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Who Will Attend Your Funeral?

Yesterday I watched the Kobe Bryant Memorial Service as it was streamed live online. What a grand occasion it was, with attendees from all over the country and many people watching the online broadcast from around the world. It truly made a statement about the impact that he had on the world.

In the past two weeks I've attended no less than 4 funeral services, a couple in person and a couple online, with one being my aunt. What strikes me as interesting as I watched and attended these services is to note what it says about the person being funeralized based on who the attendees are at the service. I think in each case, who is there at our departure says much about how we lived our lives.

Noticeable at Kobe's funeral was the breadth of types of people, although it was based mostly on his superstar NBA status, he had people attending from every ethnicity and background from all over the country and there was never a mention of Kobe being a great "black" basketball player or that he created great change for "black" people, although surely he did.

Then I attended in-person the funeral of a great friend of mine, Rosa Rocha, who started a foundation to help those with Down Syndrome. Noticeable at her funeral were a great many of those with Down Syndrome. She gave her life to make their lives better and their ultimate payback was to remember her and grieve with her family when she passed. This impressed me.

I began looking at who attended the other funerals as I thought about what it would look like when my time comes. I then asked myself, "who will be at my funeral and what will it say about me?"


It would be a most diverse grouping of people and like my friend Rosa, I would pray that there would be many who I helped who couldn't help themselves or even pay me back for the help I rendered to them. Unlike Kobe's funeral, I wouldn't mind if there were no celebrities, no great people or famous people. However, I would want the homeless guy, Billy, that I befriended and used to talk to daily when I worked in Southwest Houston. I would want some of the kids that I coached when they were 8 years old in Pop Warner football and of course I would want all of the high school students I ever taught to be there. That's how I want my funeral to look and I realize now, that thinking about this question changes the way I live today.

I now live my life to ensure that I care enough about those people that when I die, they will remember only that I cared.

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