Sometimes life intrudes. Sometimes it is death that intrudes. I was re-entering work mode after 10 days off, excited about finishing some projects and bringing some new insights born of time away. Then we got the call. My husband’s uncle had died, leaving my mother-in-law the last one standing in her family from her generation. Uncle Ray died a “good death” at home, not in too much pain, surrounded by family, and ready to join his beloved wife on the other side. He was the patriarch of a boisterous Irish family, and we would gather from far and near to pay our respects to a good man.
I didn’t think I needed my Resilient Mindset of Courage. I already knew we needed to make the trip from California to Chicago. Still, as I started canceling get-togethers with friends and family planned for the weekend, as well as Coach training that I had anticipated delivering, my conviction wavered a bit. And when we realized that this quick, unexpected trip was more expensive than our 10-day vacation, the costs became more sobering.
Over the next several hours, my internal resistance to the costs of going (physical, financial, social) kept butting up against my conviction that we needed to go. Like a lot of decisions in life, I kept revisiting it again and again. It would be so much easier to stay home. No one would blame us. It is those times—when we have internal questioning—that the Resilient Mindset of Courage is so useful. It helps us align our behavior with our values. It kept reminding me the right thing to do was to go to the funeral.
One of my dear friends grew up in a small town where everyone knew each other. So when someone would die, the Cultural Pattern was that everyone would go to the funeral. Growing up, she went to many funerals, and it helped her realize how much death is part of life. I didn’t grow up in a small town, but I have been to enough funerals to know how important they are to living life well. They bring us together and connect us when we are at our most vulnerable. Even when we don’t know the deceased well (and are attending to support another person), they help us ponder what is important in life and how we might bring more of that into our lives. Our time in Chicago will connect us with family we rarely see, as well as the traditions that bind this family together. It will help us remember who we are and who we want to be.
So when it comes up: Go to funerals. Your Resilient Mindset of Courage can help you get there.
Meri and the Dovetail Learning team
P.S. Many cultures use these days at the end of October and the beginning of November as a celebration of the sacred window between life and death: the Day of the Dead, Halloween, Day of the Innocents, All Saints Day, and All Souls Day. May this special time bring forth in all of us a reverence for our lives and those we love.