Spirit of Peace and Gratitude


The holidays are about family, celebration and reflection. As funeral directors know, it’s also remembering a passed loved one and the emotional toll it can take on families. That’s why funeral homes host local services—Candlelight Vigils, Memorial Services, Remembrance Celebrations—that help families and friends cope with their personal loss. Whether it’s been within the past year or 30 years ago since a loss, this time of year is never easy.

However, while it is important to remember those who are no longer with us, it’s just as important, if not more so, to reflect on what we have now—in the present tense. Today’s funeral services have become more about honoring a loved one and celebrating a life that has passed. Remembering the good times, as they say. So too, should our approach be on appreciating what we have within our lives right now. Let us be grateful to one another while we’re ‘alive and well’ and can express our love and appreciation to those who can receive it as well.

Ironically, while we are in the death-care industry, rather than caring for just the decedent, we should be honoring and celebrating the lives around us—and I don’t mean just the surviving family and friends. I’m referring to those people in our lives with whom we interact every day—family members, co-workers, the store clerk, the mail man, even the gentleman you pass on the street. We have the ability to share the appreciation for life with one another and we need to take advantage of that.

During the holidays, I challenge you to find a moment of alone time each day to stop and reflect. This can be in the shower, during your morning coffee, on your drive to work—just a place to reflect on how important the very people who sleep in our home, work with us during the day, and dine with us in the evening are in our lives. We’re all mortal and destined to be the loved one everyone will reminisce and miss. So let’s show our love now, while we can.

To quote a line from one of my favorite movies of all time, The Shawshank Redemption, you can “Get busy living, or get busy dying.” I would much rather do the former. Don’t let the hustle and bustle of our lives prevent us from genuine reflection and appreciation for those around us. Capture that sense of peace and gratitude in what you have, then share that gift—the true Spirit of the Season.

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