Celebration of a Life Lived
What does it mean to you to celebrate living?
How does it look? Does it mean holding parties where people gather or events that mark occasions and bring together all the humans and/or pets in your circle?
Is it being grateful and taking joy in the simple pleasures of every day life? Is it creating rituals like family dinners, bbq’s with friends or going out to breakfast alone or with friends on the weekend?
Whatever your choice of celebration, the time to celebrate is now! There are so many victories to celebrate, victories of all sizes – the big ones where your mind is completely blown after making something happen you didn’t believe was possible, all the way down to the little ones that just get a fist pump and a silent ‘hell yeah’.
And what do you leave behind? I’m a firm believer that all of us should leave this earth a little bit better than it was before we were born. That our life here should stand for something that has a positive effect on the world, even if that is just our little corner of the world and the small group of people and pets who encompass that.
Every life impacts the world in some way, just by being born there is a ripple or flow on effect – on family, friends, colleagues, community. Every person has at least one role and most of us have many hats we wear, each of those roles has an effect on who we are connected to.
But how do you mark something so momentous as a life you’ve lived, a soul you’ve loved or a heart you’ve connected with?
Creating something to keep the memory alive, something that showcases your essence and can act as a record of your being can be as simple or as complicated as you can conceive but the following options are a great start.
• Telling stories – story telling is in our DNA, it’s part of who we are as humans, the only thing that really changes is the medium and platform we use to tell those stories and we have options now that can store those stories we have to tell for future generations to see and hear.
• Keeping collections – physical memorabilia and personal collections of things that are can evoke treasured memories you experienced together.
• Using sayings – most of us have particular words and phrases we use within our own core groups of family and friends, things we say that are almost idiosyncratic to our little community, words we connect with because of that shared language we speak.
• Social media platforms – digital pages can be a great mobile way to store and share photos and images that act as reminders of how we have chosen to live.
• Photo books – these can be as creative as your imagination, they can document a life or individual events in that life. Perhaps one of the loveliest ways of sharing the joy of life is to put together a montage or group of photographs that display all the beauty (and sometimes craziness) that encompasses our unique personality.
In the same way that electronic books will never quite replace the printed paper pages of a book that allows us to escape into another world while we’re engrossed in the story, digital images will never be able to replace those much cherished photos we can touch, feel, hold in our hands and pass on to the next generations.
We’ve all loved and lost people in our lives, the circle of life is such that one day we will be that person who has been loved and lost, to somebody else. We all carry powerful memories and there are loads of ways to keep those memories alive, it just takes a little creativity and often some left of centre thinking.
It’s almost a rite of passage that we celebrate life while we’re living it, to mark the fact that we were here. And to leave behind beautiful memories in many forms for those we shared that life with and those who come after us.
We live in an age of instant, easy come easy go, imagery with smartphone cameras at our fingertips, allowing us to share every picture we take just by touching the image and sending. But, to this day there is still something very real and necessary about having tactile visual proof of the existence of people who matter in your life and the events we celebrated with them.
Whatever your own personal belief system around life and death, the honouring and celebrating of a life – human or pet – once someone has passed reminds us that each of us has a place and purpose in the life of those around us…
…that our wonderful world has been touched by us in some way.
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