Friday, June 5, 2009

Perfecting the Image

Pathways Advisory Group, Inc.
David L. Williamson, CFP®

Recently, I attended a client’s funeral. This was a good lady. I liked her very much. I knew her fairly well. I will miss her. But funerals can give one pause, can’t they. They tend to induce a bit of reflection. Reflection about one’s own mortality, certainly. Thoughts and questions about living life – accomplishments, intentions, regrets.

Unfortunately, I have attended more than a few client funerals. Each time, I am struck by how little I knew about the person. During this service, people were invited to share memories – funny, sad, bittersweet. How many dimensions I didn’t know! How complex we can be!

We were treated to a slideshow. Here she was as a baby, a toddler, a schoolgirl. There she is at graduation, at her wedding, at a family picnic in the park. We see her with her parents, with her grandchildren, with her friends. There’s the last photo, taken just a week ago…

Just before the slideshow began we saw a test slide. Nothing special, quite nondescript – just a slide to adjust the focus. At the bottom right, in small print were the words: Perfect the Image. I shivered. Yes, I thought, the slideshow, the memories, and the funeral service itself all help us “perfect the image” of the person. To see this person more clearly, more fully, even if a bit late.

I take these words – Perfect the Image – as a caution to me to adjust my focus. To see the whole person, the complexity, the fullness. To look beyond the label, beyond the role - whether client, spouse, child, or friend – to see the person.

The funeral service is often called “a celebration of life”. This service held true. We had the slideshow, the stories, and a few tears. And, to top it off, pallbearers and family sported bright, wild, crazy, Hawaiian Aloha shirts!

Perfect The Image. Celebrate each other. Find joy in the slideshow of life. Aloha!


Love2Cycle said...

Hi David,
I like this a lot. You should have been a writer! Nevermind...we would have never met.
Best always,
Sandy & Stan

Sally said...

So, David, what do you want to know about me? I think you already know alot - maybe too much--. I do understand what you are saying, myself working with women who die of cancer, and knowing them, and then not - - - I feel definitely enriched by what I did know and what I learned. Memorials are a way I learn about my own death.
Time for a meeting?
Best to all and to all a good nite.
Sally in Aptos