The New Year got off to a good start with a telephone invitation to the third annual pre-funeral luncheon. It looks like it will be an annual affair from now until nobody knows when. I am grateful to the couple who host this unique gathering of old friends. Criteria for attendance had been you had to be 65 years or older to attend. I hear this year an under age couple is coming. I saw the wife of this couple in the grocery store after last year’s second annual pre-funeral luncheon and told her what a unique and fun time it was and now she thinks they should be included because her husband has graying hair.
Just like death it’s a little uncertain when the pre-funeral luncheon will take place for it is either on the Green Bay Packers’ first playoff game or the Super Bowl. I’m really glad the packers made the playoffs so we don’t have to wait until the Super Bowl to gather. And thank God the threatened TV blackout for the playoff game was averted.
The format for our gathering is the host couple provides multiple main entrees (way too much food) and drinks, with attendees bringing side dishes. We eat before the game and during dessert we each share an assigned message with the group. I think last year we were asked to share what we think is the most important thing in life. I don’t remember what I said last year; I’ll have to check with the host for he keeps a file (for later). If I was asked the same question this year I’d say forgiveness is the most important thing in life. But this year we are to bring our favorite quotation, which made me anxious (there are so many) and I even fretted about what kind of salad the group would enjoy. Then less than an hour after the phone invitation both my favorite quote and the perfect salad just came to me when I was calm and not thinking of either. Which goes to show I still have anxiety and trust issues to work on along with the need for less perfection.
The quote I will take this year is from my late crone friend, Rosemary, to whom I dedicated my memoir “God Never Hurries,” and in which I wrote: The freedom to be wrong was a priceless gift that came from my dear friend Rosemary. Through a mistake of her own she learned to say, “This is what I know and believe today, but ask me tomorrow and I may know it a different way.” Humility graced her. And I just finished making a tangy beet salad with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, summer savory, salt, pepper, feta cheese and walnuts to be served on a colorful bed of organic baby greens.
Life and death are so inextricably intertwined and yet we keep death at arms length and in the shadows. The pre-funeral luncheon is an opportunity to let us flirt with death, ponder and share what’s important to us in this life, and eventually be part of our own eulogy. All this and enjoying one another’s company and a Packer game too.
What if we all had the opportunity to wink at death while still warm and ponder what’s important in the company of friends?