I can only tell you what I saw and this woman was truly celebrating the LIFE (not the death) of her husband.

All the people who spoke confirmed what my husband said and more.  They all said that this man was positive and he always smiled.  A large group of his employees and co-workers were there and they all said he was a great boss.  It was awesome.  I really don’t think I have EVER heard so much laughter at a funeral.  It was amazing.  When someone dies, it is beyond sad, there are sooooo many reasons to be sad; they will be missed, they will miss things to come that are happening here and sharing that sadness is a way people begin the healing process and begin to move on.  There is also great healing to be had from a celebration.  Laughter is a great thing.  Tears are always going to come, but there will not always be a chance to sit and hear stories and tell stories and laugh about the stories.  It was nice that this gathering was held to allow for people in his life to speak of the great times they had with him.  The widow said she enjoyed the stories and the laughter.  Even if this celebration only gave her a few hours of relief from tears it really was a celebration of life.

10 Responses to “Celebration of Life”

  1. niachick said

    Death is a part of the cycle of life. To me, and this is a very PERSONAL matter, funerals are a waste of time. I don’t want a funeral. I want to be cremated and have my ashes scattered on the winds. If a group of people want to get together to do that, great, but don’t call it a funeral…call it a celebration of life. This woman had it right. As humans, we tend to grieve the loss of a loved one for selfish reasons rather than allowing their spirit to be released unto the heavens, the universe, wherever. I’m delighted that you had the opportunity to meet this woman whose bright light shines in the midst of heartbreak. That’s true service. Thanks for posting!!! Jill

    Like

    • Death is a part of the cycle of life and one of the people that spoke at the celebration mentioned that. Death can be personal as with the beliefs of what happens after death. I believe that grieving is personal — everyone does it in their own way. Since everyone does it in their own way, I don’t think there is any wrong or right way. I don’t believe that funerals are a waste of time because I believe that for some people they are what needs to happen. For some it is part of death. It is part of life. It is part of the cycle. But they are not for everyone and they are different for everyone. I like the “trend” I am seeing. I am seeing funerals follow the same path as weddings — in that they are becoming more tailored toward the individual(s). Now-a-days you can do whatever you want for a wedding. And it seems that funerals are going that direction too. One does not have to have a somber event in order to honor the one that has died. It can be whatever is best for the person that died AND the ones left to go on with the hole that is left. For some a temporary filling of that hole with a day of somberness, tears and sorrow is what is needed, for others the temporary filling can be of stories and laughter and tears of joy.

      I don’t believe either way is more correct than the other. As I said, the event that occurs should match the person that died AND also fill the needs of the people left. I just love that there are different ways in which to work through such a difficult time. Since grieving is thought to be somewhat selfish, I prefer to spend my time with others reminiscing about the life and times of the one that will be missed. I also think that the sorrow might never go away entirely and since it will — maybe — always be there, it is nice to put it on hold. I think that laughing through the tears is ok.

      Things change and so might my ideas, feelings, and beliefs on this. I was in awe of this woman who mourned the loss of “the love of her life” with a bright smile that was a tribute to what a positive man he was.

      Thank you for sharing your ideas on this very personal subject. XOXO

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  2. I love it! I love how open and caring she was and how she used positive energy to overcome a somber event. Beautifully told Terre.

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  3. suzicate said

    Sounds like this wonderful man had an equally wonderful wife. We do all grieve differently, there is no right or wrong way…it’s a personal process.

    Like

    • Yes, it does appear that she is wonderful too.

      And one of the points of my post is, what you said, there is no right or wrong way . . . as you have just experienced in your life – people grieve in many different ways. I was sharing that a “funeral” could be a “celebration of life” it doesn’t have to be a somber event.

      So nice to see you here, SC! Hugs to you!!!!!

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  4. Indeed his wife is wonderful. From this man I would have expected no less from his associations. He was very much my friend and teacher in a time of my life that I was, as reminded by a friend and old co-worker at this celebration, rather stubborn and steadfast. “It was John’s way and there was no other way.” he said laughing. My employment at Peripheral Land, Inc. shaved off that dark edge from my personality and added some areas that I am so glad are there and some memories that can only be classified as legendary. My mentor often told potential clients that our company was the best because of the people. I believe it was as good as it was because of the person. The mentor. My friend. Frank may you be stirring the pot as much wherever you are today as you did for me.

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    • Legend . . . . . .DARY!

      I am glad that you had such a great friend and mentor. I am aware of a few of the techniques and habits that you have, it was interesting to me to learn that many of them (if not all) came from Frank’s teachings.

      Thank you for reading and commenting, Love.

      Like

  5. pegbur7 said

    I love that you quoted Barney above! This post was great. This reminded me a lot of my brother’s service. It was more people telling great stories about him. We plan to have a celebration of his life on July 2nd and we plan on it being more joyful than sad. He would have wanted it that way. Great post.

    Like

    • I got the impression from posts (between yours and SuziCate’s) that your brother was a very giving person and, while there was an idea of what he did, the FULL extent was not known until after he died and everyone talked about all the things he did. So with that right there it is a celebration of life. From what I understand he did a lot of things and was not one to “brag” about what he did and y’all learned a lot about him. I probably had all of that in the back of my mind when I was typing up the post.

      But again, I feel the need to keep saying that this is not THE way to grieve, THE way, the RIGHT way for people to grieve is in THEIR own way. It just happens that this widow’s way was a celebration.

      (I love How I Met Your Mother. I think it is a really good show even though Barney is a hound dog!)

      Thanks for visiting!

      Like

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