No Regrets

On Saturday we held a life celebration for my father-in-law.

I’d written something to be shared, printing it out in a large font to make it easier for the family friend who was facilitating the event to read: (Memory to share at Stu’s celebration)

I was teary as soon as I walked into the meeting hall, so when the facilitator asked if I wanted him to read my piece or if I preferred to do it myself, I hesitated. I didn’t want to regret not speaking, but I also did not want to fall apart in front of a roomful of people. We agreed to hold off on that decision until the time came.

The ceremony began and I had already accumulated a pile of damp tissues when my nine-year-old niece came up to the podium. Her father brought over a chair for her to stand on so she could reach the microphone, and then she took a deep breath before proceeding to read the thank-you letter she and her two sisters had written for their grandfather. The words she spoke were beautiful and funny and heartfelt, and I cried some more (as did Wildebeest, Zebu, and Zippy).

When she stepped down to a spontaneous round of applause, the facilitator turned to me. Without hesitation I stood, telling him that if my niece could be brave, so could I.

I’d like to say that I read my words in a clear, steady voice and that I maintained eye contact with the audience. I’d also like to say that all the family members caught my inside jokes and laughed. But that’s not how it went. However, I didn’t melt into a complete puddle and I did make it through what I intended to say. Thanks to a petite nine-year-old girl who showed me the way.

Life’s too short for regrets.
Zinnia for Stu

2 thoughts on “No Regrets

  1. Hugs. You were brave.

    Probably nobody minds if the person speaking at a life celebration breaks down. But I wasn’t able to do so at my mother’s funeral. I wrote most of the rabbi’s speech, though.

    • I didn’t feel very brave and I don’t think I came across as very brave, but I’m glad I stood up there.

      I think you’re right that people don’t mind if a person breaks down, but having done that just a year ago after a friend died, I didn’t want to do it again. It’s hard to reel it back in once the tears start flowing. I totally understand you not being able to speak at your mother’s funeral (Zippy and his siblings chose not to speak last weekend), and think it’s wonderful you wrote the rabbi’s speech. I know from all I’ve read of yours that you wrote a beautiful speech, Barb.

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