“Things change. And friends leave. Life doesn’t stop for anybody.” Stephen Chbosoky,
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
On January 7, 2004 my father passed away. It was sudden.
He left behind a loving wife along with 9 children ranging in age of 27 to 8 years old.
Being the oldest of 9 children I was responsible for delivering his eulogy.
In the days leading up to his funeral I reflected back on what he meant to me as a father, a friend and mentor. He was an example of no excuses. Being selfless. Being good to others. Making others feel important.
As I stood in front of the congregation delivering his eulogy I couldn’t help to think to myself and wonder if he truly knew how I felt about him. Too be honest at that moment I wish I would have taken the moment to let him know the impact he had on my life.
Our eulogy. It’s something all of us have imagined at one time or another. What would it be like to die and attend our own funeral? Who would be there? How many people would come?
How will you be remembered?
And of course the thing we wonder about most is this: What will people say about me? What will people remember about my life and how I treated them? How will I be eulogized?
Each of us has those people that have made an impact on our lives. It may be our managers, employees, friends and family. What’s interesting they too have wondered what others would say about them if they passed?
It’s easy to assume and believe that others know how we feel about them and the impact they have made or making on our lives. However, I invite you ask yourself do they really know? Who are these people? Now I ask you, why wait to let know someone know the impact they have had on your life?
Since my father’s funeral I have made it a point to write an unsolicited eulogy letter to people who have made an impact on my life. You know what? Each return response has surprised me! Each person has personally called me to let me know how much my letter meant to him or her. A lot even say they didn’t even realize they had that kind of impact on my life.
There is power in writing a eulogy letter to the living. Stronger relationships! Stronger bonds!
So how do you go about writing a eulogy letter to someone living?
- Keep it positive- It doesn’t have to be perfect. It does have to be real and authentic.
- Think about what you would say if you had to speak at their funeral. What would say?
- Find inspiration in things that rekindle memories, stories then cite a specific example.
- Let them know how you feel about them and the impact they have made in your life.
- Show genuine appreciation
It’s been 12 years since my father passed. He left me with one final lesson.
It’s never to late to someone know with a handwritten letter what he or she means to you.
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About the Author
Tony Jalan is a top performing Division Sales Leader at Heartland Payment Systems, a Fortune 1000 company voted by Selling Power Magazine the #1 company to sell for in the U.S. Tony’s strategies on leadership and mentorship has created growth of 300% in his sales division in just 6 short years. Tony is also the author of Mentorship Lessons, a weekly blog about lessons he has learned about sales and leadership over a career that has spanned over 18 years.