I was at a funeral the other day, surrounded by the mourning friends and family of a lovely old lady, and listening to her daughter’s heartfelt eulogy as I dwelled on something I have observed. At all the funerals I’ve been to and heard of, I always notice how no one has anything but good memories of the person who has passed.
This seems like quite a natural response, as when we lose someone we love, we are sad and mourn them, and we think of all the things we will miss most about them. Their most lovable characteristics, most memorable traits, and even the habits that once annoyed us, we realise, will be missed. And if there was every anyone who had negative memories of the person, they either choose not to be there or not to express them, in respect of the loss of that life.
Death is something that scares me, as it is just so final. If I were to suddenly die today, what would my regrets be? Are there things I have said and done that I would want to take back or apologise for? What about the things that I never actually got down to saying or doing? Are there people whom I nurse grudges against, which I would regret on finding out that they had suddenly died? These are all questions I have often considered.
I can’t control who I am going to lose and when, as ideal as that would be, but if there is one thing that I’ve taken away from such musings it is that I would not want such regrets. I believe in forgiving and moving on, and not leaving things unsaid.
I remember having a silly fight with a friend when I was about 11, which resulted in us not speaking for several months. This may have continued longer if not for my mother, who on the day before Good Friday approached me about it. She talked of how it was a day of forgiveness, and suggested I speak to my friend and just clear things up. It was an awkward conversation, and I can’t say we ever became very close again, but it felt good to move on from the negativity we had been harbouring towards each other. And yes, she wasn’t dying, but I still feel good that we parted ways pleasantly.
My point is, don’t have regrets. Everyone has fights, and situations vary, but as far as possible, try and move on. Apologise, forgive. It might just make the world a nicer place.