Imagine Yourself at Your Own Funeral

From Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff, Chapter 21, in which Richard Carlson, tells people to imagine their own funeral and consider what they would like people to remember about them.    He wrote –

“With few exceptions, people wish they hadn’t sweated the small stuff so much.  Instead, they wish they had spent more time with the people and activities that they truly loved and less time worrying about aspects of life that, upon closer examination, really don’t matter all that much.”

I found when my father died in August 2004 that I had these overwhelming feelings of regret.   I wished that I had told him more often that I loved him.  I wished I’d taken the time to truly talk to him because in some ways he died a man I didn’t really know.    I wished that I’d cared enough to learn how to play golf so that we could have played together.

I had baggage that I feared I would never really be able to ditch, that I would carry those burdens with me for the rest of my life.

Then one night after I had separated, some time in the first half of 2006, I was lying in bed, alone in my unit, trying to go to sleep.  My father came to me that night and sat on the end of my bed.   I thought that maybe I was going mental, the rational man in me would never let a ghost visit me.   He didn’t speak to me and I swear that I was not asleep when it happened, but I drew a great deal of comfort from that.   A few weeks later my ex-wife told me that she had dreamt of my father.  He came to her in a dream and told her that he had been trying to talk to me but that I couldn’t hear him.  She said that he asked her to tell me that he was OK.

When I think of my funeral I think of what eulogies may be written and perhaps the one that I would like more than any is simply “He did his best.”   I am nowhere near the perfect man, was not the greatest husband, son or brother, nor perhaps the most caring father, but I did my best.

And now I am continuing to make changes to my life that make me a better person.  I don’t really care if other people believe that or not, or whether any of those changes are visible.    And the best way I can explain that is in the words of Colonel Sherman Potter of the 4077 MASH, who said “The only person I have to get better than is who I am right now.”

And on a lighter note I am also reminded of Yogi Bera who said “Always go to other peoples funerals, that way they’ll always come to yours.”

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Imagine Yourself at Your Own Funeral

From Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff, Chapter 21, in which Richard Carlson, tells people to imagine their own funeral and consider what they would like people to remember about them.    He wrote –

“With few exceptions, people wish they hadn’t sweated the small stuff so much.  Instead, they wish they had spent more time with the people and activities that they truly loved and less time worrying about aspects of life that, upon closer examination, really don’t matter all that much.”

I found when my father died in August 2004 that I had these overwhelming feelings of regret.   I wished that I had told him more often that I loved him.  I wished I’d taken the time to truly talk to him because in some ways he died a man I didn’t really know.    I wished that I’d cared enough to learn how to play golf so that we could have played together.

I had baggage that I feared I would never really be able to ditch, that I would carry those burdens with me for the rest of my life.

Then one night after I had separated, some time in the first half of 2006, I was lying in bed, alone in my unit, trying to go to sleep.  My father came to me that night and sat on the end of my bed.   I thought that maybe I was going mental, the rational man in me would never let a ghost visit me.   He didn’t speak to me and I swear that I was not asleep when it happened, but I drew a great deal of comfort from that.   A few weeks later my ex-wife told me that she had dreamt of my father.  He came to her in a dream and told her that he had been trying to talk to me but that I couldn’t hear him.  She said that he asked her to tell me that he was OK.

When I think of my funeral I think of what eulogies may be written and perhaps the one that I would like more than any is simply “He did his best.”   I am nowhere near the perfect man, was not the greatest husband, son or brother, nor perhaps the most caring father, but I did my best.

And now I am continuing to make changes to my life that make me a better person.  I don’t really care if other people believe that or not, or whether any of those changes are visible.    And the best way I can explain that is in the words of Colonel Sherman Potter of the 4077 MASH, who said “The only person I have to get better than is who I am right now.”

And on a lighter note I am also reminded of Yogi Bera who said “Always go to other peoples funerals, that way they’ll always come to yours.”

Imagine Yourself at Your Own Funeral

From Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff, Chapter 21, in which Richard Carlson, tells people to imagine their own funeral and consider what they would like people to remember about them.    He wrote –

“With few exceptions, people wish they hadn’t sweated the small stuff so much.  Instead, they wish they had spent more time with the people and activities that they truly loved and less time worrying about aspects of life that, upon closer examination, really don’t matter all that much.”

I found when my father died in August 2004 that I had these overwhelming feelings of regret.   I wished that I had told him more often that I loved him.  I wished I’d taken the time to truly talk to him because in some ways he died a man I didn’t really know.    I wished that I’d cared enough to learn how to play golf so that we could have played together.

I had baggage that I feared I would never really be able to ditch, that I would carry those burdens with me for the rest of my life.

Then one night after I had separated, some time in the first half of 2006, I was lying in bed, alone in my unit, trying to go to sleep.  My father came to me that night and sat on the end of my bed.   I thought that maybe I was going mental, the rational man in me would never let a ghost visit me.   He didn’t speak to me and I swear that I was not asleep when it happened, but I drew a great deal of comfort from that.   A few weeks later my ex-wife told me that she had dreamt of my father.  He came to her in a dream and told her that he had been trying to talk to me but that I couldn’t hear him.  She said that he asked her to tell me that he was OK.

