Montgomery Burns, of Simpsons fame, once called sitting the great equalizer. But that's not true. Death is the great equalizer, because it is the result for everyone. It doesn't matter how your death comes - whether you linger for years in an assisted living facility or you plow your crossover vehicle into the back of a slow moving combine on a rural county road - there is no way to escape it. It will come for each and every one of us sometime, somewhere.
But death doesn't so much impact the dead as it does the living, now does it? Well, okay, yes, it does impact the dead in a very abrupt, significant, and final sort of way. But that's it. It comes and it is done. Not so much for those of us who stick around. It sort of lingers in the lives of those around the deceased in a way that can never be measured.
Unfortunately during our time alive, many of us spend too much time chasing and worrying about the wrong things. We make ludicrous attempts to accumulate wealth and possessions that in the end we can't take with us. I mean, you can throw benjamins down into the grave with the casket, or maybe stuff the lining with coins, but it is not going to do any good down there. And yes, much of the wealth that you accumulate during your lifetime is in the name of your family and your kids or something, but that is not the point. The point is that once you pass, and that lid closes on the casket and the burly men with the shovels start throwing dirt back down into the hole, the most important thing that you leave behind with those who cared are moments and memories. And the form in which those take will be the direct result of the type of person that you are.
And it works in reverse, too. It's sort of sad that the only times we bother to sit down and celebrate people's lives are once those lives have ended, but that's just how it is sometimes. And that's the only way in which to properly observe a passing. The wonderful thing about this custom though is that once the gathering starts and the stories start to unfold and the memories begin to flood back is when we all get the true sense of who the person was. Because it is never the ailing loved one in the hospital bed that comes to mind, it's your mother calling you in for dinner at the top of her lungs, it's your father attempting to test out the slip and slide, and your grandfather taking you fishing. That's what comes back to the living of the dead. And if you lived you life the right way then your legacy will be handed down the right way and your death will have the right meaning. Funny how in life we realize the meaning of life, isn't it?