This blog chronicles my life as I try to balance healthy lifestyle habits with my husband's penchant for pizza rolls and my daughter's desire to watch iCarly 8 hours a day. It contains a mostly humorous, kind, and somewhat spiritual look at everyday life and the people who live it.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Gift that keeps on giving

I just posted about a funeral I attended, a funeral for a child, which has left me shaken and despairing for his parents and siblings.  At first I thought I wouldn't post again today but I felt dissatisfied with the brevity of the previous post and also felt the post lacked the true essence of how I feel about life -- and death.

The boy's father created a beautiful picture of his son's life using anecdotes of their family's life.  He talked about trips they had taken, famous people met, baseball caught, golf balls signed, and even the time his son caddied for ChiChi Rodriguez.  The father wove a tale of a beautiful life.  He began the eulogy with the words "My son was a lucky guy..."  I was astounded at the father's ability to move beyond his grief, shock, anger, and despair to truly capture the spirit of his son.  I think everyone present felt lucky to be there, even as tears streamed down our faces.  The son was definitely alive again as his father enriched us all by sharing his son's joyful life experiences.

Last year our family started a new tradition: giving experiences for gifts as opposed to the tangible clothes, toys, "stuff" we usually gave each other.  It began with Steve's 40th birthday for which my daughter and I gifted him a day as a fantasy Formula One RaceCar driver.  We all loved the experience and decided to make "experience giving" our tradition.  This year for our daughter's birthday she went indoor skydiving.  Steve's birthday present was tickets for all of us to see a Boston Red Sox's game.  My birthday present will be for our family to go white water rafting.  For Christmas this year we want to go to the Bahamas.

It took me awhile but I finally figured out that I rarely remember the shirt, or the kitchen gadget, or gift card that I receive as a gift, but I always remember the experiences I have that create those family stories that get told and retold, embellished upon and edited until finally they become our family's history. 

I want a life rich with experiences, memories that I can keep forever.  Those are the gifts that require no storage, no dusting, never go out of style, and never wear out.

And that, my friends, is a gift that keeps on giving.


Karen@StrictlySimpleStyle said...

I too had to attend the funeral of a teenager in January, a lovely 15 year old girl who was tragically struck and killed while crossing the street to catch her school bus.

The death of the young lady taught me the value of appreciating every second that we have with our children. When my own 15 year old daughter tests my patience, I think of the mother of that lovely girl and know that she would give her own life for one more day with her daughter.

Perhaps some day, when the time seems right, you can let the father of that young man know how you took something from that eulogy and used it to better the life of your family members. Somehow I think he will find comfort in knowing that something of value came from that tragic event.

Beth said...

That's a lovely idea Karen and I will definitely be sure to talk with the father next month when our family has "dinner duty."

Deb said...

What a beautiful tribute you gave to this family as well. We can never be reminded enough of what's important to grab onto and never let go...keep making those memories and not sweating the small stuff...