When I think of my funeral I think of what eulogies may be written and perhaps the one that I would like more than any is simply “He did his best.”   I am nowhere near the perfect man, was not the greatest husband, son or brother, nor perhaps the most caring father, but I did my best.

And now I am continuing to make changes to my life that make me a better person.  I don’t really care if other people believe that or not, or whether any of those changes are visible.    And the best way I can explain that is in the words of Colonel Sherman Potter of the 4077 MASH, who said “The only person I have to get better than is who I am right now.”

And on a lighter note I am also reminded of Yogi Bera who said “Always go to other peoples funerals, that way they’ll always come to yours.”

Vale Ray

My ex-stepfather-in-law passed away after a long illness on Wednesday morning.   With their maternal grandfather having died too young at the age of 56, twenty years ago this year, this man was my kids grandfather on their mother’s side.  And despite being a cranky old bugger at times he did look after my ex-mother-in-law and did play the part of Gramps to all of the grandkids.

I only saw him once in the last few years, Christmas Day 2007, where he shook my hand as I wished him Merry Christmas, in stark contrast to the other people present at the time.

He was a good guy thankfully now out of pain.  RIP Ray.

Vale Ray

My ex-stepfather-in-law passed away after a long illness on Wednesday morning.   With their maternal grandfather having died too young at the age of 56, twenty years ago this year, this man was my kids grandfather on their mother’s side.  And despite being a cranky old bugger at times he did look after my ex-mother-in-law and did play the part of Gramps to all of the grandkids.

I only saw him once in the last few years, Christmas Day 2007, where he shook my hand as I wished him Merry Christmas, in stark contrast to the other people present at the time.

He was a good guy thankfully now out of pain.  RIP Ray.

Who peers from faded photographs?


“You say you should have died instead of me. But during my time on earth, people died instead of me, too. It happens every day. When lightning strikes a minute after you are gone, or an airplane crashes that you might have been on. When your colleague falls ill and you do not. We think such things are random. But there is a balance to it all. One withers, another grows. Birth and death are part of a whole…”
– from The Five People You Meet in Heaven – by Mitch Albom

I have started a Facebook group for my old secondary School, Burwood High, and have spent a bit of time scanning and uploading old photos to the website. And continuing the theme of Absent Friends in a recent post to this blog, I got to thinking about the people I met through school and where they may be now. It struck me how many have actually passed away – good friends some, others passing acquaintances but all gone too young. I suppose as we age then we will know more people who do die young, and as we age and reach yet another milestone that age also seems young.

I’m 50 now, well past the 14 that David Green saw when crushed by a Gravestone at Maldon cemetery in around 1972; also beyond the 18 seen by Spiros Tamaris and Brett Evans when car accidents took them in the mid-1970’s; a few decades beyond those of Peter Jones who died of cancer in his early 20’s not long after graduating as a doctor in the early 80’s, and now 11 years past the age of my good mate Fog who died of a stroke aged 39 in 1997.

There have been others – Ian Black sadly taken suddenly in 2005 a few short months before our 30th Graduation anniversary reunion – still more who I have heard have gone but which I cannot confirm because I have not seen nor heard from them in years. Where is Peter Marsh and Meredith White? Who else of the images who peer from those old faded photos have passed from this world and what were the final chapters in their stories?

**********************************************************
As a P.S. who can pick me out in the photo?

Who peers from faded photographs?


“You say you should have died instead of me. But during my time on earth, people died instead of me, too. It happens every day. When lightning strikes a minute after you are gone, or an airplane crashes that you might have been on. When your colleague falls ill and you do not. We think such things are random. But there is a balance to it all. One withers, another grows. Birth and death are part of a whole…”
– from The Five People You Meet in Heaven – by Mitch Albom

I have started a Facebook group for my old secondary School, Burwood High, and have spent a bit of time scanning and uploading old photos to the website. And continuing the theme of Absent Friends in a recent post to this blog, I got to thinking about the people I met through school and where they may be now. It struck me how many have actually passed away – good friends some, others passing acquaintances but all gone too young. I suppose as we age then we will know more people who do die young, and as we age and reach yet another milestone that age also seems young.

I’m 50 now, well past the 14 that David Green saw when crushed by a Gravestone at Maldon cemetery in around 1972; also beyond the 18 seen by Spiros Tamaris and Brett Evans when car accidents took them in the mid-1970’s; a few decades beyond those of Peter Jones who died of cancer in his early 20’s not long after graduating as a doctor in the early 80’s, and now 11 years past the age of my good mate Fog who died of a stroke aged 39 in 1997.

There have been others – Ian Black sadly taken suddenly in 2005 a few short months before our 30th Graduation anniversary reunion – still more who I have heard have gone but which I cannot confirm because I have not seen nor heard from them in years. Where is Peter Marsh and Meredith White? Who else of the images who peer from those old faded photos have passed from this world and what were the final chapters in their stories?

**********************************************************
As a P.S. who can pick me out in the photo?

Who peers from faded photographs?


