Three thoughts seem to unite into a theme for me lately:
- My friend Traci gave a touching eulogy to her grandfather, in the fall of 2007. That was the beginning of a Big Shift in my life.
- I once read (possibly by Dale Carnegie) that you could measure a life by the number of people who come to your funeral. The idea is that no one fakes that. They must have been moved by something: they aren't trying to impress you.
- MacLean's magazine dedicates the last page of every weekly edition to an obituary for a regular, non-famous citizen. 90% of the column is about their loved ones and their impact on their community, and then whammo, the last paragraph explains how they passed away. Week after week, its impact really adds up and makes you think.
The truth is that I want to do something much bigger. Possibly out of vanity (a LOT of things stem from vanity), but ostensibly out of goodwill and altruism. I want a project that is bigger than me, and something that will really contribute to a community. Both my Mom and Dad are stellar examples of this in their own lives.
Aha, but which community? Alas, I have decided that it will not be St Louis, as great as it is, and as wonderful as the people are here. It is just too far from home. I have missed a lot of funerals for major people (in my life) on PEI. That really bothers me.
I don't know when, exactly, and I don't know where, but I want to move on. I want people lined around the block at my funeral, because I've done something that moved them to pay respects.
This is random but an interesting tribute to the character of Jean Beliveau, the legendary Montreal Canadien hockey player who defined 'classy'.
I once saw a biography of Jacques Plante. Also a legend, he was an eccentric goalie who played for the Habs and famously pioneered the goalie mask. Much later, he lived in poverty in Switzerland, estranged from his glory days and from his team.
When Plante died, only one Canadien traveled to his funeral in Switzerland: Jean Beliveau.