As I walk into the chapel, white roses, poppies, and sunflowers fill the room. The smell is entrancing and instantly takes me back to my mother’s garden. The vividly colored stained glass windows are open and the warmth of the sun glistens on everyone’s skin. A full orchestra plays music and you can distinguish the various instruments. The lively beats bounce off the walls, the sound echoes throughout the halls and can be heard outside. It’s breathtaking!

In the midst of what would normally be heartache, there is an overwhelming sense of joy. It is a celebration of life rather than a loss of one. There are tears, but they are only bittersweet. I watch as loved ones greet each other with warm embraces and soft words of condolence.

As I find my seat, a man in his mid-thirties begins to walk up where the casket is front and center. Everyone becomes silent as he speaks. The music softens to a faint melody in the background. He talks of a woman – a woman he describes as a beautiful and complete individual.

He speaks of a time after his addiction when he had lost all faith in people. His faith was rekindled in her. “She possessed noble qualities, that of which embodied her bold character,” he says.

Three more speakers follow after him. They all have unique stories with similar traits. Each describe in loving details her kind and compassionate personality. The woman’s brother ends the ceremony recalling “she saw the good in people, even when they could not see it in themselves. Her love was abundant and unconditional. She did not judge for she believed herself to be no better than any other. She did not hate for she knew it would only consume the heart. Instead she forgave so that her heart remained open and welcoming. Her wisdom came with age. Her knowledge earned from her ever-growing curiosity of the world. She lived a life that was her own. To be in her presence, was to feel her love, and it made you feel more alive.”

I watch everyone as they line up to view the open casket to pay their respects. I know I should do the same, so I quickly get in line. Soon it is my turn. I walk up to the casket and look down to see a beautiful stranger, but what I see couldn’t be real – for the stranger lying there is me.

I invite you to attend your own funeral. How would you like to be remembered? This is a popular reflection exercise. While it may seem morbid, it unconsciously allows you to get in touch with your deepest values, as life takes on a different perspective. You are left to examine the life you’re currently living.

13 thoughts on “Reflection Exercise

  1. Very powerful exersize that makes it a bit easier to leave behind aspects of us that don’t serve our highest intentions.

  2. Nicassia says:

    Lol I was just having these thoughts last night! Great writing!

  3. vrushanknaik says:

    wow! you are really talented and really very good…the range of topics and how u deal with them…excellent!…

  4. ralphcapra says:

    Reblogged this on Tao of Ralph and commented:
    One of my closest friends recently lost her mother. As I attended the memorial, it got me thinking. What are we all here for?

    This is a reblog from a wonderful writer that I started following. I hope you enjoy it.

  5. Swetank says:

    Hey Avery, thanks for dropping by my blog (Being Bettr). Well we both share similarities in blogging. As my main mission is to inspire, motivate and help being a better person. My tips are short and actionable!

    I hope for a good friendship and we can come up with more ideas to make this world a better place with our writings!

    Be Bettr, Stay Bettr! 😀

  6. Alexandra says:

    Hi there, thanks for visiting my site and liking my post on How to Find Joy. 🙂
    Your post here is a great reminder of this exercise – definitely one worth doing now and then. Thanks for that!

  7. A haunting read. Beautifully written.

  8. ugoecheazu says:

    Avery Ashley, this is beautiful and coming from a beautiful mind.

  9. koskeys says:

    Reblogged this on koskeys and commented:
    Sounds like a grand momentum #love

  10. carlageenen says:

    I am familiar with the exercise, but love the way you executed it. It is not only very well written. The things you want to be remembered for, are beautiful. I hope with every passing day you’ll get a little closer to that woman, who, deep down, you already are.

  11. Donna says:

    Unhuh totally morbid but what a great idea. I had read an inspirational quote somewhere that said something along the lines of be kind, compassionate etc. to others because that is how we would want to be remembered. I did not see that ending coming. Loved it.
    I know that I don’t want to be remembered for being rich or beautiful or powerful, all those qualities that you talked about in this post are what I would want people to say about me at my funeral. I don’t plan to have a funeral but a Life Celebration because it is about the living needing to say Goodbye.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I couldn’t agree more with you on this .. This reminds me of a book. Who Will Cry When You
    By Robin S. Sharma .
    we all need to not only reflect but reevaluate the way lead our lives . This piece is superbly written.

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