While doing some final preparation for this afternoons session on ‘How I Want to Say Goodbye’ (preparing your own funeral) I went to get C S Lewis’ The Last Battle from the bookcase – there is a passage in it that I read out as an example of how a reading from a favorite book can be used at a funeral. Anyway while retrieving the aforesaid book I spied my copy of The Man Who Planted Trees, which a blogged about yesterday. I picked it up and turned it over and over in my hands, how wonderful if at the end of your life someone felt that such a story full of hope and warmth could be read at your funeral. Although it is a short book it really is too long to be read in its entirety at a funeral, I read it once again, but no unless the whole congregation knew the story the one part that might work would need the back story, and if that is needed then it wouldn’t work. but I did think the dedication might do for the right person, although I am certain the right person would never dream of picking it for their funeral.
To see a human being reveal really exceptional qualities one must be able to observe their activities over many years. If these activities are completely unselfish; if the idea motivating them is unique in its magnanimity; if it is quite certain they have never looked for any reward; and if in addition they have left visible traces on the world – then one may say, without fear of error, that one is in the presence of an unforgettable character.