“You say you should have died instead of me. But during my time on earth, people died instead of me, too. It happens every day. When lightning strikes a minute after you are gone, or an airplane crashes that you might have been on. When your colleague falls ill and you do not. We think such things are random. But there is a balance to it all. One withers, another grows. Birth and death are part of a whole…”
– from The Five People You Meet in Heaven – by Mitch Albom

I have started a Facebook group for my old secondary School, Burwood High, and have spent a bit of time scanning and uploading old photos to the website. And continuing the theme of Absent Friends in a recent post to this blog, I got to thinking about the people I met through school and where they may be now. It struck me how many have actually passed away – good friends some, others passing acquaintances but all gone too young. I suppose as we age then we will know more people who do die young, and as we age and reach yet another milestone that age also seems young.

I’m 50 now, well past the 14 that David Green saw when crushed by a Gravestone at Maldon cemetery in around 1972; also beyond the 18 seen by Spiros Tamaris and Brett Evans when car accidents took them in the mid-1970’s; a few decades beyond those of Peter Jones who died of cancer in his early 20’s not long after graduating as a doctor in the early 80’s, and now 11 years past the age of my good mate Fog who died of a stroke aged 39 in 1997.

There have been others – Ian Black sadly taken suddenly in 2005 a few short months before our 30th Graduation anniversary reunion – still more who I have heard have gone but which I cannot confirm because I have not seen nor heard from them in years. Where is Peter Marsh and Meredith White? Who else of the images who peer from those old faded photos have passed from this world and what were the final chapters in their stories?

**********************************************************
As a P.S. who can pick me out in the photo?

You Never Know – from journal 1 01/07/1985

I was talking to a TOG [Traffic Operations Group] senior constable the other day who told me a story about a situation he was in one day when he was riding solos [motorbikes].

He pulled up next to a woman in a car and attempted to intercept her by raising his arm, pointing his finger to the left hand side of the road and yelling “Pull Over!”

As with many members of the publis when confronted by a policeman this woman panicked and instead of pulling left, swerved to the right, narrowly missing the motorcycle cop. This made him a little angry so he pulled up beside her again with his siren screaming, gesticulating wildly and yelling “I said pull over to the left.”

This time the woman understood, only when her car left the bitumen she lost control and it rolled a few times eventually ending up on its roof. The poor cop thought to himself that he might be in a bit of strife. Fortunately by the time he had pulled over the woman had gotten safely out of the vehicle and apart from being shaken she was alright. The cop radioed for assistance and an ambulance duly arrived.

The ambulance officer asked the woman “Was there anyone else in the car?”

She replied “Oh yes my husband was there.”

The cop was shaken again because he certainly hadn’t seen anyone else in the car before it crashed and on checking it after the crash didn’t find anyone either. He had a quick look around the scene and there was no evidence of anyone having been flung clear so he said to the woman,

“Are you sure your husband was there, I can’t find him.”

“He’s dead!” she said and the cops face dropped again. “He died last week in Melbourne, was cremated and I’m taking his ashes home to be scattered on the farm.”

The cop felt like laughing but thought that it was probably more prudent to remain silent. He went back to the vehicle and sure enough there was the box, open, and beside it the ashes scattered everywhere. He scarped some ashes and a lot of gravel and dust into the box, closed it up and returned it triumphantly to the woman.

He didn’t say if he booked her or not.

You Never Know – from journal 1 01/07/1985

I was talking to a TOG [Traffic Operations Group] senior constable the other day who told me a story about a situation he was in one day when he was riding solos [motorbikes].

He pulled up next to a woman in a car and attempted to intercept her by raising his arm, pointing his finger to the left hand side of the road and yelling “Pull Over!”

As with many members of the publis when confronted by a policeman this woman panicked and instead of pulling left, swerved to the right, narrowly missing the motorcycle cop. This made him a little angry so he pulled up beside her again with his siren screaming, gesticulating wildly and yelling “I said pull over to the left.”

This time the woman understood, only when her car left the bitumen she lost control and it rolled a few times eventually ending up on its roof. The poor cop thought to himself that he might be in a bit of strife. Fortunately by the time he had pulled over the woman had gotten safely out of the vehicle and apart from being shaken she was alright. The cop radioed for assistance and an ambulance duly arrived.

The ambulance officer asked the woman “Was there anyone else in the car?”

She replied “Oh yes my husband was there.”

The cop was shaken again because he certainly hadn’t seen anyone else in the car before it crashed and on checking it after the crash didn’t find anyone either. He had a quick look around the scene and there was no evidence of anyone having been flung clear so he said to the woman,

“Are you sure your husband was there, I can’t find him.”

“He’s dead!” she said and the cops face dropped again. “He died last week in Melbourne, was cremated and I’m taking his ashes home to be scattered on the farm.”

The cop felt like laughing but thought that it was probably more prudent to remain silent. He went back to the vehicle and sure enough there was the box, open, and beside it the ashes scattered everywhere. He scarped some ashes and a lot of gravel and dust into the box, closed it up and returned it triumphantly to the woman.

He didn’t say if he booked her or not.

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