RIP, friends

I attended a funeral service on Saturday. A very sad, somber and sobering service, more so even,  than your standard funeral for several reasons. The coffin that greeted funeral goers contained that of a 30-year old young man who’d died of a massive heart attack, while in the company of ‘friends’. Sitting here peacefully at age 32, that alone, touched me. We all know life is short, but not 30 years short, typically. As I looked around the small chapel, attached to the funeral home, where the service was held, I was also struck by how many of the approximate 130 seats were empty. Of the 130 seats, over a hundred were empty. The room contained no more than 25 people, including the funeral directors. A pitiful turnout to celebrate the life of an individual who was happiest in the company of others and was always willing to give his last to help another. Whether his last was money, time or energy, he would offer it to you with a smile. At the time of his death, he’d opened his home to someone who’d needed a place to stay. Sadly though, as I looked around his service, I couldn’t find any of those people he would so effortlessly and kindly assist with their lives. They couldn’t take a minute out of their continued life to appreciate someone who’d been a friend to them. And now obvious they were never his friends in life, it was still disconcerting that they couldn’t still couldn’t see past themselves in his dying.

“It was as if he were never here,” was a comment voiced during a discussion I was having about this individual. So powerful in the sentiment, that that comment will always remain with me, because of what it represented. The truth is, he WAS here, and I’m sure he never thought his life would end with only twenty people celebrating him. Most of us have more family than that who would at least come for a free meal (granted there was no repast at this service, but still) or to see what you looked like ‘going home.’ As I continued my lament about how disrespectful and unappreciative people are, I was struck with a thought that began whispering itself to me last year. ‘It’s about who you surround yourself with.’ And that’s when I started making some changes. I used to believe that as long as you knew a person’s character, you could still be around them because you’d know how to deal with them. But the older I get, the more I realize that’s not true. It’s never worth it to have in-genuine people in your circle because they will never have your best interests in their heart, only what they can take. And that will last until the day you die, and possibly beyond, as this man, who died on June 9, still has an apartment occupied by someone who didn’t even think enough of him to bid him a final farewell. 

So I began focusing on genuine, loving and reciprocal relationships. I want to invest in others who want to invest in me. As I journey down this new road, that has meant the death of some friendships and the severe limiting of other relationships, which has not been easy, but has proven well worth it to date. So though I hated to bid ado to such a young, selfless soul, I was reaffirmed in my decision to bid ado to those meaningless relationships that I’d held onto for way too long. RIP!

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