Live Life so it’s Standing Room Only at Your Funeral (and other lessons I learned from my friend’s passing)

I went to my friend’s funeral today. It was standing room only.

That’s the kind of life I want to lead; the kind of life that inspires love, admiration, and respect in so many people from so many different walks of life that they’re lining up just to get one last chance to say goodbye.

There were tears today, but there was also a lot of laughter. I mean a LOT of laughter.

We were sad to have lost my friend, but blessed because the times we had with him were happy ones, because our memories of him made us laugh and feel glad to have shared any part of our lives with him.

That’s the kind of life I want to lead; the kind of life that inspires happiness in others, the kind of life that makes the kind of memories that people enjoy sharing with each other, rather than the kind of memories that people would rather forget.

At the wake, I sat with another friend of mine and we looked at a photograph. There were four of us in that photograph, me, her, and two other friends of ours, one of which was the very guy who we were saying goodbye to today.

The three of them all had these enormous smiles, the kind of beautifully sincere smiles that set their eyes alight and let the whole world know that their spirits felt joyful and uplifted.

Me? I had this dumbass look on my face – lips bunched together, eyes wide, bemused and befuddled, as though asking ‘how did I get here and why am I in this photograph?’

Know why I was looking like that?

Because -get this- I don’t like having my photo taken so, on the rare occasion that somebody points their camera at me, I do something dumb in the hope that they won’t do it again.

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking, and all I can say is ‘exactly.’

This photograph, I’ve looked at it a lot lately, and when we were looking at it today, all I could think was ‘Damn, I wish I’d smiled.’

Because yeah, I dislike having my photo taken. I disliked having that taken, but that was literally the only thing I disliked.

Truth is, in the moment that photo was taken, I was very, very happy. I was with people who I loved dearly. I was with people of whom I have nothing but the happiest of memories, the kind of people I would gladly line-up for miles just to get a chance to say one last goodbye to them.

So I should have smiled.

I should have smiled because it might have been the only way I had to let these people know how much they mean to me and how happy I was to have them as part of my life.

I should have smiled because that was the last picture I will ever have with my friend, and when I look at it, I wish so badly that it accurately reflected the happy memory I have of that moment.

I went to my friend’s funeral today. It inspired me, just like my friend did when he was alive.

It inspired me to think about the way I live my life.

It inspired me to want to live more of it, to live it to its fullest.

Most of all, it inspired me to live the kind of life that means it’s going to be standing room only at my funeral.

I miss you, buddy.

See you down the road xx