Leaving Memories Behind

Written by Dan Seaborn on . Posted in Local

dan seabornIt was an icy room with mints on every table and the smell of dead flowers clinging to the air. The curtains and carpet were that lush, slightly faded and dusty type, precisely the kind you'd expect. And in one corner, in a casket, lay Dave, a man I had known only fairly well while he lived.

I was there because I knew someone else in the family; they had asked me to be a part of the funeral proceedings. So I showed up and spent time with the people who had played starring roles in Dave's life. His wife was there, with their children and grandchildren and others. They had all lost the patriarch, and now they had to figure out how to move forward after his death.

We had been sitting there in that room together for a while when I asked the rest of the group to share a few things about Dave. "Can you tell me some things that describe him?" I asked.

It started off slowly; people were quiet and a little shy at first. But then one of the kids told a funny story about Dave the grandpa, and with the ice broken like that, everything opened up. The memories they shared were so great I almost began to wonder if some details were getting embellished in a competition for Best Dave Story. I had known the man to have a tough shell, the kind of guy who drove a Harley and owned Dobermans. As far as I knew, he was quiet and firm, not overly gentle.

But as I sat there in the room at that funeral home, I heard stories of the people who knew the real Dave. His grandkids shared memories of the way he had taught them to smell flowers, how he could always convince them to be sneaky around the house. They made huge, hilarious gestures as they remembered the times they'd spent with him. They mimicked the way he had said things. They laughed and smiled and wiped away tears. They were sad, but they were so, so happy too.

I was grateful for the chance to share those moments with them, because as I left the funeral home that day, I thought about my own life and about the people I'll someday leave behind. I wondered which stories they would share, which sayings they'd repeat, which things would make them laugh. And mostly I wondered about me, about the life I was leading and what kind of memories it would eventually leave behind.

You see, none of Dave's family went on and on about what he did for a living. Nobody gushed about the kind of car he drove or the stuff he'd acquired. When everything was over, that wasn't the stuff they cared to remember. What mattered to each one was the relationship they'd shared with their husband, their dad, their grandpa, their friend.

We are leading eyes upward.

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So when I think of Dave now, I think of a man who loved his family, who left laughter and joy and happiness in his wake. I think of a man who rode a Harley and had Dobermans but who also had a technique for smelling flowers. I think of the kind of man I'd like to be—one who, even lying cold in a casket, can somehow still bring plenty of warmth to an icy room.
Author Information
Dan Seaborn
Dan Seaborn is the founder of Winning At Home, Inc., an organization designed to assist and encourage people of all ages and stages of family development. As a featured speaker at churches and large-scale events such as marriage conferences, corporate functions, and university assemblies, Dan Seaborn has earned recognition as a powerful and passionate communicator. Through practical illustrations and memorable real-life examples, he encourages individuals and families to lead Christ-centered homes.

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